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Sumvision Cyclone Micro review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £26
inc VAT

This media-player only plays standard-definition video, but it's cheap and incredibly compact.

High-definition video playback is now a common feature for media players, whether they stream content from a PC or play it directly from storage devices.

The Sumvision Cyclone Micro doesn’t stream media, and it’s the first playback device we’ve seen for ages that can’t play HD video.

The chipset inside its tiny metal case supports only standard-definition video – up to the PAL resolution of 720×576 pixels. Although initially disappointing, this is understandable for the price, and many people still use only standard-definition files from the internet or camcorders. There’s good support for common video formats, including MPEG2 (with support for VOB files from DVDs) and MPEG4-based formats such as DivX and XviD.

It may not support HD video, but the Cyclone Micro has an HDMI output. This supports all the usual HD resolutions, up to and including 1080p. Video is automatically upscaled to the output resolution, although the results were no more impressive than our test TV could manage on its own, with no effort made to remove compression artefacts. You can fast-forward and rewind videos at a respectable 20x speed, though.

As well as HDMI, there’s a mini-jack output for stereo phono and composite video, but the lack of a high-quality analogue output, such as S-video, is disappointing. The memory card reader on the front supports SDHC cards, and there’s a USB port for flash drives and USB hard disks. There are no controls on the unit, so you’ll have to use the mini remote control.

We dislike this sort of compact remote: they’re uncomfortable to hold, the buttons provide little feedback and their regular rows make it hard to find the button you want. Here, at least, the controls are clearly labelled and do what you’d expect. The garish onscreen menus react quickly to your inputs, but provide little more than basic folder browsing.

The high resolution of the HDMI output is handy for displaying photos, although many new digital cameras have such outputs built in. You can see only a single preview image at a time when scrolling through your photos, so looking through hundreds of photos to find the one you want can take a painfully long time. The scaling and display of photos looked fine, and rotating them onscreen is easy. Music playback is even more basic, with only folder-based browsing, and no album or artist options or support for playlists.

The Cyclone Micro looks basic next to our favourite non-streaming media player, the Western Digital WD TV HD Media Player, which supports the latest HD video formats and has a slicker and more powerful interface. However, at £70 it’s also considerably more expensive. The Cyclone Micro may be a little out of date, but it works just fine and at this price it’s a reasonable buy if you need to play only standard-definition files.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
Media Streamer type streaming multimedia receiver

Audio Compatibility

Audio MP3 playback Yes
Audio WMA playback Yes
Audio WMA-DRM playback No
Audio AAC playback No
Audio Protected AAC playback No
Audio OGG playback Yes
Audio WAV playback No
Audio Audible playback No
Other audio formats none
Internet radio stream compatib none

Video Compatibility

Video MPEG-1 playback Yes
Video MPEG-2 playback Yes
Video MPEG-2 VOB playback Yes
Video MPEG-4 AVI playback Yes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playback Yes
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD support Yes
Video H.264 support No
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio support Yes
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio support No
Video WMV playback No
Video WMV-HD support No
Other video formats none
Internet video stream compatib none

Image Compatibility

Image BMP support Yes
Image JPEG support Yes
Image TIFF support No

Network Interfaces

Wired network ports none
Wireless networking support No
128-bit WEP No
256-bit WEP No

AV Interfaces

Minijack line outputs 0
Minijack headphone outputs 0
Stereo phono outputs 1
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs 0
Optical S/PDIF outputs 0
Total SCART sockets 0
HDMI outputs 1
Component outputs 0
S-video output 0
Composite outputs 1
Other connectors USB, Memory Stick Pro/Duo, MMC, SDHC


Size 13x75x64mm
Antennas 0
Internal/external antennas N/A
Upgradeable antenna No
Power consumption standby 0W
Power consumption on 3W

Server Compatibility

Software included none
iTunes No
SlimServer No

Buying Information

Price £26
Warranty one year RTB

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