Page 3 - A Closer Look - Software
UEBO time and again stresses the importance of convenience through their products. This can be as simple as creating fully featured products that fit our lifestyle. However, we here at APH Networks not only focus on the idea the product, but also the execution. So in terms of software, how is the UEBO M100? Well, after a short boot up time, the TV screen is lighted up with an aesthetic pleasing background and menu. Good start.
I wouldn't go as far as to say the menu is spot on and amazing to operate and look at (I'm certainly not expecting it to). Simply put, the menu is nice to look at, with the added option and feature to change the background and font if one feels like it. The menu is definitely not the nicest I have seen, but it definitely has its perks. Taking one swift look, one could say it is simple, and I think that is all the UEBO M100 needs. The menu icons scroll from side to side, and are exceptionally easy to use. The icons are big, and the text is easy to read, which allows any user to get a feel for the system without much effort. Again, since the menu is so simple, some would find it a little plain, so don't expect any fancy visual effects from the UEBO M100.
Once the first icon in the startup menu is selected, it will bring you to the video library. In this branch, it allows you to navigate through your favorite video files and playlists. It is important to note when viewing any file (Image, video, or audio), you can view them using all three methods. By pressing the "Menu" button on the remote, one can choose to view their files as a list, thumbnail, or preview. These three viewing options definitely make it easier to find a specific video file, or when you are deciding on the spot what you want to watch. At the same time, the preview option allows users to get a glimpse of the selected video file, nifty. In this screen, however, I found a few hiccups that should be addressed. The preview always starts from the very beginning of the video, and that's not very useful. I also found that there is quite a lot of wasted space. The menu seems to only be situated in the middle of the screen, but does not take up that much room. The rest of the outer edges are just part of the background image, and seeing so much background is sometimes very annoying. Increasing the overall menu size will not only score more aesthetics points, but will clear up a few smaller issues. First off, longer movie titles will not need to awkwardly scroll slowly for you to read. Secondly, the extra display room may allow more files to be displayed, increasing efficiency when finding files. This problem is quite frequent around the entire user interface, and increasing the menu space is definitely a solution. According to the technical specifications list listed before, the UEBO M100 supports the following video file formats: AVI, MPG, DAT, VOB, DIV, MOV, MKV, MPEG, TS, MTS, M2TS, RMVB, WMV, ISO, IFO, MP4, FLV, TP and TRP. This is quite a hefty list, and throughout my tests, I was able to play a large variety of the most popular video formats without any issues.
The video playback on the UEBO M100, in short, is very impressive. With a phenomenal list of video formats that are supported, and an HDMI connection for full 1080p high definition playback quality, the UEBO M100 definitely delivers for us in this area with flying colors. Anyone who are used to viewing clips in HD will know what to expect, and the M100 achieves its mission with no hiccups in this regard. As well, foreign films will be a joy to watch, since seven different subtitle formats are supported. Using the remote control, you have full control over the video, and can change settings to a wide variety of options, including its fast forward capabilities, subtitles, audio volume, and much more. The "Menu" button pops up a small in-video menu at the bottom of the video that allows you to view many of the current settings, as well as position and length.
Personally, I am not one to share photos or look at photos on my TV. I do, however, admit that I have done it in the past. For the UEBO M100, sharing pictures is simple. All you need is a list of images, press the "Enter" button on the remote, and watch away. Along with sharing images, the UEBO M100 gives the user a host of options to help "spice" things up. The most important of which is the option of adding music during your slideshow. If you decide to show a set of family photos to your friends, you can add a touch of musical flare into the mix. At the same time, this function can also be used professionally at large public gatherings like weddings -- the possibilities are endless. Another option present when viewing photos is the 'zoom' button found on the remote. This nifty feature may come in handy from time to time. However, I found that using the feature was fairly hard and quite clumsy. One of the largest issues I have found with the UEBO M100 is the small list of file formats supported for images. If you take your photos in the RAW (Most professional photographers will take RAW images) on your dSLR camera, then sharing these images is impossible without conversion to something like JPEG.
The UEBO M100 is fairly boring when it comes to music. Again, for myself, I only listen to music on my iPod or on my computer. Never will I move MP3 files into a media player and play it on my TV. Of course, you can argue that it is better to listen to music through your home theater setup than your computer, but remember this: The UEBO M100 does not have S/PDIF out at the back. So if you are looking to hook up your device to your receiver, then composite is the only way to go. The music player on the UEBO M100 is much like the photo viewer. You can play the music, control its volume and placement in the song, play with a few more options, and that's about it. For music, that's all you need. So long the music files can be played, there really is no problem with the media player, but it is really boring. I think stuff like visualizations or album art is quite standard nowadays, and there is no reason why the M100 does not have it. Also, I would like to see s a little bit more complexity in the player. If, for example, I was a individual who always played music throughout the house using my home theater system, I would like a device that will allow me to personalize my music -- although it is rather unfortunate that the M100 does not have any real digital audio interface that can interface with your home theater system. Music players like iTunes are widely used because of their ability to organize, personalize, and ultimately play music without much effort. Unfortunately, the UEBO M100 cannot do much beyond creating a playlist, and playing it. The audio file formats supported by the UEBO M100 include MP3, OGG, WMA, WAV, AAC and FLAC.
I spend most of my time going through the File Manager Icon. This is mainly because the File Manager will allow me to access my internal hard drive, as well as any other external USB devices. Once the media player boots up, it takes a short while for the internal hard drive to be noticed, and same with any USB devices. The File Manager in the M100 is very easy to use. Organizing files and folders is just as simple as doing it on a computer, and the M100 also allows the ability to create new folders, which always come in handy. The great thing about this media player is not necessarily the fact that it has two methods of accessing storage, but the fact that it can use of these methods (The USB 2.0 port) to access the internet. By adding a USB 802.11n adapter, one can have instant access to a wide variety of internet channels like Netflix. My colleague Devin that reviewed the UEBO M50 found this feature to be somewhat useless on the M50. UEBO fixes the problem of not having a storage solution when accessing a adapter by giving 2.5" HDD support on the M100. One thing to notice is that UEBO created a recycling bin in my internal hard drive. This is a brilliant idea that gives the user the feeling that he is using no less than a computer. Also, when files get deleted, it is just as easy to restore.
With File Manager, you can actually manage files, and I think that this feature is nice to have. Since the UEBO M100 is small and portable, one could always bring their player to their computer whenever they need to organize or backup files. However, if you did not want move your media player back and forth, you can organize all your files with ease using the media player itself. The media player allows you the option of copying and pasting files to different locations on your hard drive. If you want to move several items, the M100 allows the option of first selecting multiple items before copying.
After pressing "enter" over the system icon, you will be taken to a small sub-menu that focuses on changing your system settings. In this menu, you can change a wide variety of options, including your video, audio, and personal settings. The screens itself are fairly plain, and will only provide a few changes over the system. It is suggested that all reformatting of your drives should be done by the UEBO M100 on your TV and not your computer. Other crucial elements found in the system menu would be the language options, as well as the system restore options. The 'scan' feature on the M100 is not to scan the hard drive for viruses or spyware. Instead, it is used to index your storage device for all your video, image, and music files, and to compile a list into the under each icon found in the main menu.
As aforementioned, the UEBO M100 allows one to change their desktop background and font. In order to do this, you will need to provide your own images and fonts. I personally would not have the patience of setting up a new background and text style, but the option does allow some flexibility in terms of the software's aesthetics.
A few sections back, I mentioned that the zoom function on pictures was fairly difficult to use. I would not say that the zoom itself is the problem, but most likely the software. During the time I have spent on the UEBO M100, I have found a considerable lag time when issuing a command using the remote control. The media player itself instantly blinks blue when you press a certain button, so you know that the lag time is not created from the remote to the player. I had often found myself pressing the back button twice, because the media player did not respond at first -- and therefore I ended up going back twice. The response delay is probably the most irritating and largest problem I have found in regards to the software. In short, the reason why I got a solid state drive on my desktop computer was so I could boot up my computer in less than 20 seconds. The reason why the boot times for the upcoming Windows 8 is so fast is because people simply do not like to wait. As the saying goes, time is money, and operating the UEBO M100 can become quite expensive.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look - Hardware
3. A Closer Look - Software
4. Performance and Conclusion