Features and Performance
Features and Performance
Having looked at the design aspects, it's now time to assess how the Xtreamer Prodigy Silver fares in actual use. Nobody likes to be kept waiting for a convenience device like a media player to be ready for use when first powered up. The Xtreamer took about 38 seconds to load the home screen from a fully powered down state, which isn't fast. In its defense, we've seen worse, so it's not exactly slow when you compare with other media players available. Even so, when you consider that some PCs boot up a full Windows OS much faster than half a minute, we do feel that the time taken for media players to boot up can certainly improve (even if there's a huge mismatch of system components used between a media player and a performance class PC system).
Once the Xtreamer Prodigy Silver boots up, you'll notice that it doesn't use the Android OS as the default interface. Instead, you'll be greeted with another simple user interface that gives you an option to use the Android OS as additional layer over the default interface. In essence, it has gotten around the issues of dealing with the Android OS directly as it was designed to be a touch-based interface, which a media player combined with a TV cannot emulate the experience seen on a tablet and smartphone. If you've used or read our reviews of the A.C. Ryan Veolo and Aztech PlayXtreme 2, you would come to know of our concerns with these forerunners heralding the Android OS as the main interface.
The Android tab basically activates the Android OS, so you get to access to Android apps. The Google Play store is absent from the Xtreamer Prodigy, so you get an App centre maintained by Xtreamer instead where you can download your apps. The selection in there is quite limited, so if you want to install apps not found there, you will need to obtain the APK file (the Android app installer file type) of your preferred apps from elsewhere prior to installing on the Xtreamer Prodigy Silver. But if you’re hoping to play Angry Birds or any game/app that requires touch input, then this is where the premise of an Android OS on a media player falters.
With a standard remote, it’s impossible to play or interact with any Android app that requires touch input. An option is to purchase the Xtreamer wireless mini keyboard which is basically a remote with a full QWERTY keyboard and a small touchpad. As seen on this accessories page from Xtreamer, it's actually a generic controller that's also bundled with the Aztech PlayXtreme 2 media player that we reviewed. If you’re intending to go this route, we have to remind you that it takes some getting used to as you will need to have some hand-eye coordination with the your fingers swiping the touchpad while eyes are on the TV screen.
Back to the Xtreamer Prodigy Silver's main user interface, it's pretty standard for a media player, with a tabbed layout for easy navigation on a simple remote control (just like what the Xtreamer is equipped with). The Media Library is where you will spend most of your time rummaging through your various media content, while the "Favourites" tab allows users to compile their favorite files, regardless of the file’s location.
The Media Jukebox option within the Media Library makes browsing your various video files very quick. That's because the movies are laid out in thumbnail format, with their respective movie posters as the thumbnail. As long as the player is connected to the internet, you can select the "Get Movie Info" option and the player will obtain the relevant movie information and poster to be stored inside the respective folder. Do remember to have your movie files and folders named as cleanly and simple as possible; unnecessary characters and symbols will make the process of obtaining movie data much slower or even fail in some cases.
As with any other media player in the market, the Xtreamer Prodigy had no problems whatsoever handling video files, including full HD ones. One of the main selling points of the Xtreamer Prodigy is its ability to tackle 3D media content and so we put it through its paces by running some 3D movie files. Keep in mind that processing 3D media files is more taxing than normal files and we're glad to report that playback was smooth and uninterrupted in our trials. If you happen to have a number of 3D media files and own a 3D TV or projector, then the Xtreamer Prodigy Silver is probably one of the few media players on the market currently that you can turn to at the moment.
If you intend to have digital copies of your Blu-ray movies, no worries there as the Xtreamer Prodigy plays BD-ISO (including 3D BD-ISO) files just fine. The only concession you will have to make is that since the original Blu-ray menus are unavailable, a BD-Lite menu is there in its place. Blu-ray movies all tout high-definition audio as well, and if you’re an audiophile for movie soundtracks and special effects, the Xtreamer Prodigy has you covered with its support for 7.1-channel Dolby True HD and DTS HD audio formats.
While we give kudos to the team at Xtreamer for trying to make it as hassle-free as possible to operate the media player with its simple user interface, it’s just too slow to even navigate the screen with a standard remote. Sometimes the player would freeze up for a few seconds, only to self-resolve and work again. Thankfully the Android OS is not the default OS, as we have noticed that turning it on slows down the overall experience even more as the player gets sluggish at times. Unfortunately, when compared to the more recent media players, navigation around the Xtreamer Prodigy’s UI is comparatively slower. We tried browsing the web with the built-in browser (with Android turned off), and promptly gave up after five minutes because without a USB mouse and keyboard, you're not going to make much headway.