What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Thu, 3 Nov 2011, 3:30pm

Vivadi MM420

Tested at £1800
100100
5

Good value, flexible and capable, this is an impressive newcomer to the Media Centre category

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For

  • Strong all-round performance
  • complete spec
  • value for money

Against

  • Not as slick to live with as it might be
  • comparatively prosaic looks

Value-for-money might seem an unusual premise on which to base a review of a product costing almost £2000, but in the case of the Vivadi MM420, it’s particularly apposite.

This fully featured media centre PC, positioned near the top of the company’s MediaMaster range, costs less than half as much as some similarly powerful rivals yet matches them in most key aspects for both usability and performance, so despite its price, it’s actually something of a steal.

The heart of the MM420 is an AMD 3.3GHz dual-core processor supported by 4GB of DDR3 RAM and the 64-bit version of Windows 7.

A substantial 2TB hard-disk is included, offering space (so Vivadi asserts) for around 3000 CDs (or, more likely, a mix of audio and video media).

Supports 3D Blu-ray
The Blu-ray drive supports 3D Blu-ray playback and upscaling of DVDs to 1080p, and the Vivadi’s compatible with all the relevant forms of HD audio too. My Movies software will keep track of all your films, bringing in the relevant metadata automatically and presenting your choices via large, easily recognisable thumbnails.

Connected via HDMI into our reference system, the Vivadi’s picture and sound are impressive: colours are vibrant and contrasts full, and if there’s the occasional trace of motion instability, it’s not enough to perturb the general impression that as a seamless server for all your digital media, the MM420 has a lot to offer.

The Vivadi also sports twin Freeview tuners and a 14-day electronic programme guide to simplify your recordings.

Freeview, but no HD
Shame there’s no Freeview HD, though – for that, you’ll need to spend £2500 on the MM422 model.

Of course, the Vivadi also functions very well as a conventional PC. Its combination of processor and ample RAM ensures web browsing is fluid, and the wireless keyboard, with its built-in trackpad mouse, is easy enough to get to grips with.

Unlike some rivals, there’s no dedicated control app for your iOS device: instead, Vivadi recommends Vmcmote, and we’d agree: it makes browsing through all your content that much more enjoyable.

Problems? We had a few teething issues on set-up, but Vivadi’s remote technical support dealt with them rapidly enough.

Otherwise, you could argue that, viewed as a whole, the MM420 is a shade less slick and sexy than it might be. But, to finish where we came in, it is also way cheaper than its rivals – and that’s got to be enough to earn it our respect, and possibly yours too.

The Vivadi MM420 will feature in the Ultimate Guide to New Technology, on sale from November 18th.

See all our media centre PC reviews

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