The overall playback is very fast. Starting or stopping a video happens almost instantly and functions like time seek, fast forward or next item on playlist are also very fast. 2D PGS subtitles (format which is used for Blu-rays) are displayed correctly and the forced flag is honored as well.
The only problem with regular playback is that the default flag in mkv is ignored. The Solo 4K decides from the selected language option in the settings menu which language will be played. This can be problematic in some cases:
Take a concert for example which normally uses the same language for the different audio formats. The first track might a PCM stereo whereas the second track is DTS-HD MA 5.1 with a default flag. In this case the Solo 4K will choose the PCM track and not the DTS-HD MA audio.
The picture above shows the info bar displayed while playback for simple playback (everything but DVD and BD menu). On the plus side are the detailed information about the video aspects of the file as well as the output format. A nice addition is the information about the remaining time. That said, a visual representation of the times would be nice, something similar to the full menu playback.
On the negative side is the fact that the information about bitrate takes several seconds to show information at all, and even then it is not very accurate which can also be seen in the picture. Furthermore, there is no information about the audio of the displayed files whatsoever. This should be changed in the very near future since this is information is rather essential.
Another minor bug which can be seen in the above picture is that the screenshot function does not capture the video, just the GUI elements.
In general, the Solo 4K has no problems with the usual videos ranging from BD remuxes, HDTV caps, iTunes or webrip 720p/1080p video or HD audio. One issue that remains is that Dolby TrueHD will result in dropouts when pressing the info button. Sadly, MVC inside MKV is not supported so that the only solution for proper 3D is to use .iso. The SoC is able to support that so that Dune should implement this feature in a FW update.
The GUI in general is very responsive and also displayed natively in 1080p on the JVC X35. There are different skins to choose from and the file explorer can also be tuned to the users liking, from list view to a grid of icons. The background of the home screen as well as file explorer is changeable, too.
This is a different skin and you can see the different options how the user can customize it:
The home screen allows you to scroll horizontally and select the main items: As you can see in this picture there is an Android icon which should launch Android. Unfortunately, this feature is still missing, although it is clearly listed in the specifications:
This is the sources menu which shows network paths and USB media. It shows everything where you can get your media from:
The following picture shows the menu while playback where it is possible to choose playlists, change the audio tracks or subtitles among other items:
View of audio tracks: “DTS-HD MA 2.0” is the name of the audio track and “DTS HD MA stereo DEU” is identified by the Solo 4K:
This image shows information of the chapters which are displayed correctly and can be started directly from this menu:
Subtitles can be adjusted and shifted vertically which might be important for people with a 21:9 screen:
The Solo 4K has a built-in receiver for terrestrial (DVB-T and T2) signals so that it is possible to watch free TV programs in certain countries like Germany. However, I was not able to test this feature because the coverage in my area is not really good and the massive concrete of the place where I live in doesn’t help to receive a singal, either. In any case you will need a passive or active antenna in order to receive those signals.
Wi-Fi access point:
The Solo 4K offers the option to set it up as a Wi-Fi router: If connected via LAN it creates a Wi-Fi signal on its own and gives the network/internet access it receives from the LAN to its own Wi-Fi network. This might be important in the case you have connected the Solo 4K via LAN to stream your media but your Wi-Fi Signal is too weak to get a signal to your tablet or smartphone. In this case you can create the access point and be able to have Wi-Fi coverage in your room. This feature was tested and worked flawlessly. Keep in mind that the unit needs to have a static IP in order for this to work, dynamic IP settings won’t allow you to setup the access point.
The Solo 4K is the first Z-Wave certified media player which allows you to control other Z-Wave certified devices. As of writing, it is the only player to feature this technology. The way this is supposed to work is that it doesn’t only act as a device which can be controlled by Z-Wave but rather a device which can control all those Z-Wave certified devices in your home. This sounds like a really awesome feature but I was unable to explore it due to the fact that I don’t have any Z-Wave certified devices to test it with.
The case is very small and made from plastic which features a glossy finish on the side. A red LED indicates that the unit is turned off whereas a blue LED is activated while the device is operating. Unfortunately, the Solo 4K comes with a fan installed. Luckily, this fan is rather silent and can also be disabled in the menu. There are three settings to choose from: activated, deactivated or auto. Strangely the auto function seems to always activate the fan, even in a 20 degrees Celsius basement. In case the fan bothers you, just deactivate it. Although it shouldn’t be done in case a hard drive is installed.
It is also possible to mount the Solo 4K on a wall and the clips to do so are provided in the package as well.
The remote is a little bit too thin and doesn’t sit comfortable in the hand since it’s not formed ergonomically. The buttons have a good point of pressure, give a clicking sound when pressed and are positioned well. Sadly, the remote does not offer backlit. That said, the remote is certainly not bad, but also doesn’t stand out from the crowd.
Some more settings:
The full BD menu capabilities work surprisingly well and will be a welcome addition for people who value this features. The Sigma SoC delivers not only a great picture quality which easily beats Qdeo but also has enough power in order to beat the BD loading performance of higher end BD players as well and make navigating the GUI a fast experience. Overall, this is a good device for people who value good picture and audio quality while being super easy to setup. Sadly, there are still some issues that remain, ranging from missing Android, no 3D subtitles and some problems I encountered with 3D.iso playback.
I will update this thread accordingly in case of fixes.