First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- Simple and elegant design, easy to set up and use
- No digital output
Netgear's MP 101 is a great wireless audio player with an easy setup and straightforward operation. It's only lacking a digital output.
Price$ 229.00 (AUD)
Buy now (Selling at 25 stores)
Netgear's MP101 wireless digital music player is built to share audio from a PC or an Internet music streaming service to a home stereo. It works over either an Ethernet or wireless connection.
As with most network media players, the MP101 includes both a software and hardware component. Software is installed on any PCs with a music database, which then allows the MP101 to access and play back the audio files remotely over a network.
Installation takes a couple of minutes, and the MP101 ships with Ethernet and RCA cables to interface with a home stereo and network router (though you obviously won't need the Ethernet cable if you intend to connect to a wireless router). There's also a handy quick installation guide that takes the sting out of initially setting up the product, but provided you install the software before plugging the MP101 into the network, the setup is close to foolproof.
Once you have the software installed on a PC, and it has catalogued your MP3 and WMA files, you can turn on the MP101 and configure it via the bundled remote control. The device will automatically try to pick up a network address from a network router via DHCP, or you can configure the details of your wireless network directly via remote. WEP encryption is fully supported; however, there is no provision for the more robust WPA security.
The MP101 is a relatively simple device, with the back plate offering 802.11b Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections along with RCA and 3.5mm audio line outs. There's no digital output to speak of, so you're limited to analog. This may not be a concern for many buyers; however, those with substantial investments in high fidelity audio would want to look elsewhere.
The MP 101 works effectively. We detected no glitches in playback or files that refused to read during the test process. A backlit four-line LCD on the front of the machine offers enough information on playlists and track information, and is visible from a few metres away--making it ideal for a lounge room.
Netgear--known as a networking company--has done a good job in preparing the MP101 for a home theatre environment. The sleek silver device features rounded edges and measures 24 x 19 x 6.5cm (including antenna), and would look at home with most modern home entertainment setups. The remote control is well laid out and matches elegantly. In fact, the Netgear device is a great choice if you don't specifically demand a digital connection to a home stereo. Even better, it is backed up by a three-year warranty.
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