Final words and conclusion
Final words and conclusion
The AC Ryan Veolo is a funky media hub slash player. It is the opposite of everything you are used to compared to traditional media players. Blazing fast scrolling menu's, easy access and all in that Android feel.
It's a Smart Android Media Hub, that means just like on your phone you may install apps as well, we didn't show it to you but you can check email, load up the facebook or twitter apps. Heck install Angry Birds and have a laugh. So yeah Apps, internet and entertainment are the three keywords that apply to the Veolo alright.
These features make the product hard to describe though, what precisely is it ? A media player or internet device ? Well the truth is somewhere in-between. Have a look at the video above, courtesy of AC Ryan, to get a bit of a feel of the product.
Some comments then, we feel the menu could use tweaks in fact a lot of them, as of yet it's not really appealing to the eyes and despite using a 1080P screen, the menu was clearly upscaled from a lower resolution (media content playback is proper 1080P btw). Meaning if you browse movies or whatever there's only so much information on your screen. That's something I personally like to see changed.
Overall support for media formats is working quite well, we've had no problems with any file-format really. MP3's play fine, MKV movies, H.264, heck we even fired off a .TS MPEG2 40 Mbit file at it, though that's where playback hit a soft spot and started stuttering a tiny bit. But content like Planet Earth's infamous bird scene for example had no issues whatsoever.
Image quality was good as well, I'm not saying really good or perfect because if you really focus hard you might notice the content output to be a tiny bit washed out, it's minimal though and only somebody who knows what he is looking for would see it.
I'd also like to see much more configurable settings for both audio and video. Things like 24P support are just a must. Also missing (from what we could tell) was UPnP, though login into out PC and NAS units had no problems whatsoever, all password protected logins BTW.
And then there's that crazy wicked remote. When you have an Android smartphone in your hands then touching that screen feels very intuitive. With a remote in your hands pointing towards a television, well .. it makes you feel somewhat limited. The remote is very responsive, it will take you 15 minutes to get used to, however I'm not 100% sure if I really like to control the menu with hand gestures all the time. So the verdict on the remote control implementation, though working well, is somewhat unusual. To each his own of course, many of you will downright love the feature.
So concluding, we find the AC Ryan Veolo a refreshing new device, it indeed is a smart media hub. It offers nice flexibility, you can install apps on it, listen to music, watch movies, check facebook and whatever you want to do really. The hardware behind the device certainly is sufficient enough with plenty of storage for your apps. Though at this build stage I'm not sure if I'd recommend it over the Playon!HD 2 if you only care about video playback, we do recommend the more advanced end-user with a thirst for Android functionality AND media playback to seriously look at this.
For me personally though, I'm not yet 100% sure what I prefer better, the Veolo is interesting as heck and fascinates me intensely yet does not feel finished. I find the product difficult to deal with. How usable Android really is for a media player remains an open discussion, right now the product needs a serious firmware update improving the user friendlyness and interface. That and a handful of much needed features.
And get this, full content playback of a 1080 movie at only a 6 Watt power draw? How bizarrely and intensely impressive is that ? The AC Ryan Veolo is available right now for roughly 200 EUR. If you do decide to pick one up, let us know in our forums as I would love to learn what you guys think of hardware like this. We can recommend only it if you are the gadget kind of guy (or girl), but as a media player we'd still prefer the Playon!HD 2 series better.