Possibly the best dedicated audio streamer around for less than £200, but it isn’t perfect
Philips has impressed us with its iPod docks in the past, so we were hoping that the Streamium NP3700 would follow suit and do the same. It’s a compact unit that should easily fit on a nightstand or coffee table and look fantastic thanks to its piano black glossy plastic and metal speaker grilles.
It’s also dominated by a resistive 3.5in touchscreen display that takes pride of place in the centre of the unit. It’s positioned at an angle, so you should be able to see it clearly from the sofa or in bed, but it can’t be adjusted. It’s fairly responsive for a resistive display, but the interface can be a little slow to respond at times.
Thankfully, it has a sensible layout with large icon-based tiles that clearly indicate what each function does. The only exception is MP3Link, which is a convoluted way of describing an auxiliary input. For the most part, it’s easy to read from across a room, but it isn’t exactly suited to long lists. Navigating through internet radio stations is a real chore.
Luckily, there’s a comprehensive remote control that’s much better for controlling the unit. It has all the buttons you might need, plus several more that are designed to work with other Philips audio equipment. You can also use the Philips MyRemote App for iOS and Android if you prefer.
The Streamium NP3700’s back-panel connectivity is rather sparse, having only an Ethernet port, 3.5mm jacks and a proprietary docking connector. The NP3700 doesn’t have an integrated iPod dock, but you can buy one separately if your MP3 player is the main home for your music. You’ll have to factor an extra £40 into the cost of the system, however, and it’d be much cheaper to use a 3.5mm audio cable instead. There’s no USB port, so you’ll have to put your music onto your PC or a UPnP media share in order to play it.
As well as local media and internet radio streaming, the NP3700 also includes Napster integration, so if you’re a member you’ll be able to log in and start playing straight away. There’s a voucher in the box for a free 30-day trial if you don’t already have membership, which means you can give the service a spin and see if it’s right for you.
Despite only having two 5W speakers, we were rather impressed with the NP3700’s sound quality and it produced clear mid-range and a fair amount of bass, as long as we didn’t push the volume up too high. The high end was a little too crisp for our taste, but because it was one of the only streaming players we’ve seen to include adjustable bass and treble you should be able to tweak the sound to your personal taste. Philips also included the Incredible Sound and Full Sound presets, which are designed to add more bass and create a more even sound respectively. They work well, but they still can’t compete with a full speaker system.
The NP3700 isn’t perfect. The omission of a USB port and limited internet audio services could be enough to put some people off, and its sound quality isn’t perfect, but it’s a real improvement over similarly priced streaming systems.
|Media Streamer type||audio streaming device|
|Audio MP3 playback||Yes|
|Audio WMA playback||Yes|
|Audio WMA-DRM playback||No|
|Audio AAC playback||Yes|
|Audio Protected AAC playback||No|
|Audio OGG playback||Yes|
|Audio Audible playback||No|
|Other audio formats||FLAC|
|Other video formats||none|
|Image BMP support||No|
|Image JPEG support||Yes|
|Image TIFF support||No|
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100|
|Wireless networking support||Yes|
|Minijack line outputs||1|
|Minijack headphone outputs||1|
|Stereo phono outputs||0|
|Coaxial S/PDIF outputs||0|
|Optical S/PDIF outputs||0|
|Total SCART sockets||0|
|Power consumption standby||1W|
|Power consumption on||6W|
|Warranty||one year RTB|