01.Eco media player
On an extended camping or sailing trip you may be without a permanent power source, but with this media player you're able to bring a bit of luxury with you.
The BAYLIS brand is well known for its invention of the wind-up radio and now they’ve released the wind-up Eco Media Player. It is marketed as an MP3 player, movie player, FM radio, photo display, text reader, recording device, torch and mobile phone recharger.
Unlike other media players, the Eco Media Player doesn’t need to be plugged into a power adapter or PC to recharge, as it has the option of a hand crank on the rear of the player and claims that one minute of winding gives 40 minutes of MP3 play time. However, it fell short of this in our test.
We put the Eco Media Player through CHOICE's standard MP3 player test. We checked how easy the player is to set up, rip and transfer music files, play music, handle, carry around and wear. We listened to the player with the earbuds provided, carried out technical audio tests and checked battery life. We also tested its recharging capacity by the handle crank.
While the Eco Media Player could be a great idea for those getting away from it all, don’t expect excellent audio quality when listening through the supplied earbuds. We found the sound 'muddy', with poor treble response, although this improves if better headphones are used. On the up side, it's easy to use and the wind-up mechanism isn't onerous if used for a few minutes at a time, though it can get quite noisy .
But in terms of the amount of power supplied by the hand crank, we only got 11 minutes of play time from one minute of winding — a result disputed by the manufacturer. So we re-tested using a second sample and got 28 minutes of play time from the same amount of winding, which was still well below the claim.
Please note: this information was current as of February 2008 but is still a useful guide to today's market.
It compares OK with the other MP3 players in our last test, with an overall score of 67% (55% for sound quality and 85% for battery life).
- Wind-up handle for recharging player
- Multiple features
- It ran for more than 20 hours on a full PC charge
- Flash memory of 2GB can be extended with an SD card
- Large and quite weighty
- Videos need to be converted before being played
- Only offers average sound quality
- Turning the wind-up mechanism for more than a few minutes can become tiring
- Only reached 28 minutes versus its claimed 40 minutes for one minute of winding
- Mobile phone recharge function only works for certain phones
- Small screen for text and photos