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Review of Ibusbi Max MP3 player

Ibusbi Max 20GB MP3 Player

30 September 2008

An interesting but poorly designed MP3 player.

The Ibusbi Max 20GB MP3 Player is on the surface a pretty good player, but at a closer look, lacks quite a lot of the basic features that you need to make use of its 20GB memory.

It plays MP3s and WMA files and has a line-in capability and is expandable using an SD memory card.

The player has an excellent sound, and sports a touch screen to control most of its features. The screen is only moderately responsive and is difficult to trigger accidentally, so although there is a hold switch this rarely needs to be employed.

The display is a square mono-colour 128x128 LCD screen which can display six track titles at a time.

File transfer is rapid and the player comes with playlist editing software which is very poorly designed. File navigation on the player is a bit slow at the best of times.


NAVIGATION


Buttons


Navigation is done by a touch sensitive screen which has seven options: Up, Down, Forward, Back, Menu, Select and Play.

As long as you touch the correct point the player responds, but as it can take more than 5 seconds for the player to respond after a touch, things can get mighty confusing.

File Navigation


Music navigation is done by MP3 tags – artists, albums, tracks, year and genres or playlists.

You can go through a long list by selecting a specific initial alphabet letter, but like most aspects of operation on the Ibusbi, this happens at a slow pace. The touch screen decides of its own accord if and when and how quickly it responds to a press.

When browsing large lists of MP3s, you can scroll either at one track at a time or keep the arrow keys pressed to get a slightly faster scroll rate.

There is no progress bar and it seems to take from January to December to scroll through a very long playlist.

There is no way to navigate using folders.




DISPLAY


The LCD screen more or less does the job when it comes to track or menu navigation and displaying track details during playback.

The backlit LCD display has the advantage of being reasonably easy to read in most light conditions.


SOUND


The sound quality is excellent – and there is a small range of equalizer settings plus a customizable setting.

The earphones are comfortable and sound fairly good.

PLAYBACK


During playback, fast forwarding and rewinding happens at a variable speed.

It takes about 8 seconds to get to the middle of a 4 minute song, and about 1 minute to scan to the middle of a 1 hour podcast.

There is sometimes a 5 second pause or longer as the player moves from one track to the next, so the Ibusbi cannot really be used to listen to audiobooks with the standard 3 minute tracks as these 5 second pauses become eventually very distracting.

DATA TRANSFER and SOFTWARE


Data transfer and battery recharging is done via USB using a standard USB cable.

The initial charge is 10 hours and this gives at least 12 hours of music playback.

Recharging takes 2-3 hours, and the speed of data transfer is fairly impressive using the Jockey software which is provided.

The Jockey software allows for playlist creation, but this is painstaking work which requires that you search through the entire 20GB worth of files to find the ones you want, create a playlist to transfer them to and then sort the files into the order you want in the playlist, one track at a time.

The playlist order arranging cannot be done using a select and drag procedure – you select an individual file and then press a button to move it up or down a place.

Playlists must be saved before exiting the software otherwise all that work is lost.

This software is really quite inadequate for managing the files on a 20GB device so you can only realistically expect to use of a fraction of that storage space.

BATTERY


Battery life is reasonable. A full charge will give more than 12 hours playback.


Recharging is done via the standard USB cable. It takes about 3 hours for a full charge.



OTHER FEATURES & CONCLUSION


The player includes an SD card slot and has the ability to record line-in input and has a microphone for voice recording.

There is a section repeat button which allows for chosen sections of a track to be played repeatedly.

The player is quite heavy at 150g and has a sturdy angular case.

The most attractive feature – the 20GB of storage space is nearly impossible to use properly unless you have a huge number of albums with unusually accurate, consistent and complete MP3 tags.

The absence of a realistic playlist editor or the ability to navigate by folder seriously limits the player’s usefulness.

The touch-screen is a fancy idea, but like many other aspects of this player it is not up to the expected quality.



Plays:
MP3, WMA

USB rechargeable internal battery with DC charging option.

Unresponsive, Heavyweight, Dud

LITREV Rating 2/5

 

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