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2008-01-07My review: uh, some generic Uxcell Digital MP3 Player

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[uxcell mp3 player]Uxcell are better known for iPod Nano and Shuffle knockoffs, and seem to be middlemen rather than manufacturers. This player was a lucky-dip eBay auction for a 512Mb, won for £2.01 including delivery from Hong Kong (I was a bit surprised the seller honoured the auction, to be quite honest.) It seems to be equivalent or better to the Inovix I got for sixteen quid more a couple of years ago.

The build offers a metal/chrome shell, the one I've got being a darker blue than the example photo, is 6x3x1cm and weighs in at 25g. The battery's an internal rechargeable (probably a 3.7V), which is my only reservation — but after a few hours of initial charging and at least four hours playback, the indicator has only moved one notch out of four. It also comes with mains-to-USB charger, with US pins and a UK adapter. Thus far I haven't been brave enough to plug it in since the US-to-UK bit looks spectacularly cheap (and when I do won't leave it unattended) but the mains-to-USB bit is an idea that deserves to replace all of the current fiddly adapter sizes devices have. The charge and PC connection interface is a mini-USB hirose style connector (charging from PC you can't listen at the same time, but listening and charging via the adapter may be possible.)

The OS is simple and carefully crammed into the five buttons available, which is helpful since the box/instructions seem to be for a different player. It supports folder navigation, so it's immediately better than the Technika/Tesco piece-of-shit I inadvertently picked up. It also has FM radio and saves presets... currently I've got Classic FM and Heart in there. Might look for BBC channels in a while. Sound quality is pretty good (radio reception isn't always perfect, but I prefer the vagaries of analogue to digital radio artifacting... and Heart is pure cheese, yes, I know...) It would be fair to say I'm not an audiophile, but I do tend to notice artefacts.

Extras include WMA playback, tempo control, recording and ebook reader / phone book functions that are doubtless very impractical. Overall though, I'd say this is worth paying for if you can find one and presume the battery life is better than the Apple KO players with big colour screens that are all the rage now. Picked up a second one (1Gb) for a fiver, in a slightly larger shell with the buttons all along the top — not as good a design, as the membrane for the keys on the right gets confused at times, but no major problem. It'll be the one that gets used to the point of destruction.

Now, some wandering through things that fell out of Google whilst I was writing...

Hybrid CD/MP3 Butterfly Digital Player Concept

This gadget unfolds and acts like a turn-table stylus to play a CD. I can see one or two safety issues with fingers and an open spinning disc, it's not practical to use on the move, and anyone carrying something as large as a CD can probably fit a personal CD player into their bag, but all those limitations aside is a really cool concept.

Toy - Dinosaur T-Rex Robot - Red Tiger

The design's a robo-raptor ripoff, but the selling points are funny enough I'm tempted:

# Completely Brand New dinosaur, it is on hot!
# Lovely and vivid Dinosaur Toys design
# Utter dulcet music and emulational sound
# Tail swing right and left
# Dancing along slowly
# Enjoy the Jurassic park happiness

Most surprisingly, dirt cheap FM radio USB tuners for PCs don't seem to exist — you'd think it was an idea that would've arrived, been superceded by DAB equivalents and the availability dropped to a couple of quid. Or at least under a fiver. Apparently not. Perhaps radio really is that unpopular these days versus playing your own collected music from MP3s.


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