Terratec Noxon 2 audio review

£110
Price when reviewed

Terratec’s Noxon 2 audio is an odd-looking device, taking a Mac mini-style white box and attaching a blue LCD screen on the front. The display is taller than the box, suiting shelf mounting, but you can still use it on a flat surface – it simply looks odd. Terratec had announced a speaker unit to sit under the Noxon 2, but it’s yet to materialise.

The remote control and user interface are almost identical to the Philips, with the four lines of text in the middle and status information above and below. The display is around half an inch larger diagonally than the Philips, which is a bonus given the squinting required with the Streamium. But the Noxon 2 costs £46 more, so it needs more than this to justify it.

There are a few extras. First, the top of the unit has playback and navigation controls: being silver plastic they’re not the most stylish, but they’re useful during setup. And you’ll be able to choose between wired and wireless connections thanks to the Ethernet port on the back: it’s the cheapest device here to include a wired port.

But the best feature is found behind a flap on the side: a USB 2 port for directly connecting an external drive. You can hook up a hard disk, flash drive or even an MP3 player to play music directly, complementing or replacing a network connection. And it took only 15 seconds to detect and display the huge number of tracks from our MP3 player.

The audio options are equally impressive, with mini-jack, RCA and optical S/PDIF outputs, but note that no cables are supplied. A copy of TwonkVision TwonkyMusic software is bundled, although the Terratec will happily support all UPnP music servers. If you want to play DRM files, you’ll have to use software like Windows Media Connect, though.

There are weaknesses, however. Strangely, the more secure WPA encryption is only offered as an option if your network’s SSID is broadcast, while viewing angles on the display are very narrow.

Overall, the Terratec Noxon 2 is a better-featured alternative to the Philips. But there’s no real difference in use, so unless you need the USB port we’d recommend either saving £46 with the Philips or spending a little extra on the superior Evesham M-bridge.

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