So, I just received my kdlinks HD700 from Amazon today. I plugged it into the TV and went through the menus.
My initial impression is mixed. Most importantly, it immediately saw my attached network devices and let me browse them. It showed the directories and files fine and the response time for browsing the directories was acceptable. I started to play video files and have been sitting here for over an hour trying out everything from DVD ISOs to very large 1080p files in MKV containers. Not a single hiccup. The video playback is this player's strong point.
Some of my videos have multiple audio tracks and subtitles. With files that have SRT files with them, it gives some nice options for subtitle resizing, colors and placement; a nice touch.
Another nice feature is that while browsing your directories, you have three options for displaying the content. A simple file list with sorting options, a thumbnail view that shows the first image file found in that subdirectory as its thumbnail and finally a "preview" view that shows a truncated file name list and as you select it, starts to play the video in a small file. (This is my favorite.)
The downside of the browsing is that my file names are large and only the standard file list display shows the whole name. That list is limited to 8 files, and you have to "page up or down" to see the next 8. It's definitely like going back in time to my, well, Popcorn Hour A-100, but a bit worse as I think the Popcorn Hour could display 10 to 12 files on the screen.
Also, there doesn't seem to be any capability for bookmarking a favorite network location... which means you have to hit the back button through your entire directory structure if you want to pick another location. There's a favorites screen, but it seems to be for RSS feeds. (Huh?)
The machine is solidly built and I rather like the old-school LED-looking panel on the front. Wait, it IS an LED panel. Ha ha. But, it's better than the traditional blue power button.
The saddest aspect of this machine is its "Premium Apps" menu choice. Selecting it brings up a couple of pages of Chinese web sites that don't work. Seriously, none of them do anything but give you a "The system time/date is not synchronized with NTP server yet. Possible connection error might happen." Now, I happen to know what a Network Time Protocol is, but pity the person who either doesn't or would like to do something about this error. Wait, I'm that second guy! Needless to say, if you buy this machine, you're best to pretend the "Premium Apps" menu choice isn't there. Be Zen about it.
Other menu choices make sense and work fine. There is a nice selection of configurations, including what I would consider a mandatory 24hz mode for 1080P.
Funny thing about the menu: When you're playing a video, you can hit the "home" button and you get a very nice inset menu down below your screen with everything found in the master menu screen... it works great and feels like they added it later (it uses color icons instead of the goofy metallic looking ones in the main menu) throughout the product development cycle.
I haven't tried to directly plug in any of my storage devices to it (I don't want to use it that way), but it looks to be very easy to do with many input ports available.
Oh, I should mention that I have it wired through my gigabit network.
For the playback, it has some nice aspect ratio, zoom and playback speed features. They all work fine. Did I mention fast forwarding works well? I get some studders at fast rates, but I'm pretty sure that's my harddrive, not my network or the device.
One thing that I like is the remote control. It's a nice medium size. Oh, the menu button requires you to shift your hand location to hit it... but you are mostly hitting just the center button and the back button. Like lots of other system, it has four mystery buttons of various colors. Hit one and you'll see system information with lots of chinese characters. Ha ha.
So, in a nutshell, this ain't no Apple device when it comes to the polish of the user interface. But, I've been playing with it for close to 3 hours now (I'm watching The Watchmen as I type) and it has not had a single problem with playback. Not a studder, pause or video glitch. No audio pops either, but I'm just playing it back through my cheap "upstairs" TV. So, to summarize: It does what I needed quite well Unfortunately, I have no way of saying how it would compare with any of the other devices mentioned here.