In a world that’s quickly going hi-def (HD), there’s a growing need for hardware to play HD content. One of the more popular HD players being talked about is the Xtreamer.

The Xtreamer has loads of features: It can play all the commonly found media formats and can access content over the network through its wired connection over Wi-Fi if you opt for that model. There is also support for online services such as YouTube or Flickr.

Other than being a media player, it also acts as a network-attached storage, or NAS, device. It supports remote-controlling over various mediums too. The remote control is compact, has lots of buttons, but using the Xtreamer is still easy. The video performance is fine although the initial start-up of the device takes a while.

Whatever few points the Xtreamer loses in design, it makes up for with its features. And the price is not bad either. At Rs9,900 for the model with a Wi-Fi 802.11n adapter, it’s a lot of features for a relatively low price. It’s definitely great value for money and we give it a thumbs up.

Creative Zen X-Fi 2

Zen X-Fi 2 is Creative’s first touch-screen MP3 player. Its design resembles the Apple iPod Touch, with a grey matte finish on the rear and a 3-inch display screen. The player is light and has a good grip. It has a micro-SD card slot on the top that can increase the memory, an audio jack and a micro USB port on the right side. With the square button next to the screen, you can go to the home menu. A power button is attached to the chassis and does not jut out.

Zen X-Fi2 has a simple user interface showing menus such as music, video, radio and photos, among others, that make the navigational task easy. It supports MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC and FLAC. The sound quality is good. The Expand EQ option gives 3D surround sound effect, thus bringing to life flat music.

While playing videos, you don’t need compression to transfer video files to the player. It has a good 5 hours of video playback.

However, the resistive touch screen was disappointing. The sluggish response is a nightmare. Moreover, there are no external volume control buttons, making it extremely clumsy to adjust volume or change tracks when the player is in your pocket.

At Rs8,999, we feel this is too high a price for a product with glaring flaws.

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