The Sumvision Cyclone Micro range of media players have a well deserved reputation of being a reliable and cost effective way of playing a variety of digital media of your TV. The Cyclone Micro 4 expands upon this adding support for Miracast, external storage of 4TB and the ability to connect it to devices on your network. Making it a worthwhile purchase for almost anyone.
Sumvision have stuck very close to the design of previous entries in the Cyclone Micro range when designing the Micro 4. It features the same compact black design as its predecessors, with the addition of a fetching blue power LED and some slits for ventilation on the left and right. The Cyclone Micro 4’s footprint measures 79mm x 70mm making it very compact and is slightly thicker than earlier models at approximately 23mm.
I was delighted to see that the USB and card port on the Cyclone Micro 4 has been relocated to the side of the device. This means you could have an external HDD or any smaller flash storage device connected to the media player without obscuring the IR receiver or having unsightly cable etc protruding from the front of your setup. These ports are also slightly indented meaning Micro SD cars and compact USB flash drives will barely be visible regardless of the angle you are viewing from.
The Sumvision Cyclone Micro 4 allows you to connect it to your TV via HMDI (cable not included) or an RCA connection from two separate ports on the back and even has a SPDIF digital audio port. Unlike previous entries in the Cyclone Micro range, the Micro 4 media player also features a RJ45 LAN connection and a wireless receiver allowing you to connect to other PCs or hardware on your home/work network and play media from them.
However, it is the integration of Micracast technology that has got us excited here. With Miracast you can connect your phone, tablet or any other compatible device to the player and mirror anything shown on the screen on your TV as well. This technology works well for the most part, but you may notice small glitches appearing with scrolling text etc. With the current state of Miracast technology sadly it is not possible to seamlessly stream videos or play games with lots of movement as you will experience a substantial amount of distortion.
One thing that is worth noting is that the Cyclone Micro 4 has no internal storage (like the Micro 3) and relies instead upon the use of the Micro SD and USB ports on the side of the device for external storage. The media player has however been configured to run flawlessly with anything from the humble flash drive to an external HDD of up to 4TB, giving you potential access to an incredible amount of videos, audio or images.
Operating the Cyclone Micro 4 is incredibly intuitive. The main screen gives you six main panes to navigate from ‘Video’, ‘Music’, ‘Photo’, ‘Explorer’, ‘Miracast’ and ‘Setting’ which are displayed in a similar way to popular operating systems. Everything is very clear on each menu and whether you are setting the device up to be used wirelessly or playing some form of media, it really is simple. For media you navigate down each layer and are presented with names for all detected devices and folders until you hit the file you wish to play. No preview of video or images is provided prior to playing however, so accurately named files are essential.
I was impressed to see that when playing music, I could continue browsing at my leisure until I opened another file or hit stop on the remote. Like previous revisions of the Cyclone Micro the Micro 4 is capable of playing popular audio formats including MP3, OGG, WMA and WAV. The range of video codecs is equally (if not more) impressive and includes RM/RMB, H.264, VC1, WMV, MPEG 1/2/4, Xvid, BD-ISO, MKV, MOV, WMV, TS, M2TS, MTS, FLV, AVI, DVD-ISO, VOB, M2P, MP4, MPG and SWF. I tested a wide variety of formats and experienced no playback issues at all.
The Micro 4’s remote control is equally intuitive and features colour coded buttons for quick access to video, music, photo or main menus. There are also short cuts for playlist, Miracast, setting and search functions for ease of use.
With a retail price of £50-£60 for the smallest Mircast DLNA Media Centre in the world, the Sumvision Cyclone Micro 4 is clearly a great deal. The inclusion of new networking features and the new 4TB storage limit make it even more versatile. What the Micro 4 does, it does well and is very user friendly while it does it. If you are happy to simply ship around media files with a flash drive or SD card then you may be better off purchasing a Micro 2 or 3 and save yourself some money, but for a networked home that loves to be entertained the Cyclone Micro 4 is a perfect fit.