Aztech PlayXtreme 2 - Gingerbread-flavored Media Player


Low Profile Design

As consumer electronic devices (with television sets being the exception) get smaller and smaller, it’s no surprise that Aztech skipped having an internal hard drive in order to get a very small footprint for the PlayXtreme 2. Design-wise, it’s nothing outstanding, with its low profile (just 1.5cm thick) and square shape with rounded corners. In fact, we won’t be surprised if you mistake it for a drink coaster in the dark and place a mug on it. It’s also very light as far as media players go (at 152g), and its standard black coat will ensure no color coordination problems with the rest of your A/V setup. You do get a splash of green at the top for the PlayXtreme wording and the Android logo.

Despite its modest size, the PlayXtreme 2 manages to squeeze in three USB 2.0 ports (sorry, there's no USB 3.0 support) for you to connect to devices like flash drives. A microSD card slot (labeled TF) is also thrown in for good measure. For A/V input and output, there’s a single HDMI 1.3 port. Unlike the first PlayXtreme, Aztech has done away with the A/V output (that uses a breakout cable) for analog connections. And unlike the AC Ryan Veolo, it doesn't have any S/PDIF port. Most recent media players we've come across offer gigabit Ethernet support, but the PlayXtreme 2 only supports the Fast Ethernet standard (that is, 10/100Mbps). For wire haters, it does include 802.11n Wi-Fi support.

On the rear you get a 10/100Mbps Ethernet port, one USB 2.0 port, and an HDMI 1.3 port, with the power jack and a round power button at the extreme right.

On its side you get two more USB 2.0 ports and an SD/SDHC card reader slot.


Excuse Me, is that a PDA?

While the PlayXtreme 2’s design is nothing to shout about, the bundled remote control is anything but. In fact, there’s a lot going on with all the buttons on the remote. As you can see from the image below, this new remote control is larger than the PlayXtreme 2 itself! A remote that runs at the 2.4GHz frequency, it crams a QWERTY keypad (along with F keys), a d-pad, and several other shortcut buttons. Buttons are tactile so you won't be left wondering if you pressed them hard enough. The build quality of the remote does feel a bit cheap though, with a very plasticky construction, so be careful of dropping the remote one too many times.

There are also buttons that function as the left and right buttons of a mouse. What’s of major interest though, is a recessed area at the top of the remote. Starting up the player revealed that it's a touch-enabled panel, that seeks to aid the user when navigating the onscreen user interface.

The USB transceiver can be stored in the remote, right beside the battery when not in use. It has to be plugged into the player for the remote to wirelessly communicate with the player.

As you can see, the remote is larger than the player!

The remote control communicates with the player via a USB transceiver, which takes up one USB port on the player. So effectively, you're left with two ports to connect to external drives. The transceiver itself can reside in the battery compartment of the remote if you ever need to have it stored. The remote is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery instead of the usual alkaline variety, probably due to higher power requirements. It is charged via a micro USB cable, which you can connect to a USB port on the PlayXtreme 2, or a simple USB adapter if you've one lying around. In an unfortunate (hopefully, unlikely) scenario whereby you found it's running low on power and needed to charge it, be prepared to find yourself be left with a lone USB port.

Overall rating 7.5/10
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The Good
Small footprint
Access to Google Play store for tons of Android apps
Remote has a useful touch pad and many shortcut keys
The Bad
Doesn't load ISO files
USB transceiver for remote takes up one USB port
Lack of support for HD surround audio formats
No easy way to connect to analog video inputs

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