Claritas 14.2 VFD
A powerful media centre PC.
- It's powerful enough to play back any current media format, great build quality, VFD screen
- Might be too large and obtrusive for your A/V rack
If you’ve got somewhere to put it, Claritas’ new media centre PC is more than powerful enough for your high-definition media playback needs.
Price$ 2,950.00 (AUD)
Claritas is a company that’s dedicated to building powerful, high quality media centre PCs. Its latest, the 14.2 VFD, is a product that has plenty of power, great looks and exemplary build quality.
It’s built into a desktop-style case that is 435mm wide, 150mm tall and 390mm deep. It’s heavy, too; it might be too large for an A/V rack, but it will definitely look good sitting alongside your television. Our test unit was the brushed black metal version and it was very attractive.
The party piece of the unit is the vacuum fluorescent display screen built into the fascia. It has enough room to display plenty of information, and it helps make the 14.2 VFD look like it belongs on an A/V rack.
If you want to get a proper media centre experience it’s necessary to hook the 14.2 VFD up to a Full HD flat panel TV. We used the fantastic Samsung Series 9 (LA46A950), which we connected via HDMI. The Claritas unit has full HDMI 1.3 capability as well as an HDCP-ready DVI port. It can handle 7.1 surround sound through either analog 3.5mm jacks or optical digital SP/DIF. HDMI audio is also supported.
A powerful 3.0GHz Core 2 Duo processor runs the show on Windows Vista Home Premium, while 4GB of DDR2 RAM and a 1TB hard drive provide plenty of breathing room for storage and programs. In the unlikely event that you fill the hard drive with recorded TV shows, a DVD-RW burner and Gigabit Ethernet allow you to store files somewhere else.
The system produced a gutsy WorldBench score of 111, which puts it far ahead of competitors like the Sony Satellite P200 (PSPB6A-0CS04M) as well as performance notebooks like the Zepto Nox A15. Frankly, it's got more than enough power for all the HD tasks you can throw at it.
Video is outputted through an integrated X4500HD Intel chipset, so the system will handle high-definition content with no dramas, as well as older 3-D games. Television broadcasts are captured with a dual HD tuner card built by Hauppauge, while a year-long subscription to IceTV will keep fans of electronic program guides happy.
As well as a media centre remote, Claritas bundles a Logitech diNovo Mini for controlling the system from the comfort of your couch. We think this is a fantastic addition; it really lends a sense of occasion to watching movies and normal computer browsing.
When it comes to video and audio playback the 14.2 VFD excels. Because it’s based on a fully functional version of Windows Vista, a range of tweaks can be made to get video saturation, contrast, gamma and brightness exactly how you desire. When hooked up to a set of Axiom Audio Audiobytes as well as the Samsung television, the image and sound quality was as good as we’ve heard from any other media centre or high-definition player.
Another great advantage of the 14.2VFD is its silence. With all components securely ensconced inside the heavy case, it’s not audible at all if there’s any ambient noise in the room. This is a great advantage for a media centre; it won’t steal your attention away from whatever content you’re watching.
If you want a powerful, versatile machine that has the ability to handle any HD content you throw at it, consider Claritas’ 14.2 VFD media centre.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Surface Pro 4
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 3 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 4 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 5 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
Latest News Articles
- Plex Cloud is now open to all paid users
- Up next for Apple TV: 4K streaming reportedly in the works
- Apple’s original TV shows are almost ready for prime time
- Apple snags Amazon Fire TV exec to lead Apple TV efforts
- AirTV's slick marriage of Sling TV and OTA channels isn't in the product yet
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- Subaru XV 2017 review
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- CCInfosphere ConsultantACT
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistQLD
- FTSenior Technical Consultant - Microsoft / VMWareVIC
- FTAEM DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Functional Consultant - Data Analytics - TelcoVIC
- FTIT Project Manager. Ciritical permanent roleNSW
- TPBusiness Analyst/UATVIC
- FTICT Security AnalystQLD
- FTSecurity ArchitectWA
- FTAutomation Test AnalystSA
- FTChief Architect - Public SectorACT
- FTSeeking all Java Developers!ACT
- FTAgile Test AnalystQLD
- FTSnr Salesforce Technical Consultant/Architect Global IT Company - SydneyNSW
- CCBusiness Specialist - Data ManagementNSW
- FTNetwork Solution ArchitectVIC
- TPProject Manager | HealthQLD
- CCWintel Engineers - NV1ACT
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Forecasting SASNSW
- CCITCM EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Front End DeveloperNSW
- CCBusiness Project Manager - ApplicationsNSW
- CCChange ManagerNSW
- CCJava DeveloperVIC