Humax Aura 4K Freeview Play review Page 2

A lot of the appeal of the Aura hangs on the integration of Freeview Play and the Android platform, and Humax keeps this fluid. The universal search function, with voice functionality, is peerless. Just ask for YouTube and the box immediately cuts to the app with barely any hesitation.

The PVR has three digital tuners, which means you can record up to four programmes at once, while watching an additional live channel (depending on channel/multiplex arrangement). Try and record five and you get a Recording Conflict notice. You can extend the recording length during a recording by hitting the R button a second time.

If you want to download shows from the box to a mobile device, Humax says this will be achievable through its Aura app, which will also let you set up new recordings, as well as stream from your box when both devices are on the same home network. Sadly I couldn't try any of this as the app wasn't live during my audition.

Humax's Kids UI is novel, and sure to be popular with families that have little ones. A breezy thumbnail-driven interface gives useful prominence to programme running times, and it presents what's on live, as well as on-demand content, and an appropriate Search function. It literally blanked me when I asked for Frankenstein (I wanted to see if it would serve up that Hammer Horror recording) but immediately offered a page of Postman Pat episodes when requested using the Voice search button.

In addition to the Kids area, the main Freeview Play home page has an easily navigable banner that offers access to curated Top Picks, TV Guide, and your recordings. The main Android TV home page, which will be familiar to anyone that has seen or used an Android TV running Pie, comprises rails featuring apps and channels.

As Good As It Gets
The Humax Aura has left me impressed. This is the PVR that Freeview viewers have been waiting for. It seamlessly blends triple-tuner Freeview Play talents with the latest Android TV platform, and is both lightning-fast and function-rich. It takes no time to jump from a YouTube stream to the protected kids' environment, and the PVR's voice recognition is extremely good, by and large understanding all search requests. The addition of 4K HDR and next-gen audio is also welcome.

If you're seeking a leading-edge smart Freeview TV recorder, the Aura is as good as it gets.

HCC Verdict

Humax Aura

Price: £249 (1TB)/£279 (2TB)

We say: This quiet-running Freeview Play PVR is slick and powerful, thanks to Android TV integration and a host of apps. We do miss Netflix though...

Overall: 5/5


HDD: Yes. 1TB (model tested – also available in 2TB) TUNER: Yes. 3 x Freeview HD (Freeview Play) INTEGRATED CATCH-UP APPS: Yes. BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds; ITV Hub; My5; All4; UKTV Play; CBS Catchup; Horror Bites; STV Player INTEGRATED VOD APPS: Yes. Amazon Prime Video; YouTube CONNECTIONS: 1 x HDMI output (v2.1); digital optical audio output; Ethernet, 2 x USB; RF loopthrough DIMENSIONS: 258(w) x 43(h) x 200(d)mm WEIGHT: 764g

FEATURES: Android 9.0 (Pie) operating system; Chromecast built-in; Google Assistant; Google Play Store; dual-band Wi-Fi; Kids Zone; NAS server access via Plex; Dolby Atmos/DTS:X passthrough; storage expandable via USB; Bluetooth remote with voice search; 4K HDR playback (to 60fps); quad-core CPU; record up to four programmes at once while watching a fifth (channel dependent)