It would be too easy to dismiss piece of kit like the Sumvision Cyclone Micro 2+ HD media player. Out of the box, it looks and feels like a cheap, minuscule box of nothing – and its promise to be a compact, able media player looks folly. Billed as the world’s smallest MKV player, at first glance size that appears its only selling point.
And while it can’t quite shake off all of those criticisms by the time the final verdict is in, this is still something of a box of unexpected tricks. As anyone who’s spent some time with a Sumvision DVD player can testify, for instance, the firm has a habit of packing a bit more in for your money than you may be expecting.
Of course there are corners cut to meet the lowly £30 price tag: the budget feel of the product is reflected from the unimpressive build quality of the main unit itself, through to the cheapness of the remote control (which is only a couple of steps up from the horrible credit card-style remotes that used to be de rigeur with cheap TV cards). The remote is really quite terrible to use, too, and that never helps.
Value for money
But for £30, you get a device that can output 1080p content. Obviously it can’t hold a disc, so the content in question must come on a USB drive or memory card. You can also connect a USB hard drive to the port on the Cyclone, and that works just fine, too.
File support is extensive. It’s MKV support that many will look for, and they certainly get it here. The unit can also play back H.264, MP4, MPG, AVI and other major video formats. Its audio support is broad, too. It then outputs material either via a HDMI cable (which isn’t supplied), or composite cables (which are, but don’t offer 1080p resolution, obviously).
Given that there’s so little to the unit, it’s an absolute breeze to get up and running. It requires a power socket, and then you connect the output cable, as well as the source for your content. A smooth-looking on-screen menu then guides you through the choosing of your material. The menu, sadly, is really quite sluggish, and so if you’re connecting up an external hard drive full of content, then it’s worth getting it organised first. But once you’ve chosen what you’re looking for, there are no qualms about the quality you get, certainly for the money.
It’s a real cave of unexpected delights, too. Subtitle support is included, along with the likes of an AC3 or DTS soundtrack. And the unit is flexible enough for you to configure output to your liking. The size of it means it’s easy to take around with you, too.
There are obvious barriers to what you can do with a £30 high-definition content player, and the lack of optical outputs is the most obvious. The poor software is another, as is the lack of more sophisticated options you’d get on an under-the-telly box if you shelled out double the price. There’s no getting away from how cheap and nasty it looks, too.
But when it comes to the job it’s supposed to do, the Cyclone 2+ is a really surprising beast, one that punches well above its proverbial weight.
- Excellent value, lots of functionality.
- Feels very cheap and very nasty.
A small box with a large collection of tricks. It can't entirely shake the cheap feel, but it's a far better product than you may be expecting.