What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Mon, 7 Feb 2011, 12:00pm

Lacie LaCinema Mini HD

Tested at £180
60100
3

Great as a NAS drive or streamer, but we bemoan the lack of on-demand stuff

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For

  • Extensive file support
  • easy to use
  • discrete design
  • works as a NAS
  • USB input

Against

  • No added internet or on-demand content
  • remote is a little clunky

We've been very impressed with everything we've seen from LaCie, though admittedly that has only stretched to three products so far.

One of those, the LaCinema Classic HD, is a bigger version of what we have here; the Mini HD. Uniquely  it packs a 500GB hard disk drive, which lets you store content locally as well as streaming things to it.

It's fairly simple to connect to your network, and once that's done you can either load content to the hard disk over your network or via a USB cable straight to the device.

Cavernous storage
Either way, you're left with a box that can function as a NAS drive. It's the only one here that can do that – hence the premium – though it's worth pointing out that LaCie offer similar, cheaper devices without the hard disk.

It's well put together, easy on the eye and comes with a decent selection of connections.

An HDMI output lets you play videos in resolutions up to 1080p, along with support for AVI, MP4, WMV, DivX and MKV, amongst many others, plus Dolby Digital and DTS sound.

An optical digital audio output, stereo phonos, and a USB input and output complete the line-up.

Great-quality video
So, there's plenty of video you can feed it but the key difference here is that you'll have to supply it yourself. Unlike the other devices here, there's no on-demand stuff offered.

The only hint of an app is access to photo-sharing website, Flickr.

Still, whether you're streaming things or watching a 1080p HD video directly, the quality is good, showing the LaCie capable of delivering the highest quality content in decent style. Audio isn't quite as dynamic and full-bodied as we'd like it to be, but it's perfectly listenable.

The user interface is clear, sharing content from a computer is simple, and the results are impressive enough – even if the remote is a little diddy and fiddly – and if you value the USB input and built-in hard disk, it's a good, simple solution.

But with the other devices on offer now offering much more, we wouldn't blame you for demanding more features for your money.

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