Media players aren’t new, and admittedly I’ve jumped quite late into the bandwagon. I finally convinced myself that there should be a better way of watching movies at home than buying bootleg DVD’s at Php60 to 80 a pop. Besides, DVDs can’t even do HD, and upsampling is a sorry excuse.
Enter the Xtreamer SideWinder media player. I decided to invest on one of these because it makes perfect sense. I am definitely no videophile, and I had to seek help from an office colleague who knew about these things. Sure there’s a lot of similar media players out there (WD, Popcorn Hour, etc.) but the Xtreamer won me over for portability, ease of use and value.
I had done very limited research, but I feel the SideWinder is perfect for my needs. I wanted something small enough to carry around, so I can have my movies on hotels while traveling, or simply to transfer from multiple TV sets. The music player and photo viewer is a plus, and I’m thinking of using the Sidewinder as a music server in the future.
So far with a month of use, the Xtreamer is serving me well. No hanging or glitches. To my eyes and ears, the video and audio quality is excellent. It’s at par with any branded Blu-Ray disc player (if you have a cleanly ripped movie file running through it). I mentioned about ease of use and it’s worth mentioning again. Simply put, on screen navigation and the remote was made with the idiots, dummies and 5th graders taken into consideration. The build quality is commendable too. The aluminum enclosure and input jacks feel solid (no creaks or wiggles) and could probably stand years of plugging, unplugging and carrying around. Even the remote feels sturdy. The massive heat sinks mean serious business, but they probably need some help (see below).
A review probably isn’t complete without something to nitpick about, and for this it would have to be the fact that this thing generates a lot of heat. After a 2-hour movie, the Sidewinder will be too hot to the touch, at least in Manila weather (kids better stay away). Any hardware’s life gets shortened with too much heat, and I would recommend ventilating this thing if you want to extend its life. Lay the SideWinder on its side and put it on top of a laptop cooling pad and call it a day. (It’ll be more stable too than letting it stand vertically).
For any movie lover who’s already invested in an HDTV and surround sound hardware, my recommendation in a sentence:
The Xtreamer SideWinder is the best way to spend 5,500 pesos.
P.S. It’s the perfect gift for yourself for the holidays.