Not much is really needed to be supplied with the Cyclone to get you going, but you will glad to know that you do get a HDMI cable in the box, as well as a fairly basic remote control.
The right hand side of the Cyclone is where the two USB ports and the micro SD slot are located, and they allow you add further storage to the device or add a keyboard and mouse.
The rear is where the all-important LAN and HDMI Ports are, as well as the power port and where the wireless antenna is fitted – this is a fixed antenna that is not removable.
The front has indicator lights for the network status and power, as well as the receiver for the IR remote control.
Set up and In Use
Getting the Cyclone plugged in and ready could not be simpler, there is little beyond plugging two cables in.
Once then switched on you will be asked to choose how the Cyclone looks on your display, the default and best choice for media centre usage is Sumvisions own media view. Which looks like this:
It is a very simple interface which allows you to group applications under a single heading.
Behind the scenes in the settings page is the default Android interface, and it is here where you can enable the wireless, or change the output resolution all these settings are easy to find.
One such heading is media, which for this review I have placed XMBC and Netflix apps of which the former is the only one installed by default.
The interface for the Netflix app is inherently intuitive and easy to navigate.
XBMC was the main reason I decided to purchase this item, and was happy to find that it was already installed on the Cyclone.
I won’t go into how to setup XBMC as the XBMC Wiki itself covers this in great detail, but as you can see it allows you to filter Movies and TV Shows into their own categories. XBMC then is able to provide a full media centre experience for all the items you add.
Even though XBMC was already installed on the Cyclone, I was unhappy to find that it had problems streaming files it also had problems playing items in Netflix. My initial thoughts led me to believe that the issue was because I was using wireless. This was partly true; after changing to a wired connection Netflix began to work flawlessly, but XBMC still had issues streaming anything high definition.
Thankfully a solution was at hand. Seemingly the issue is caused by lack of hardware decoding support in the version of XBMC that is installed by default and by installing the latest version of XBMC, codename Gotham, HD files were able to be streamed perfectly. You can get the download by clicking here
You can use the Google Play Store to install other apps on the Cyclone or if you download the APK separately you can use the AppInstaller application which is already installed to install from the memory card.
Using some apps can be quite a painful experience as the included remote control can be pretty woeful. Angry Birds – the game every company seems to put on Android devices – is impossible to play with the included remote control and once opened is just as awkward to close back down.
The same goes for the Netflix app, choosing a film or TV show to watch from the main screen is quite easy, controlling the playback or trying to search for an item is nigh on infuriating.I was lucky, In that I still have my Qwerty Mini HTPC keyboard, and as soon as I plugged in the receiver a cursor sprang onto the screen making manoeuvring these awkward apps a lot easier.
Other apps as seen in the window above are quite plentiful including the default Android apps for Email, YouTube, Media playback, as well as apps for Facebook and Skype, although without a keyboard the latter would be an interesting experience. Plus using the aforementioned app store or appinstaller app others can be installed just as easily.