|Pivos XIOS DS Media Player PTGMCXDALU|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Notebook | Compact PC|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 31 May 2013|
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Media Player Final Thoughts
Long ago, it was HTPCs that enthusiasts looked to for their digital entertainment centers, but now that very same level of functionality (or better) is available from portable computing devices. Advanced modern mobile processors have allowed portable devices to enjoy concentrated performance focused on the functions they're designed for, while newcomers are changing the landscape and closing the gap. Yet, somehow, there's still a void in the fully-functional media player market.
The Pivos XIOS DS Media Play! certainly tries to stand on its own, but it's not a complete solution. Once the industry can produce an affordable media player with the ability to play games and browse the web, we'll see a change in the way consumers value computers. I've spent a bit of time ranting about foretelling the end of desktop computers as we know them, and its media playback devices such as these that are helping to sway users away from buying a new computer system.
As manufacturers are able to add more features and functionality to their products, we as consumers will see our platform choices begin to narrow. My search will end when there's a powerful wireless device that exists on the market, capable of playing high-performance video games, high-definition multimedia playback, delivers speedy web browsing, and boasts a large application library. Essentially, one day I would like to replace my large, powerful, desktop PC with an ultra-compact device that holds all of the same potential functionality.
Pivos XIOS DS Conclusion
IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.
Beginning with our performance rating, the Pivos XIOS DS Media Play! (M3 version PTGMCXDALU-US) is compared against similarly-priced devices such as: ASUS CUBE with Google TV, WD TV Live, ASUS O!Play LIVE, and Patriot Memory PBO Alpine. Unfortunately, I do not feel that Pivos XIOS DS performs well enough to be fairly considered as competition to any of these media players. Since the AC-3/A52 audio CODEC does not function correctly on XIOS DS, a large selection of our test files failed to play back properly. Furthermore, the numerous delays with configuration and setup make it extremely difficult for users to even begin to enjoy their media with this player. Ultimately, XIOS DS fails to tap the potential inside the ARM Mali-400 MP multi-core GPU.
In terms of appearance, the Pivos XIOS DS does rather well. It's small, sleek, and stylish, all at once. The device is compact and lightweight, making it possible to mount in places that would be impossible for larger/heavier players. The white finish with green Android accents help give the XIOS DS a trendy look without becoming to over-the-top.
Construction is solid, with a few minor concerns. Pivos includes 512 MB of DDR2 system memory on XIOS DS, along with 2 GB of NAND Flash storage space. A built-in wired 10/100 Ethernet connection joins Wi-Fi B/G/N wireless networking, so connectivity is covered. However, the device lacks ventilation for the onboard ARM Cortex A9 processor and ARM Mali-400 MP multi-core GPU to exhaust from, which causes the media player to really build-up heat inside the unit. This could cause premature component break-down over time.
With regard to functionality, I did not have a positive experience with the Pivos XIOS DS Media Play! device and consider it to be a poor choice for novice users. As I explained in the test results section (previous page), XIOS DS did not come ready to work out of the box - at least not until several firmware updates via MicroSD card later into retail production. Pivos eventually released a firmware update that made the bundled remote control into the default device, making it possible to properly navigate screens, enter account passwords, and configure a wireless network. There are still concerns with XBMC being supported by XIOS DS, however the more advanced crowd seems to appreciate its inclusion on the device.
As of June 2013 the Pivos XIOS DS Media Play! (M3 version PTGMCXDALU-US) is available online for $109.99 (Amazon|Newegg). The hardware alone could justify this price, if only there were fewer hurdles in the software and setup. However, if you're one of the more experienced Android users who doesn't mind investing time into this device, there are plenty of features and functionality yet to be unlocked.
My summary: Pivos XIOS DS Media Play! is not for everyone. The menagerie of unrefined software apps relegates this device to those with more experience, and much more patience. For users merely wanting a device that plays all their digital multimedia files right out of the box, I still recommend the WD TV Live as my top choice ($89.99 from Newegg or Amazon). Although it doesn't offer the Google Android OS like XIOS DS does, it will play back every file type and CODEC without compatibility problems. If you know your Android apps and multimedia CODECs better than you know sunshine, then Pivos has designed the XIOS DS just for you.
+ Built on the Google Android OS
- Not compatible with AC-3/A52 audio CODEC
Final Score: 7.55 out of 10.
COMMENT QUESTION: If you already own the Pivos XIOS DS, how does it perform for you?