Disgo Media Bank

What gadgets promise and what they deliver are sometimes two very different things. Can the Disgo Media bank deliver what it promises? We take a closer look.

As you probably won't guess by the name, the Disgo Media Bank is a 500GB media drive that will not only store your music, photos and videos, but allow you to play them on a television as well.

Files are transferred via drag and drop from your PC or Mac and you can even record from the television so you can store programmes/films for viewing at a later date.

Promising a simple interface and the prowess to beat Archos, Apple, D-Link and anyone else who has been occupying the media hard drive space in the last year, the promise is unfortunately short-lived.

Where do we start? Let's start with the build quality and design. Firstly the design: it is black and glossy, but the small box has unusual shaped top meaning that it is going to have to sit alone on your TV stand. There is one switch, the poorly made on/off button that feels like it will cut your finger off every time you press it. Everything is controlled via the remote control that looks like every other remote control that has come out of a Chinese factory where the company has gone for the "standard" remote control option.

The Disgo supports the ability to slot in a CF or SD card so you can access files on the cards; great you say, until you realise the card slots are around the side of the device not the front and so every time you want to view images or play music you have to move the device.

Ok, so we can get over the design problems and stupidities - well not really - but let's move on anyway. You are then presented with a menu interface my 2-year-old could have done a better job on. To call it basic would be an understatement. You get five icons: Movie, Photo, Music, File and Record.

The icons are shockingly designed, it looks like they have been drawn with MS Paint, and the interface jaggidy. I've seen better on a Hauppauge system 5 years ago and that was bad. Pressing the icons gives you an even worse, if that's possible, interface where you are presented with a ROOT structure of the drive and if you've selected Photos for example any images present.

There are no niceties to it, no flashy graphics or interfaces just a file list for you to roam through and seeing as this drive can store thousands of images, that's going to get pretty dull, pretty quick. Support for viewing your photos is limited to thumb or slide and even then you can only choose to set how long your slide interval is - Ken Burns, who is he?

When it comes to video recording there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It's a case of press the record button at the right time rather than anything useful like a timer option and even then the device doesn't support HD or anything near that quality. It only records 640 x 480.

And to top all of that off it’s also slow to respond from sleep as it whurrs into action to accept your requests.

Verdict

We have nothing nice to say about the Disgo Media Bank. It's poorly designed, looks cheap, the software interface is unexciting, the record function isn't that good, oh and it is pretty user unfriendly even though it is so basic.

With competition in this area heating up and market leaders like Apple and Archos leading the way, any company expecting to charge £170 for a gadget has to make sure it's good, very good. The Disgo Media Bank is the furthest away from good that you can get.