So years ago my first MP3 players were those great little Creative Zens that people had, I say playwers because after 18 months my first one crashed, losing 1600 songs, no reason for that....then I bought a newer, smaller one, that crashed after 6 months, no reason, 600 songs lost...annoying. Then I decided to join the IPOD crew...see my review a long way back called 'if you cant beat em, join em' - and after 5 years and three more IPODs , all of them through water damage and my last through, I suspect old life...it was nearly 5 years old- have slowly dwindled away and died. This was especially annoying as I was in La Paz at the time and had to find a new one quick.
So I went to a market and saw this, in Bolivia you can get stung buying cheap makes from Uzbekistan or cheap chinese knock off`s of Sony`s etc...so I went for this player because it was reassuringly expensive by Bolivian standards and a brand I could trust.
The first thing that struck me was how light it was , only about 50 grams compared to the hefty heavy Ipod`s that was quite nice that I could have it in my coat pocket and not even know it was there. But with this came the feeling that as I pressed the buttons on the 4 way control panel, they felt, and still feel a little clunky and cheap...but after 4 months, so far they work fine. The other thing I really liked was the cost, I bought it for £28 for a 4GB (it may be slightly more at home, I think its £35 on Amazon) and that is far cheaper then any IPOD.
Controlling and ripping songs is easier too- I can use any MP3 file from the net, not just WMA files exclusive to bloody apple...and this means that I have a greater range of sources to get my music from. Secondly, it means I can play the music on my car stereo which has a input for MP3 files, I was annoyed because at the time I bought my car radio I didnt know IPOD`s only used WMA files and I put the bugger in only to then find out that Apple exclusivity stopped me from using this function...well no more.
Its easier to rip songs too you can simply drag and drop files either using Philips Songbird (their version of Itunes) or you can do it simply on your 'File' management screen on your computer - either way...you dont have to wait for Itunes to A) Load up, B), Update with google chrome and Navigator and adobe reader and alsorts, and C) keep waiting for music to download and play because Itunes is more busy running script adverts for Wileys new song which I couldent give two lumps of poo about.
The battery power is lacking I have to admit and it does seem to only be able to run properly for about 0% of the time of an IPOD and this I think is due to the fact that the screen stays on 15 seconds at the least after you select something, rather then just 2 seconds on the IPOD...this canes the battery life.
Also, after two weeks of starting to put the music back on - HORROR - it froze and would refuse to get off of the loading up screen- I panicked, but after some internet research I found Philips own website resource great and downladed two different programs which both helped me to unfreeze the bugger and then to manage the inventory well- they were free, and easy to download...after some quick proceedures they sorted out problems. This was something I think would be harder to sort out with the apple and thier website is so hard to navigate and find things out on. Well my IPOD just stopped working, I couldnt even turn it on to then sort it out...so there you go.
And another thing...I forgot my apple log in...and when I have emailed them to get my log in details sent to me, it doesnt work for some reason and so I cant get back onto my old IPOD library and the 300 songs I had bought on it.....I fear that I have lost the ability to use them now...even if I do buy another IPOD to get them back....this whole APPLE world is unnecessary as I would not have this problem with the Philips as all the songs are now backed up as simple files on MY PC,not Apple ITUNES which I can get onto, it has to stop and for me this is the first step.
I've had this mp3 player for around a year now, having saved up some Argos vouchers, basically wanting a player that would store more songs. 4GB was actually a compromise for me, because I wanted to be able to put everything on (I don't have a lot of music, so 8 would have done) but I realised that right now that's not where my spending priorities lie. As it was, I paid only £3 in actual cash for this little device, which would otherwise have set me back £35.
Obviously this is no iPod, and being a Phillips, I was not expecting too much on the stylish front, however I did actually quite like how this device looked in the pictures and inside its packaging. It is a cute, long lozenge shaped player that widens slightly on the right. It fits nicely inside the pockets and is very light. The material feels a little plastic and cheap, but I suppose this is why it is so light and portable.
The front is a glossy black, bordered by silver grey, with a small display screen that lights up with blue LED style lettering when switched on. The brand name runs along the left side and on the right is a 4-way button for moving up and down and going back and forth (although the back and forth symbols are different, back being a u-turn arrow and forward being the play/pause button, as this is also its function).
Along the top side of the player we have the volume and the on/off/lock switch. The volume is a little awkwardly placed, and as the volume function does not lock when you lock the player, it is easy to accidentally end up changing the volume when holding it. I usually find that the volume suddenly goes up rather than down, but I guess this is easily fixed as long as others are not offended by the noise! To switch on, you need to slide the power button right and hold for a few seconds. I like this because it saves me accidentally putting it on and wasting power. The same works to switch it back off, and sliding to the far left locks the player.
Along the bottom is the port to plug in your headphones, or speakers, if you fancy. The bottom edge is the long edge, and I can never quite understand why they locate the port here, forming an L shape, instead of on the shorter bit where it would be in line with the player and the wire would be less likely to get squashed in a pocket, for example. The USB connection is inside the player, and you slide a button on this bottom edge along to bring it out. It takes a bit of a push, so does not accidentally come out, although I have found if you don't do it properly it can slide back in easily. I actually like this design because I hate lids, which you take off to plug into a computer and then can lose if you are as scatty as me.
I swiftly filed away the manual for this device, once I had gotten through the 'quick start' business. I won't really need to refer to it until I run into troubles. It is a bit lengthy and a lot of it I won't even read, because there is just no need. It's not the most user friendly manual I have come across and is a bit hard to follow, but it does use some pictures to help and actually most things you can probably work out for yourself easily enough.
On Switching It On..
I find this player takes a ridiculously long time to get to the point where you can actually play your music. I suppose I can put up with this, but it does annoy me because you should really be able to just switch on and play (as I definitely wish I could when stuck on a bus with noisy children/students). After showing off its name and logos it spends a few seconds 'updating' even if you have changed nothing. When you finally get in, you see the main menu, from whatever point you were at previously.
There's a 'Last Played' option, or you can browse through 'Music' to play by artist, album or just all the songs. I have been unable to work out playlists on this device and so just use the random function. However, there is a folder view, so perhaps there is a way if you create a folder in the explorer. Personally I think it should be a lot simpler and sometimes I just have to seek out the individual songs I want to listen to, which is again a bit time-consuming.
Choices of Settings
You can adjust the play mode to repeat the whole list and shuffle the list to play random songs. In terms of sound settings, you can change the way music is played with the equaliser, so that different genres of music sound how you expect, and there is a small range which is nice. Personally I keep this switched off as I prefer a full sound anyway. You can also limit the maximum volume, but I don't see the point to this as if it is too loud you can just turn it down. Perhaps parents might like this feature, though I reckon kids will work it out anyway.
The battery seems to last a reasonable amount of time, and is helped by the fact that the player automatically goes off when out of use for a very short time. This can be annoying as you have to keep switching it back on but the 'Last Played' function helps. The display does not use much power, but if the device freezes (see below) it may be stuck on for a while before it fades out so can waste a bit this way.
To charge, you simply plug it into a machine's USB port, even the television will do the trick. It takes just an hour or so to fully charge, but a short time, say a minute, will probably give you about 20 minutes play time to start with anyway. It is better to fully charge and use up the power completely however, so that it lasts as long as possible. The only downside, of course, is needing to be in the presence of a device that you can plug it in to, so this can be a pain if you are going somewhere and end up having to pack the laptop in order to be able to charge it (although this is a rare situation).
No extra software is required for this device. You can plug it into your computer, most up to date computers will install driver software automatically, and use whatever media player you currently use to find songs. You just use the synchronise option, and you can literally drag and drop songs onto the player. This is also very quick and usually only takes a couple of seconds to complete.
I am very satisfied with the quality of sound I receive from this player and the volume range (at maximum) is sufficient for me. All the songs play as they are meant to and I don't notice anything missing. Obviously this aspect is very much affected by the headphones you use however, and I have separately bought headphones that bring out the best in the music for their type. The actual headphones may be even better for some, however.
To be honest I stopped using these headphones pretty early on, because they are just not for me. My ears simply will not hold earphones and anyway I don't like putting them into my ears. So I use clip-ons or full head sets. These do look pretty standard and the wires would tangle easily, so it is a good idea to have a decent storage solution for them when out and about if you plan to use them.
This particular model I am using does not include a radio. Personally, I would not need it anyway.
This device includes a voice recording option so you can quickly dictate something for yourself, or even try your hand at a bit of singing! There's no need to buy a microphone, as this is also on the device, and appears as a tiny dot on the top of the player. It does feel pretty weird trying to talk into your mp3 player but you do get used to it. The recorder counts down from 5 hours, so I guess this is your maximum time limit. Not bad really, although obviously these recordings would take up space on the player. There is a separate section on the player dedicated to voice recordings, where you can go in and make recordings and view the recorded files.
Problems - Device Manager
I have noticed that this player does crash, or freeze, from time to time. It does not happen that often, sometimes after charging or switching on when it has been a while. It is frustrating however, because the only way I can find to get out of this is to press the reset button. This is a tiny button that requires a tiny pin to press it (a pen will not do) so if it happens on the go you may be stuck without a player for a while!
According to the manual there is a device manager software which you can download to update and solve these problems (even though no software is actually necessary for basic use!). I haven't done this as yet and not sure that I will bother, as it happens so rarely and the time and trouble to do updates to me is probably not worth it and might even create more problems.
I did need more memory for my music, and it is weird to think that I have continued to use this player for a whole year without really acknowledging to myself just how many gripes I have with it. It's only when I re-read what I have written here that I realise just how little I am benefitting from it. I didn't even fill the player up so could have kept using my previous Sony!
As it did not cost me much in real money and I have used it this long, it was probably a good enough buy, but would I pay full price for it? Definitely not.
Although I have an iPod Touch, when going on holiday I always get a little bit nervous about taking a £200 device onto the beach with all my music, videos and photos on it. Last year before a holiday to Malta I decided to buy a cheaper MP3 player to take away with me, I had a look on Argos and found the Philips Mix 4GB MP3 player for just £24.99. The player is available in black and white, I'd usually opt for white but on this particular model I think it looks a lot better in black so I bought the player and took it home.
When getting the MP3 player out of the box I was surprised by just how light it was- great for travelling, as well as being really compact at about 7cm by 3cm and about 3cm deep. The device has a very smart appearance, black headphones are also included but I found these to be good quality not the best quality and decided to use some I already had.
I found the Philips Mix extremely easy to use from the off, there's no cables to use as the USB neatly slides out from the side of the device. To use you simply plug it in via the USB port, the device is compatible with Windows XP and Vista, my Mum and Dad have Windows 7 on their laptop though and I had no problems with connectivity. To transfer music you just drag and drop songs onto the devices file, the player is MP3 and WMA compatible and I had no problems with certain songs not being in the right format. I put about 500 songs on my MP3 player, but it's said to hold up to 900 songs as it has a 4 GB memory which is plenty for me but many people do like to have thousands of songs on their device so not great for everyone.
When I first used the player I was pleased again with the look of the player, when I turned it on I navigated through the simple menu and began to listen to my music. The song you're listening to is displayed on a small LCD screen in blue and white on black, it's very visible and again very smart and stylish. There are 4 buttons on the device, a play/pause button, a back button, and two arrow buttons to navigate the menu and change volume, it's all very simple to use. Music play back was very crisp and clear, I had no problems with freezing or skipping and the music reached a good level. I have to say the battery life was exceptional, I listen to my music about 5 hours a day on holiday and I only recharged at the end of the third day as it was running a little bit low.
I have been very pleased with my purchase of the Philips Mix 4 GB MP3 Player; I'd recommend this to anyone. I bought the device for use while on holiday but I'd be perfectly happy to use this all the time, it's very smart and stylish and works perfectly. It's light and compact, great for everyday use or whilst travelling, definitely recommended.