well iv had my Nex for Over a year now and not really had any problems with it. it only gets a bit annoyed if you drop it coz it can then lock up. apart from that its really really strong and well made. its battery life is good aswell. its great aswell coz it uses Compact Flash Cards and i find them very usfull and good value for money. thats what the Nex is. Value for money. its cheap and great. the headphones suck though so youll prob wanna by some new ones for it. the volume can get very very load and the display is very clear. saying that though i cant say its perfect when i first got it i found it hard to hold without pressing buttons but after a few weeks you learn to love the layout of the buttons as its so simple and easy to use. design wise its very good but the battery compartment is flimsy so be careful with it. taking everything into account i would have to say that there is very little wrong with the Nex and i recomend it to anyone who is MP3 player hunting. a fantastic buy
I got the Nex II because I already had 256M CF cards from my digital camera so it made sense to use them. I don't remember much about its performance so it was probably ok. It locked up a couple of times - usually as it started up - and I had to pull the batteries to get it back to life. I upgraded the firmware but the unit still locked up, until one day it just never came back :-( This was within a month or two of purchase. The supplier made me try a few things which didn't work, then gave me an RMA but I never got round to returning it (very busy year last year...) So, very teeny and pretty but I couldn't recommend it. By contrast, I got an ugly-as-sin "mello" player on ebay for about £60 (no memory supplied). Does pretty much what the Nex II was supposed to (CF reader and MP3 player) but has never been any bother. Battery life outsanding too.
I have had my Nex 2 for a year now and use it every day. It has unbelieveable battery life lasting me around one month with two AA batteries. It is extremely modern looking with blue back light display which is extremely easy to read. It also comes with interchangeable covers so you can personalise it to your own like, so every model of it can be different. IT also only weighs 65 grams!! it is very light weight. i sometimes forget its there. The actual buttons on the nex are very easy to use. It has simple volume buttons on one side + -. Along side with a scrolling button so you can jog through your songs. There is also a mode button on the left side so yuo can customise the bass etc to your own taste and there is two options where you can choose the way your songs are displayed onscreen. For any new buyer this player is easy to use and wont take long to master. The NEX uses a usb port on your computer which is simple to use. I am not a computer whizz and i found this very easy to use as all you have to do is Drag and Drop files into the drive. SPEED I was also suprised at the speed of which songs are transferred to the player. It usually takes me around 1 and a half mins to transfer a 4mb song. However this is not the fastest around but looking at a cheap price tag, what can you expect. OVERALL This player is unique, cheap and extremely modern looking. Is slower than other mdels at downloading songs but that is made up with the extra features onboard.
If you want to listen to mp3's this century, buy something else. - Advantages: Value for money - Disadvantages: Takes a month to get it, after sales is garbage, dont buy it from mp3playerstore.com
For eighteen months I have been trying to persuade myself to by an MP3 player, my wife even offered to buy me one for my birthday, I turned her down in favour of some DVDs. No I like music, my tastes are fairly eclectic but I am not passionate about it. ~~~ WHY MP3? ~~~ So it is the first week in November 2001, in a month’s time we will be jetting off to the Philippines for a months holiday. We are flying with Singapore Airlines, who have an extensive onboard entertainment system, 18 hours on a plane is a long time. When I relax I like to listen to mellow music, soul, R&B, Classical even a little Jazz. With a personal stereo this would mean carrying several tapes/CDs/MDs, all of this would involve more 'crap' in my hand luggage. An MP3 player started to look like the best medium, I mentioned this two the wife and 'Oh good, can I have one too?' ~~~ Research ~~~ I took a walk around the high street, checked out Dixon’s; this is always a good move as it tells me the maximum price for an item. Did some research on the Internet, DOOYOO & MP3.com. I spoke to friends with MP3 players, one of whom recommended I download Cdex media ripper, which I did, ripped a few tracks and discovered I could not tell the difference between a track at a high quality or a lower quality. I would recommend you do the same. After all my research I came up with a list of criteria: - - Small & Lightweight, this saves space and baggage allowance - Good quality - Cost around £100 each - Expandable - Good battery Life - Maybe something a little different ~~~ Get a good deal ~~~ I also decided I would have better luck getting a good deal off the internet, I had been having a great deal of success on Ebay, so this is where I logged onto and I came up with the NEX II player. The Seller had several auctions for this player, I checked it out on MP3.COm and was impressed with the rating, top fiv
e star rating. As I wanted two, I emailed the seller and arranged a reasonable deal - 2 NEX II Players + 2 NEXKin Packs + Delivery came to £201.49 For those who are interested, I ordered from Josh of advancedmp3player.co.uk ~~~ Delivery & Service ~~~ I paid for the player using the NOCHEX system; I will do an opinion on this in the future. The money was sent on 30th Nov, the goods arrived 4th Dec. Unfortunately one of the players was missing a part, a clear plastic 'lens' that hold a NEXkin in place. I emailed the supplier who apologised and dispatched a 'spare' at no cost within a week. The 'lens' arrived one the day we flew out, unfortunately the post arrived after we left for the airport. As the 'lens' did not detract from the operational capabilities of the player, it was no hardship. ~~~ What is in the Box? ~~~ Instruction Book, The Player with clear plastic lens, 4 Single colour NEXKins, Silver Grey cloth case with belt clip, Headphones, USB Data Cable and Software CD. ~~~ What is not in the Box? ~~~ Two AA batteries and any form of storage media, yes I still had to go out and buy a Compact Flash module card before I could use the player. After testing the player with the MP3 I had already ripped from my CD collection bought my wife and daughter a CF module each. For eighteen months I have been trying to persuade myself to by an MP3 player, my wife even offered to buy me one for my birthday, I turned her down in favour of some DVDs. No I like music, my tastes are fairly eclectic but I am not passionate about it. ~~~ WHY MP3? ~~~ So it is the first week in November 2001, in a month’s time we will be jetting off to the Philippines for a months holiday. We are flying with Singapore Airlines, who have an extensive onboard entertainment system, 18 hours on a plane is a long time. When I relax I like to listen to mellow music, soul, R&B, Cla
ssical even a little Jazz. With a personal stereo this would mean carrying several tapes/CDs/MDs, all of this would involve more 'crap' in my hand luggage. An MP3 player started to look like the best medium, I mentioned this to the wife and 'Oh good, can I have one too?' ~~~ Research ~~~ I took a walk around the high street, checked out Dixon’s; this is always a good move as it tells me the maximum price for an item. Did some research on the Internet. I spoke to friends with MP3 players, one of whom recommended I download Cdex media ripper, which I did, ripped a few tracks and discovered I could not tell the difference between a track at a high quality or a lower quality. I would recommend you do the same. After all my research I came up with a list of criteria: - - Small & Lightweight, this saves space and baggage allowance - Good quality - Cost around £100 each - Expandable - Good battery Life - Maybe something a little different ~~~ Get a good deal ~~~ I also decided I would have better luck getting a good deal off the internet, I had been having a great deal of success on Ebay, so this is where I logged onto and I came up with the NEX II player. The Seller had several auctions for this player, I checked it out on MP3.COm and was impressed with the rating, top five star rating. As I wanted two, I emailed the seller and arranged a reasonable deal - 2 NEX II Players + 2 NEXKin Packs + Delivery came to £201.49 For those who are interested, I ordered from Josh of advancedmp3player.co.uk ~~~ Delivery & Service ~~~ I paid for the player using the NOCHEX system; I will do an opinion on this in the future. The money was sent on 30th Nov, the goods arrived 4th Dec. Unfortunately one of the players was missing a part, a clear plastic 'lens' that hold a NEXkin in place. I emailed the supplier who apologised and dispatched a 'spare' a
t no cost within a week. The 'lens' arrived one the day we flew out, unfortunately the post arrived after we left for the airport. As the 'lens' did not detract from the operational capabilities of the player, it was no hardship. ~~~ What is in the Box? ~~~ Instruction Book, The Player with clear plastic lens, 4 Single colour NEXKins, Silver Grey cloth case with belt clip, Headphones, USB Data Cable and Software CD. ~~~ What is not in the Box? ~~~ Two AA batteries and any form of storage media, yes I still had to go out and buy a Compact Flash module card before I could use the player. After testing the player with the MP3 I had already ripped from my CD collection bought my wife and daughter a CF module each. ~~~ What can you get on a CF Module ~~~ I used Cdex 1.4 to rip tracks from my CD collection. As an example I will use my Daughter's favourite track - Kylie Minogue's 'I cant get you out of my head' at 3 minutes and 50 seconds long, Cdex reported the track as 34Mb in size. I used the Windows MP3 Encoder and select 56KBit/sec 22,050 Hz Stereo. This gave me an MP3 file of 1.5Mb. At the other end of the scale, ripping at 18KBit/sec 22,050 Hz Stereo, gave me a MP3 file of 508Kb. As you see the size of the ripped file depends on the length of the track and the encoding you use. The three modules I purchased were: - 96Mb for me, 73 tracks from 236Kb to 2Mb in size - 64Mb for my wife, 38 tracks from 817Kb to 1.6Mb - 16Mb for my daughter, 19 tracks from 351Kb to 1.3Mb ~~~ The Player ~~~ OK thanks for reading all my ravings above, I will now get on and describe the player. This player originated from a Hong Kong based company called FrountierLabs, the UK is not a major customer for this company, so the player is imported by a number of small companies, or ordered directly from the company’s website - www.fr
ontierlabs.com The player is 9cm x 6cm x 2cm and weighs 65gm without the batteries, the front is finished in cream/white plastic with a silver bordered clear plastic lens in the shape of a classic StarTrek badge. Under the lens lived the 112 x 64 bitmapped and backlit LCD and the changeable skin (NEXkin). The back is finished in dark grey plastic with the battery compartment and media eject button. The Top edge has the Media Slot: this makes the player very expandable using industry standard Compact Flash modules or the new IBM Micro drive, potentially giving the NEX II 1Gb of usable space. Next to the Media slot is the PC connection port using a USB connection for the downloading of MP3 files. As this device acts like a removable disk drive, files can be dragged and dropped using the windows explorer, also you could you the player as a portable drive to transport other files, EXEs, Jpgs etc. The Left side has the Headphone Jack; lock switch - this can prevent the accidental pressing of buttons, Function button – takes you into the played extensive function menu, and the Stop/Escape button. The right side has the Jog lever – this acts like a cursor control key and enter key, and the volume controls. Other features of note are, Flash upgradeable firmware – you can download system updates specifically for CF usage or Micro Drive usage. Audio Codecs supported are MP3 and WMA – Flash updates take care of future proofing. ~~~ System Requirements ~~~ To use a PC to transfer files to the player you will require Windows 98/ ME / 2000, at least a 200Mhz processor, 64Mb Ram and a USB port. ~~~ Operations ~~~ Inserting the Batteries can be a little tricky, opening the battery compartment require you get you finger nails under the lip and flip it open, this can be quite stiff. Inside the compartment is a little ribbon to assist you removing the old batteries, be careful as this can cover the battery termi
nals when you insert the new batteries. Inserting the CF module can also be a less than smooth operation requiring you to exactly line up the guide rails. To turn the player on, press the Jog Lever on the right hand side. The Frontier Labs logo will appear on the LCD screen and after a second the play list will appear. To select a track, move the ‘cursor’ up and down the play list using the Jog lever. Press the Jog Lever in to play the track. Press the Jog lever again to pause. Press the Stop button on the left hand side to stop a track, hold it in and the message ‘Bye-Bye’ will appear and the player will turn off. The Function button gives you access to the menu system where you control the play mode – Repeat one track, Repeat All of Shuffle (random) play. Sound Mode accesses an Equalizer with presets for Jazz, Latin, Dance and Jazz. LCD controls allow you to select backlit on/off or on for 3 seconds when other function is accessed. ~~~ My experiences ~~~ I have been using this player for about four months now; I have used it on the plane, the train and on the bus. The headphones are comfortable and of excellent quality. Battery life is excellent, always use a good quality battery, I recommend Duracell. I use my player in the train/tube to work and home, at least an hour each way, and I expect to get two weeks out of one set of batteries. My wife did buy some cheap batteries from the market (16 for £1) and they lasted less than a day. Although I have not used a Micro drive in this player, the manual warns that the extra power requirements of the drive does drain the batteries 50% to 75% faster. To save on battery life, I invested in a USB CF reader, which makes updating my CF card easy, and I dont have to hunt for the cable. ~~~ Conclusion ~~~ I have found the NEX II player from Frontier Labs to be a great little device that has made my dail
y commute less of a chore. My wife loves hers too and always carries it when we go out with our daughter, she loves Kylie’s ‘Cant get you out of my head’. ~~~ COSTS ~~~ Nex II Play £90 to £110 8 NexKins £10 to £15 CF 16Mb around £10 CF 64Mb £20 to £25 CF 128Mb £35 to £45 USB CF Reader From £18
Ah, the power of Dooyoo to help you make those important consumer decisions! No sooner had I read SOOOZE's opinion on this one than I ordered my own! And now back to the plot...... One of the major advantages of a personal mp3 player, (and I'm talking here about the fully "solid-state" ones, not those that look like CD players), is their lightness, and their total lack of moving parts with a low battery drain akin to that of a pocket radio compared to something that also has a motor to drive. This also ensures that they a jog-proof. However, the major disadvantage thus far has been the capacity limits placed upon them by their in-built memory. Even though a typical reasonable quality mp3 file is around 1/10th the size of a CD-Audio counterpart (when sampled at around 128kbps) each track of a given selection can still need 3-4mb of RAM to store it. Therefore, a pretty normal 32mb of RAM is only going to give you the equivalent of a short album. Up until now, your alternatives were to buy more memory - frequently unique to the machines, or lower your audio standards to cram more files in. Clearly what is needed is a major hike in memory capacity without resorting to something that needs more battery power to keep a disk spinning. This is where the Frontier Labs NEX II mp3 player comes into the equation. This is a fully upgradeable device, using the same memory chips as many digital cameras, i.e. Compact Flash 2 modules. These come in many sizes up to 512 m.b. The latter would be enough memory to hold say, ten, albums worth of music. Better still, the Compact Flash slot is also compatible with the IBM Microdrive, a new breed of mini hard-drive providing new levels of mass storage. Current versions are the 340mb and 1gb drive. With one of these 1gb babies on board, your mp3 player can really come of age and still be pocketable and jog-free. WHERE TO GET IT <br>I've just bought one direct from the Hong-Kong-based web site at www.frontierlabs.com. COST The basic machine, devoid of memory costs $99, with a whole list of other memory option packages right up to the 1gb Microdrive, which costs $439 including the player. Even the basic model with no memory supplied comes with headphones and a USB lead. Carriage is a further $15, and takes about 5 days from confirmation of order, er.....provided it is in stock! The more aesthetic side of mp3 ownership is taken care of by packs of extra skins (or NEXkins as they are known) to dress up the mainly silver front panel to your machine ? you get a few basic ones in solid colours anyway with the basic order, but you could see this becoming the "Nokia" of the personal stereo world. IN USE - FIRST IMPRESSIONS Power comes from 2 AA batteries, not AAA's thank goodness. Battery-life with a solid-state CF2 module fitted is an excellent 20 hours, but this drops to around 4.5 with an IBM Microdrive, because of its need to occasionally kick a small electric motor into life (although not continuously). Ironic, isn't it? At one end of the scale you've got CF2 modules, some of which only have enough memory to hold one album, but with twenty hours battery life, but at the other end, you've got the 1gb Microdrive with a potential storage of 20 hours of music, but which will need its batteries changing 4 times during that period! Further on the down side, there is no provision for a 3v adapter to be plugged in. To prolong battery life, I would recommend use of a separate CF2/Microdrive USB card reader when erasing old tracks and downloading new ones, otherwise tired batteries can cause the PC to lock midstream, and oddly, the NEX 2 can't be switched OFF if it?s batteries are too weak - you are left with no choice but to take them out. The hatch cover needs some serious fingernails; so don?t bite yours of
f waiting for it to arrive in the post. I made the mistake of only using a pair of ordinary "long-life*" batteries to get the thing working, and load the USB drivers on the PC - they didn't even last long enough to handle all of this process, making me think the player was D.O.A. - so "alkaline" it HAS to be! * Well, relative to FLAT batteries, they are! The machine is compatible with both mp3 and the newer WMA format - further "flash" upgrades being possible via their web site as-and-when the need arises. Navigation is easy enough, provided that you bothered to complete all those ID3 details that you'd been meaning to get round to before downloading them, otherwise you are just presented with a folder and numbered tracks. First impressions of sound quality seem favourable, but of course, with mp3 files, you get what you pay for, as they are always going to be a compromise between hi-fi quality and file size. I tend to stick to the 128kbps quality level. With all that RAM on board, the machine can also be used for any kind of mass storage and data transfer, not just music. Frontier Labs assume that you are already kitted out with the means to create (i.e rip CD's) and assemble mp3, as they supply no software for this. However, anyone at home with Windows Explorer will have no trouble downloading files to the player, as it merely presents itself as a "Removable Drive" taking up the next spare drive letter on your PC. Obviously, everyone has his or her own ideas for using a personal stereo like this. Me, I'm going to plug it into the AUX socket on my car radio and use it as a "poor man's CD auto-changer". At least that way, I can park in alleyways without sweating that my in-car system has gone for a walk - the radio is only a cheap Dixon's own-brand affair! Another factor that steered me in this direction and will
probably appeal to others as well is the fact that when I bought my digital camera, I specified an IBM Microdrive, which for a large part of the year lays dormant waiting for my next travels. So if you've got either a Compact Flash 2 module or an IBM Microdrive not earning its corn, this could be the player for you.
About a week ago I suggested that this product be added to the DooYoo database because I was eager to write a review on a very nice MP3 player. And here it is! Frontier Labs are a Hong Kong based company that specialise in digital music devices. There is currently only one UK online retailer authorised to sell the Nex II but don't let that put you off. You can also order directly from the Frontier Labs website, but it will take a while for delivery of your Nex II. The basic player, without a Compact Flash memory card, will set you back a paltry £100. I ordered a 128MB CF card with mine which came to £145 with next day delivery (I haggled to knock the price down from £165.) How is that for a bargain? One thing that should be mentioned about CF cards is that they are a standard form of transportable memory storage; many digital cameras and other devices use CF cards, so if you already have one, it can be used in your Nex II. The Nex II is more than just an MP3 player; it can also play Windows Media Files and can act as a standalone drive that you can drag-and-drop *any* files onto (it appears as a virtual drive in Windows Explorer) for backup purposes or simply to transfer between PCs. It is compatible with the IBM MicroDrive which holds 1GB of data; now that is a lot of MP3s! It is connected by USB which makes it very easy to attach to your PC without having to shut down the PC beforehand. One thing to remember though - it doesn't have a standard USB connector that fits into the Nex II, so if it snaps or breaks, you will have to order a new USB lead from Frontier Labs. The Nex II supports ID tags which are a godsend when trying to find the song you want to play. It also supports folder listings, which help to keep your MP3 files easy to find. There is a great backlight feature which not only looks good but is indespensible when you are in a dark place listening to your Nex. The Nex I
I is tiny (not much bigger than a credit card) and very light (the 2 AA batteries and CF card are the only things that give it any weight.) You get 4 interchangable Nex skins of various colours (see the red oval shape on the Nex II image? That is a skin) which are fun for a while but not really important or neccessary to the overall quality of the product. The headphones, which wrap around the back of your neck, are of very good quality; you won't be needing to upgrade these unlike most headphones that come with audio products. The controls are a little fiddly to use at first but you soon get used to them. There is a compromise between functionality and space, but I think Frontier Labs got it right because once you have learned the controls, you will wish that all MP3 manufacturers could make their controls compact yet still fully functional. The controls include a graphic equalizer, shuffle/random mode, programmable mode and repeat mode. The sound quality is superb and the volume is more than loud enough for the heavy metallers among us. As long as you encoded at a bitrate of 128kbps or higher, you will be amazed at how good it sounds. And because the player has no moving parts, you can jog with it or even shake it until your hearts content and it won't skip. Not ever. Even MP3s from places like Napster and Audiognome sound fantastic as many of the users of these P2P file sharing services only encoded and download the best quality MP3s they can. For rare remixes and old songs you never thought you'd get your grubby mitts on, there is nothing better than connecting to some of the free file sharing services. Of course, there is Micro$oft's WMA file format which the Nex II fully supports and I recommend that you encode your own sound files via this method because a 96kbps WMA file is of the quality of a 128kbps MP3 file, so you are basically fitting more sound files on your Nex but at the same soun
d quality. An important point about the Nex II is that the internal Firmware it runs on can be upgraded via the Frontier Labs website. This means any changes to the player and patches it may need can be downloaded without hassle. A little tip: Many of the big record companies are now including blocking software on their artists CDs which won't allow people to copy their MP3 files onto newer MP3 players. The Nex II does NOT support this software so erm, you get my drift... ;) I hope that my opinion serves some use to those that are looking for a new MP3 player that does exactly what it says on the box and with a lot of style and panache. Forget the unneeded extras that many MP3 player have - Frontier Labs have created a stunning sounding MP3 player that is easy to use and can be upgraded indefintely via Firmware, can store any file type and can use removeable memory cards from anything between 32MB and 1GB. All that for less than £100. Outstanding value.