Last year, Micca released a hard drive based portable media drive called the Slim HDD Digital Media Player (imaginative, I know). Based around a standard 2.5” notebook hard drive, the Slim DMP could handle a wide range of containers and formats and had a 720p HDMI output. At $59 sans drive (now down to $49), it represented a solid value and even without too many premium features, it was a very functional media player at its core. Now we’ve got Micca’s followup device, the Slim-HD Portable 1080p Full-HD Digital Media Player (for the rest of the review, I think I’ll stick to calling it the Slim-HD just for sanity’s sake).

The Slim-HD basically takes the Slim and adds 1080p playback capability, along with support for more video and audio codecs, notably FLAC and DTS. The price is now $79 without drive, and includes a remote, the composite A/V cable, USB cable, and AC adapter. Beyond playing videos, music, and pictures, the Slim-HD doesn’t do a whole lot - no fancy Netlfix playback or internet streaming here like on the WD TV Live Hub we looked at recently. It’s an honest to god media player in the simplest form - just plug it into your TV, navigate to the file you want, and away you go.

As with the original Slim, Micca is aiming for the entry to mid-level market, with a focus on the compact form factor, ease of use, and the ability to use it as a portable USB drive. They don’t intend it to be a high end product, but instead as a portable media drive that can play 1080p content. Does it live up to the goals set for it, or does it fall short of the more fully featured competition?

Micca Slim-HD - In and Around
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  • abrar - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    i noticed that there is a Firmware download link on the Micca website, have you tested it ?
    and if so , have you noticed an appreciable difference ?!
  • jack@micca - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    I believe the test unit already has the latest firmware. We do release new firmware frequently, however, and hope to improve handling of less-than-popular encoding methods and parameters.

  • blowfish - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    The look of the UI would be the least important aspect of any media player. I'm far more interested in media compatibility, so thanks for doing a throrough job on that. x264 support is high on my list of priorities. Personally, I have no interest in streaming media.

    The Slim-HD seems like a handy device to hook up to an hotel TV when you're traveling.
  • Rainman200 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    Couldn't disagree more with you on that, the GUI is supremely important which is why Apple trounces many of their competitors.

    For far too long media players have had very poor GUI's designed by people with no UI experience or training at all. See the stock skin of the Realtek RTD1073 players.

    Shouldn't have to be that way, we can have both.
  • jack@micca - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    I agree with you that the GUI is important. And to that point, I would say that the Slim-HD's GUI while not pretty, is functional, simple, and responsive. Sure it doesn't have fancy transitions, a movie jukebox interface, or movie cover-art/info displays. But if you take a look at the modern digital media player with such fancy interfaces, they are either very expensive, and/or have a lot of bugs.

    I am not saying a nice interface is impossible, but industry as a whole is searching for an efficient way to present the massive video collections that users have in some coherent user friendly fashion.

    For us, usability is still the main focus for now. Future firmware versions will add a bit of eye candy to the various pages. But we will control such changes so as not to impact usability.

  • WingNutZA - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    Does the player need external AC power when you hook it up to a PC as a storage device or can USB supply enough power when you only want to copy stuff to/from the unit?
  • jack@micca - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    No AC power is needed as this works as USB hard drive while drawing all the power it needs from the computer's USB port.

  • mfeller2 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    I checked the docs, and there is not the ability to copy files from an SD card to the hard drive. It should be a simple software change to add this functionality, and adds flexibility to let Micca address a different market. There are products for in-the-field backup for digital cameras. Plug in the media card to a portable hard drive, and media card contents are automatically copied to disk, to have a second copy in the case of media card failure. Smaller than a laptop when there are packing constraints (photo-journalism, nature photography). With newer digital cameras now supporting video, the ability to do this in-the-field backup, and then do playback from the Micca's a nice all-in-one package that does more than the dedicated photo-backup hardware, and cheaper to boot.
  • Rainman200 - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 - link

    The sochip SC9800 is definitely Arm based as there is a Chinese forum that deals with it used by Ainol players and someone hacked Android onto one of the PMP's

    If the rumors are true the Boxchip F10 is supposedly the same although why the different names is a mystery.
  • Pooki - Thursday, November 25, 2010 - link

    I'd like to pick up the micca slim hd and pair it with a boxee remote. Combined, that's about the price of an AppleTV. Would it work, you reckon?

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