PIVOS XIOS DS Media Play ReviewWesstron - March 13, 2013
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PIVOS XIOS DS Media Play Closer Look:
The XIOS DS Media Play unit I received for this review is the new M3 hardware revision and it was shipped already flashed with the latest firmware released on 01/08/13 and thus running an Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) based ROM. I will not go through the OS in detail since it’s out of the scope of this review but I will do my best to cover all the pertinent settings that would affect the user experience relative to the XIOS DS Media Play. The initial start-up took about 32 seconds and I was greeted with a stock Android OS - tablet style - home screen. There was only a clock widget already setup and no shortcuts were added. The right screenshot below shows the apps that were installed out of the box. I actually added them as shortcuts on the second screen to make for a better view. The highlights here are the following apps specific to the unit: Music, AppInstaller, FileBrowser, Network, MoviePlayer, and the XBMC media center that I will go through in more detail in the next section. I actually skipped on the custom launcher that PIVOS offers for the XIOS DS Media Play and installed one of my favorite third party launchers instead. I guess I don't have to point out which is which!
The Music app is a basic music player and the Android veterans will probably install a third party app that offers more functionality and a friendlier layout. The AppInstaller will scan your device and attached storage for .apk files that can be installed. It provides a user friendly interface instead of browsing around the folders to locate a file. The FileBrowser app is a basic file browser that will do the job to a certain extent but I would suggest installing a third party one from the App Store for added functionality. The same applies to the MoviePlayer app; it’s rendered obsolete by the presence of the XBMC app coded specifically for the XIOS DS Media Play. The Network app is supposed to scan the shared folders in the local area network and display a list of the available windows shares. I personally did not have much luck with this application and it was not listing my shared folders while XBMC was perfectly seeing them.
On top of the stock Android ICS settings, the list contains some specific options that will help optimize and improve the overall experience while using the XIOS DS Media Play. The first setting I would like to point out is the Ethernet configuration screen. Android OS is meant for phones to start with and smartphones or tablets don’t have an Ethernet port while our review unit does. To take advantage of the extra connectivity, you simply need to set the toggle on the top left to ON. Then it will depend if you are running DHCP or Static IPs; by clicking on the “Configure Ethernet devices” we can then change the parameters and input the IP settings if needed.
The next interesting settings are found under the Display option. The Output mode will let you pick the optimal resolution for your display up to 1080p. The Display position is there so you can fine tune the position of the screen by increasing or decreasing the width and height. Next is the Font size selection that offers four settings: small, normal, large, and huge. It will depend on your display but for large TVs the Large or Huge setting is recommended. Finally the HDMI-CEC control makes it possible to toggle CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) on and off. If activated, the XIOS DS Media Play will be able to control the awake, sleep, and display functions of a compatible TV.
Another relevant set of options is found under the Language & Input section. Here we can change the device language, toggle Spelling correction, and manage the Personal dictionary. The Keyboard & Input methods section will let us set the default input method; in the screenshot below you notice that the available options are the Android keyboard or Remote controller input. The latter makes it possible to use the bundled remote for text input if no keyboard or mouse are available.
Finally the About MediaBox section will provide informations about the device and an extra screen displaying the status of the network, the serial number, and uptime (the last two details are not available with this device). An Easter egg can be found here; if you click repeatedly on the Android version it will display the Android logo in its ICS outfit. If you then click and hold the logo it will switch to an animation of a bunch of Android robots flying through the screen.
Now that we have a giant Android powered tablet in the living room, let's check what might be the best software to enjoy our media.