Optima Entertainment Media Centre
- Incredible design, Solid performance, Quiet
- Missing antivirus software
For the average person wanting their first foray into the world of media centres we can't think of a better pre-built alternative currently on the market.
Price$ 1,999.95 (AUD)
As far as most media centres go, they have real trouble blending into the lounge room. Trying to condense a huge PC tower into something that looks like a DVD player is never going to be an easy task and most companies have only met with small degrees of success.
The Optima Entertainment Media Centre takes this challenge, sprints past the finish line and keeps running into the sunset. It looks absolutely gorgeous. This is the first media centre we've looked at that really gets point for design. It is a suave, black number about the thickness of a standard home entertainment device, with a glossy finish across the front. What's more, the DVD drive is also black; finally a company has blended their drive in with their colour scheme. The front of the unit has a bare minimum of LEDs with a tiny indicator above the power switch and a small display that simply says OPTIMA.
Two panels drop down, revealing the DVD tray and a set of flash memory slots which cover all the basic formats. There are also all the media buttons you'd find on a regular DVD player, such as play, stop and scene skip. Overall the design looks exquisite and packs in all the functionality you could want.
We were equally enamoured with the level of noise output by the system. It was absolutely whisper quiet. We had to put our ears right up to the grill before we encounter any sort of audible sound. The one exception to this was the hard drives, which, under load produced a noticeable grinding but that is virtually unavoidable regardless of your system design.
But does the performance match the physique? With computers, you basically get what you pay for; rarely are there products that stand out as exceptional value for money. The Optima is in line with what we'd expect. For the price you get a solid performer that has more than enough power to crunch through any media tasks you'd require of it and then some. It has a 2.8 GHz dual core processor with a gigabyte of ram and a Radeon X300 graphics chip. There is 200 gigabytes of storage space available to record and store your media, which isn't a massive quantity, compared to something like the Claritas CTS-1000, but considering the cost and size of the unit this is more than adequate.
In our benchmark tests it performed about average, netting a score of 1121 in 3Dmark05 and 87 in WorldBench. We found it booted up quickly and had none of the problems at start-up exhibited by many of its competitors. This may be partially due to the fact that no virus protection software comes with the system. On many other media centres, the virus protection causes a small lag at power-up whilst it fires up all the necessary bits of software, but that is not the case here, so keep in mind you'll need your own anti-virus software when running this machine (unless you like to live dangerously and place your entire media collection at risk on a daily basis).
Indeed the entire operating system is fairly bare when you first receive the system. Next to no software comes installed, apart from some basic media tools like PowerDVD, and whilst some people will think of this as a negative to be honest we found it a boon. A lot of that extra software is fundamentally useless and clutters up the system. The Windows Media Centre Edition interface offers more than enough tools to perform all your media centre functions, so apart from the lack of antivirus software we can't fault Optima for this.
The one thing the system does come equipped with is a 30 day free subscription to IceTV, which is virtual necessity for anyone wanting to run a media centre. Whilst this obviously won't compete with the free twelve months offered by the Claritas, it is enough to give you a taste of the service and falls in line with the rest of the competition.
We were satisfied with the number of ports presented by the Optima. It offered what is now a fairly standard array of DVI, VGA, Stereo, Co-axial and Optical outputs; however we were also very pleased to find a few RCA audio connections which are not often found on PCs. We connected it to our TV using a DVI to HDMI cable and had no problems.
To put it simply - this system delivers what it promises and won't look astray occupying centre stage in your lounge room.
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
- FTFunctional ConsultantNSW
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCIntegration Systems SpecialistQLD
- FTLevel 2 Service DeskNSW
- CCNetwork Security Engineer - Cisco ISEVIC
- CCSenior Solution ArchitectVIC
- TPSenior Business Analyst - Risk & ComplianceNSW
- FTLevel 2 Service DeskNSW
- CCBusiness Project ManagerNSW
- FTApplication Developer - FileNetVIC
- FTSalesforce Technical Business AnalystQLD
- CCVirtualization ArchitectACT
- FTConsulting Solution/Integration ArchitectVIC
- FTJunior Software DeveloperQLD
- CCCloud Solution Architect - Financial Services - Continuous IntegrationNSW
- CCSenior Developer - Appian/PegaVIC
- TPTechnical Business AnalystVIC
- CCReporting AnalystVIC
- CCSecurity AnalystACT
- CCProject DirectorVIC
- FTTechnology Testing Services ManagerQLD
- FTNational Manager of Security - We are looking for a strong Leader - Syd CBDNSW
- CCMicrosoft Systems EngineerVIC