Product Type: Kubik MP3 players
Newest Review: ... 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 ... more
Unfortunately Unbelievably Unintuitive
Kubik Evo 8 GB
Member Name: zoe_page_1
Kubik Evo 8 GB
Date: 10/02/11, updated on 11/02/11 (1284 review reads)
Advantages: Cheap, decent memory, lots of bonuses like video player, dictaphone etc
Disadvantages: A nightmare to learn how to use
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.
Summary: It will play you music if you can ever work out how to tell it to do so
|Ease of use:|