- Wide format support, lots of inputs/outputs
- No support for a secondary level sub or files over 2 gigabytes
A media receiver, amplifier and radio tuner-in-one that's ideal for high-end home theatre installations. Although priced higher than standard media streamers, it clearly offers a whole lot more.
Price$ 1,699.00 (AUD)
With computer vendors targeting the lounge room, it wasn't going to be too long until home theatre vendors hit back with their own products addressing the digital lifestyle trend.
Kenwood's flagship VRS-N8100 control centre is one such product, combining top-notch streaming media receiver, amplifier and radio tuner capabilities in one solidly constructed, stylish and well-specified set-top unit. A built-in 10/100Mbps Ethernet interface allows for networking to multiple PCs running Kenwood's PC Server software either directly using a cross over Ethernet cable or using your own wired or 802.11g wireless network hub. Although the firmware upgradeable Sigma EM8550 processor handles a vast amount of formats, WMV (Windows Media Video) isn't amongst them. Out of the box, there is support for MPEG-1, MPEG-2, DivX (version 3-5) and XviD video files; MPEG 1 audio (including MP3), WMA, WAV and OGG (Vorbis) music files plus JPEG, BMP, GIF and PNG image files for slideshows.
An integrated PC Card slot means that JPEG images can also be read from a third-party PC Card media reader - great for digital camera buffs. A "Dual Source" function allows one person to listen to music through the main speakers, while someone else watches/listens to a second source though headphones (complete with Dolby headphone 5.1 processing). The "Supreme" function (enabled by a 32-bit ADI SHARC DSP processor) also stands-out as effectively, it re-creates high-end frequencies lost through MP3, WMA and OGG audio compression . The VRS-N8100 has a huge provision of inputs and outputs catering for pretty much every setup imaginable - see Kenwood's Web site for a full listing. Put simply, S-Video, component and composite video plus S/PDIF, optical and RCA stereo audio-ins and outs are all included - more than once in most cases. Two assignable high definition-compatible component inputs will be a blessing for those with quite a few component-out devices.
Features for console gamers include a front panel composite input, automatic "game mode" surround sound/EQ switching and the remote control is pre-programmed for your PlayStation2 and Xbox, but can also be programmed to operate other gear like a DVD player or VCR. As a 600 Watt (100W per channel) digital amplifier, the VRS-N8100 can turn standard stereo signals into 6.1-channel surround and support a range of high-end Dolby, DTS and "Active EQ" modes. Speaker configurations up to 6.1 can be attached and you can also choose to use a dedicated, amplified sub-woofer. In use, both the informative built-in four-line display and on-TV graphical interface are easy to use, once you get your head around the remote. The server software connection was straightforward (once we discovered Windows' firewall was misbehaving) and sorting our media into the software's relevant folders was a snap. We noticed small limitations like no support for second level sub directories or file sizes over 2GB and the fact that all images are converted to JPEGs when imported into the library. These small niggles aside, we were suitably impressed.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- AirTV's slick marriage of Sling TV and OTA channels isn't in the product yet
- Here's what's coming next from Sling TV
- The guts of Onkyo's SBT-A500 sound bar come in an external box to give the speaker an ultra-low profile
- Plex embraces Kodi as Plex Media Player becomes available to all
- 'Google Cast' is being phased out in favor of Chromecast for connected TVs and speakers
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- 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
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- FTSalesforce Technical Business AnalystQLD
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Finance ConsultantVIC
- TPPrincipal Business Analyst - DAFFQLD
- TPSenior Business Analyst - Transformation projectsSA
- FTChief Security Officer l CISSP l ISO27001NSW
- FTCheckpoint Firewall and VPNNSW
- CCBusiness and Change Deployment LeadVIC
- FTSenior Java DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Agile Business AnalystNSW
- CCEnterprise Solution ArchitectNSW
- FTLife/400 Technical Business AnalystNSW
- FTExecutive Sales ManagerNSW
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- CCLead DevOps Architect l AWS- Cloud- Linux- Puppet Ansible- JIRA-DatadogNSW
- FTITCM EngineerNSW
- CCTechnical Business Analyst-DevOpsNSW
- FT.NET CMS DeveloperWA
- CC3x DevOps / Integration Developers l AWS- Cloud- Linux- Puppet Ansible- JIRA-DNSW
- CCNetwork Systems Engineer l Application Support l Linux l Port MacquarieNSW
- TPSQL Server DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Network ArchitectVIC
- FTMid Level Infrastructure Project ManagerVIC
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW