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    3 Reviews
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      11.01.2012 12:09

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      A cheap player with good features still..

      I was given this mp3 player from a girlfriend of mine some months ago, and it`s been a great gift and a good mp3 player, at least for basic needs and basic use. In the time of iPods and Zens and such, this Kubik fails to impress all that much, but as an mp3 player, it really isn`t a bad choice! Recently, I have used this Kubik mostly for when travelling with the bus or train, or when jogging and hiking, as it`s very light and small, and therefore also practical for bringing with you wherever you go... I am not however overly extatic about the design, as it`s white and pink color scheme is a bit too feminine and girlish for me, but then again, it`s the inside that counts, and my Kubik Evo plays my albums and tracks with good and balanced audio quality and is easy to use in every aspect of its features. For instance, when dragging music from my computer onto this mp3-player, I only click on my computer, then click on this device and start transferring tracks from my computer onto the player. This is very easy to do and you need not a fancy, complicated program downloaded to do this. I would therefore say that this is a great mp3-player for those finding the iPod stuff a bit too moddern and difficult to use, as this is very basic, standard and easy in every way.

      If you wish, you can also listen to audio books and watch AVI video clips on this player, just make sure you don`t spend all of the 8 GB capacity on videos, as every clip takes up much more room than entire albums of music. The quality of watching video clips is not superb, but pretty good considering this was a player I only paid 34.99 for. Products from Apple and Zen are very expensive, and though this isn`t a perfect media player, it`s doing a very good job considering its reasonable price tag.

      When fully charged, I can listen to music for about 15 hours before it needs to be recharged, and for my use, this is perfectly good enough.

      Not perfection, but more than good enough.

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    • More +
      12.06.2011 08:30
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      1 Comment

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      Purchase an iPod

      Some time back, I had to get myself a new MP3 player. I thought of buying an iPod, but previously I'd spent quite a fortune on several of those, and none of them lasted very long for some reason, and this put me off. I'd also tried to buy some cheap players before, but the problem I had with most of these was that they had very poor displays and most of them had annoying filing systems. I wanted something that would be the best of both worlds; cheap but functional.

      While on Amazon some time back, I came across the Kubik Evo MP3 player, and I was immediately hooked. I decided to buy the 8GB model, as it's the size that I'm most used to and will fit most of my favorite music. This particular music player is medium sized; it fit very well in the palm my hands. It also weighs 35g, meaning that it's so light that I never feel it in my pocket. I loved this particular aspect about it as I don't like carrying around electronics that are easy to spot and thus become prey for thieves. Another feature about it that trumps it over most other media players is the fact that it also has a Micro SD slot, meaning that one can expand the memory if needed.

      The package came with a user manual, earphones and a USB charger and mains adaptor. The first time I got it, the instruction manual said that I had to charge it for several hours, and I put mine on charge for six hours. After this, it used to charge up very quickly, and a single charge could give me around 20 hours of playback before draining the battery. The one feature that I found annoying about this player was the fact that it could never remember the song I was playing when I switched it off. Whenever it's switched on, it goes back to the main menu, and one has to find their way back through the folders to find the particular song they were listening to before in order to continue listening to it. However, this flaw is partially made up for by the fact that it has bookmarks for podcasts, meaning that you can easily find where you left off, and not have to start listening to podcasts all over again.

      Adding music onto this player was a breeze as it doesn't require any software to do it; it works on it's own. Depending on how one sets it up, you may either have to look for it under my computer just as you would a normal memory stick, or it may open automatically when you plug it into the USB port. Once open, however, adding music is just a matter of dragging and dropping files to the device. I prefer to put my music in relevant folders, as I find that this way it's easier to find music by artist, and generally I just find it much neater. It is also possible to make play-lists on this device the same way: dragging and dropping the files you want onto the play list. I found it very easy to manage the files on this, and I think that anyone who is used to using Windows (or just using a computer for that matter) would have no problem with it. There's nothing technical with it, it was all just a breeze. This player has folders for music, videos, photos and e Books, and it makes it very
      easy to customize these in any way you like. For example, you can have nested folders (folders within folders). The only problem I had while transferring music to this device was finding the music on my computer, since I had been using iTunes and I had let it arrange my music for me so it was all very obscurely filed.

      Despite it being a small device, I found this device to have buttons that were usable. I could press the buttons with my fingers instead of having to tap them using my nails, and it was very comfortable using them. However, the labeling on these buttons wasn't very good; the buttons have multiple functions, but only one of the multiple functions of each button is displayed, so sometimes operating this was a hit and miss affair. However, the problem that I found worst in this player was how unintuitive it was. It was very frustrating to use especially in the beginning, when wanted to change the volume and ended up skipping to the next track, for example. Also, sometimes it takes so long to do very basic operations such as moving from one folder to another. With patience, it might be possible to use this player without losing your cool but unfortunately patience is a virtue that I can't say I'm proud to have. To be very honest, I think the user interface on this device could be
      massively improved.

      The sound quality of this player can be described as adequate. I don't use expensive earphones on it, but all the same I have had no problems hearing lyrics on this. I never have to turn up the volume; it's always at a comfortable level and I can't complain about that. This player also happens to have an FM radio which I found to be very good, much better than most I have used before. It also has other features such as games, but I generally don't use these as I find that they can easily get me very annoyed. This is mainly because of the user interface issue, which makes it very difficult for me to control the game.

      As a plain music player, I use this device a lot but using it as anything else is a bit difficult. I think that a lot of work didn't go into designing this, and as a result it has a lot of flaws in terms of functionality. Unless these are addressed, I would be very cautious about recommending this, as sometimes I myself would regret not having gotten an iPod in the first place. If you have patience and can tolerate the inconsistencies in design, then this may well be a cheap but adequate music player for you. Otherwise, I'd advise that you stay away from it.

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      • More +
        10.02.2011 17:08
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        It will play you music if you can ever work out how to tell it to do so

        I needed a new MP3 player and while I was going to buy another iPod, the recollection that I'd spent over £250 on them in recent years, and didn't have a still working one to show for my troubles, put me off. I've also had cheap models before, but they annoy me with their diddy displays and lack of proper filing system, so I wanted something sort of in between.

        I was, as always, on Amazon spending Dooyoo vouchers, and came across this. I'm such a girl. The fact that it was pink and white won me over, and though I did still check the specs, I knew it would be a good choice.

        The Kubik Evo is a medium sized MP3 player. It fits in the palm of my hand, but only just. It is rectangular like an iPod, and like the Apple staple, also has a clear colour display as well as navigation keys. At 1cm deep and weighing just 35g it is small enough and light enough to stick in a pocket without that tell tale "please come and steal my expensive phone/player/gadget" bulge.

        I bought the 8GB model as that's the size I'm used to, and I know it's big enough for me. The Evo comes in different sizes, and also has a Micro SD slot, so you can expand the memory should you wish. In the box along with the player I received an instruction booklet, some earphones and a USB charger with a mains adaptor. I'm not used to being able to charge MP3 players with a plug, so this was a nifty idea for me. That said, I'm unlikely to use it much as I'm out of the country a lot, and my computer is almost always on anyway, so I can charge it through that. The biggest bonus for me, though, was that it didn't require batteries. The saving made when I bought a cheap player in Mexico was quickly offset by the price of the batteries it ate its way through.

        The instructions say you must charge it for a few hours initially, so I obeyed. After that it doesn't take as long to recharge, and will allow for up to 20 hours of playback when fully charged. I say 'up to' as although they don't explicitly state this, I suspect that it will be reduced if you use it for lots of short periods, as switching it on and off also takes power. One thing I do like, though, is that it has an on/off button, so you don't have to wait for it to power down itself. Correspondingly, a less useful feature is its inability to remember what you are listening to: each time you switch it on, it goes back to the main menu, so you have to navigate back to where you were. It wins a few points back, however, for bookmarking your place in podcasts, so you don't have to start listening again from the beginning.

        Once charged, I wanted to add some music. This is easy as there is no specific software needed (like iTunes) and it just works in normal Windows Explorer. Depending on your settings, it either opens automatically or you have to locate it in My Computer. Then you simply drag and drop your files. You can either bunch them all together or, as I prefer to do, file them neatly. So, I have a folder called 'Podcasts' where I put said downloads, while I store my music separately. You can also make playlists in the same way, grouping your favourite songs together in an order you like and putting them in a suitably named folder. It is really simple to do if you're used to general Windows filing, and doesn't take any time at all to copy your files across. The player comes with folders for Music, eBooks, Photos and Videos, but as I've said you can customise the contents of these any way you like, and have folders within folders within folders. The part that used to take me longest was locating the files I wanted to move across (i.e. finding where my iTunes library was actually stored on my computer) but I solved this by sticking a shortcut on my desktop.

        Despite its small stature, the player has decent sized buttons that you can prod with a finger rather than having to tap with a nail. There are 5 buttons which are labelled really unhelpfully. By this I mean that they do do what they say on them, but they have other functions too. My main issue with this player is how unintuitive it is. It's not just unlike iPods, but also unlike any other brand I've used before, and I got very frustrated at the beginning when I'd be trying to turn up the volume and accidentally skip to the next track and so on. Even now it sometimes takes me a while to move up or down a level, e.g. out of the folder I'm in and into another one. If you pay attention it's doable, but they really haven't made it user friendly, and you often have to remove it from a pocket or bag to adjust it properly. For example, to turn up the volume you have to make sure it's on the volume toggle, and the only way to do this is to look at the screen and see if the volume bit has turned pink - there is simply no way of doing this without having it right in front of you, and I think that's a design flaw. You might expect to have to look at it to choose a new song to listen to or similar, but not for something as basic and uncomplicated as upping the sound.

        Speaking of sound, I have found the quality with this player to be perfectly adequate. I do not use expensive headphones, and am currently using some which cam free on the plane, but I have no problems hearing lyrics on this. The only reason I have to turn the sound up or down is when I switch between songs and podcasts, as the latter are often a bit quieter, when really I need them to be louder if I am to catch all the News Quiz jokes or all of Chris Moyles' rants.

        As you'll have gathered, I mainly use this player for songs, but it does have other features. The FM radio can store up to 30 preset stations which is more than I would ever listen to. The reception on it is quite good too - better than some of those naff personal radios you get in pound shops.

        While it has no camera feature, the player can store photos though it's not something I've ever thought to use it for, as I tend to have my phone and proper camera with me anyway, both of which take as well as store pics. As you'd expect, the quality of the display is not stunning, but you can generally get the gist of whether you're looking at a pizza or a person (at the moment, I have far more photos of pizza than of people in my possession).

        The video player accepts films in AVI format, but since these would have a massive impact on the amount of storage space used, again, I've not chosen to use this feature. A quick investigation proved it was simple enough to use and the sample clips included are watchable, even if the display quality is a bit grainy. You wouldn't want to watch a feature film on it, but I suppose it could cope with the odd YouTube clip.

        You can store eBooks on here but the screen is so small you'd barely get 10 words on it at a time. I went in to this bit to see what, if any, samples had come with the player, and was intrigued to find the heading "The Complete Works of Shakespeare". I clicked one further, and got the categories of tragedy, comedy, poetry and history...but all were empty. It just seemed a little weird - why go to that much trouble to set up empty display folders? Why even bother with an eBooks feature in the first place? I'm sure I can't be the only person who thinks it's a waste of space on a player like this.

        The player includes a Dictaphone allowing you to record notes to yourself. Or, y'know, you could just write on your hand like the rest of us.

        I like this player when I use it simply, for listening to music on my commutes to classes, but anything else can get me a little riled. Take the games feature, for example. I can click into it and find Tetris, but to return to the main menu I can't press the "Vol" key they way I normally would, as that drops the Tetris piece..instead I have to hold the "M" key down until it goes back. There's a lot of inconsistency with the functions which makes it a lot more troublesome than it should be.

        My view is that not enough thought went into the design of this model. It has everything you could want, and more, they're just not in logical, easy to find places. Another example? If you want to set it to shuffle, repeat one or repeat all, you have to come out of the Music section and go into the System one. Where's the sense in that?

        Overall I am going to persevere and get to like this player, if only so as not to have sent £35 tumbling down the drain. It is reliable and efficient for playing music, the thing I bought it for, but if I tried to use all the different functions on a daily basis, I think it would drive me mad. Considering it's less than a third the price of a comparable iPod, it is value for money in a lot of respects, but factor in the hassle of learning to use it, and it's not quite the bargain I was hoping for.

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