Helios Labs X3000

Helios Labs  X3000
  • Helios Labs  X3000
  • Helios Labs  X3000
  • Helios Labs  X3000
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Fantastic DVD upscaling, great media streaming support

Cons

  • Frustratingly difficult interface to operate

Bottom Line

The X3000 is a powerful media streamer, but ultimately a frustrating one at the same time. Performance is excellent, but offset by a difficult interface.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 695.00 (AUD)

The Helios X3000 is simultaneously one of the best and worst devices we've ever seen. Its performance is outstanding, delivering some of the most well implemented features we've seen. At the same time, however, it's also, at times, almost impossible to control. The player seems to have a mind of its own, and is frustratingly difficult to operate, a problem compounded by its remote. Nevertheless, in the end this is a problem that can be negated with a few weeks' practice learning the various tricks of the player. The X3000's features, including wired and wireless media streaming and DVD upscaling, are of a caliber that's sure to make it a valued product for a long time to come.

Media streaming on the Helios, as with most of the features, is somewhat difficult to set up. After a few hours of playing around with configurations and setups, we were finally able to get the Helios connected to our network, the software installed and configured on a PC, and media streaming to the Helios. Additionally, we were also able to update the firmware, which helped to remove a lot of the problems we had when trying to operate the X3000. Once it was all done, we found ourselves rather impressed with the results. The process worked smoothly, and we were able to view videos and photos or listen to music from the PC on our TV. Fairly standard media centre functionality, but it worked very well during our tests, without any hiccups or problems to speak of.

The DVD player is one of the X3000's best features. With the firmware updated we were able to quickly and easily configure the player's output settings to 1080i HDMI, upscaling the DVD's image. The results were stunning. Hands down the best implementation of upscaling technology that we've seen to date, we sat through three full movies, awestruck at the quality of the upscaling and the incredible smoothness of the transition. After playing over five hours of upscaled video on the Helios, we could count the number of times we saw display faults on one hand.

Perhaps one of the more interesting features on the X3000 is its ability to browse the internet. While this is actually quite useful for firmware updates, we found it to be rather impractical for anything else. The Helios Media Portal website contains several links to things such as online TV, music, radio, news and podcasts. Unfortunately, however, we couldn't actually get most of these to work. Some simply timed out, others buffered for several minutes then gave error messages, and others just returned "Page not found" error messages. News generally worked well, taking you to a list of 10 or so stories from international news sites such as CNN and BBC. However, the resolution of our screen wasn't able to fit the entire website, so we were forced to try and scroll through the text - a frustrating and, at times, impossible exercise thanks to the way navigation worked. To be fair though, you're never going to get an entirely easy or pleasant experience when trying to surf the internet with a remote control. If you're yearning to browse the web on your television, a media centre PC might be a better choice.

Physically, the X3000 is very well designed. It's solid and sturdy, in a black case, and generally quite well laid out. The back sports a wide and all-inclusive array of connection options, including Ethernet, USB, HDMI, Component, Composite and both optical and coaxial digital audio outputs. Unfortunately, however, the interface is a little more complex with complex menus and a need to constantly change video output settings by cycling through over a dozen different options (although this is largely removed with firmware updates) make getting to actual video playback a bit of a headache at times. An unresponsive remote control exacerbates this, adding an extra layer of frustration to our attempts to get the player working.

Overall, the X3000 is a great networked media player, which delivers exceptional performance when it works. Getting the player to work is a struggle at times, especially before updating the firmware, however in the end it's not a critical problem, and nothing that a few weeks of getting used to the device won't solve. If you're looking for a solidly functional media streamer with great upscaling DVD support, and are willing to work around its interface, then the Helios X3000 is a great choice.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Skywatcher Dobsonian 8″ Collapsible Telescope

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Whodunnit™ Duo-Scope MFL-007 Microscope Kit

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?