||The quality of the sound as played back by the MP3 player
||Basically the number and usefulness of CODECs supported. MP3
are a simple example of a CODEC (COMpression / DECompression files), but
since absolutely all MP3 players can, by definition, play MP3s its the other
codecs that matter for this category. Some codecs are better than others.
Our favourite as of Aug '05 is OGG
||The quality of the headphones. Manufacturers try to walk a tight line
'twixt high quality and maintaining an overall low cost. New 'cans' make
a big difference to most players.
||How good any games that come with, or can be downloaded, are to play on
the device. This is not dependent on the complexity of the game. Tetris,
for example, has a high playability.
||The durability of the player model, or its failure rate if you are a 'glass
is half empty' type. This score can change with time as more players fail/
|General||Manufacturer's Customer Service
||Things do go wrong. All the time. Its how you deal with things that have
gone wrong that dictates whether or not your customer service is good.
||This category is only scored if there is an FM receiver as a part of the
box contents that you purchase initially. It does not refer to accessories
purchased separately as we would have to score all available accessories
to be fair, which could give models with a lot of expensive accessories
and unfairly high score. All you are buying is included in the scoring,
optional add-ons are not.
||How good is the remote? The remote must be a part of the box contents
and not an optional add-on
||The quality of the carry case supplied with the Jukebox
||How good the photo looks on the Jukeboxes built-in screen.
|Photo||Ease of Transfer
||How easy it is to transfer Photos from your Jukebox to a computer and
from a computer to your jukebox. Technically it is possible to do this with
Jukeboxes that cannot display Photos on their screen, but this category
is only scored for ones that can. General ease of transfer to/ from jukebox
is handled in a different category.
|Photo||Display on External Sources
||How easy it is to display photos on external sources (such as your TV)
and how they look once you do.
||How easy it is to record your voice and how good the recording sounds.
|Recording||Direct to Codec
||A simple category that tells you a fair bit about their Jukeboxes' processing
power. Only powerful models can record direct to MP3 without going via an
easier codec (such as WAV) first
|Recording||From External Sources
||Ease with which you can record from external sources, such as from your
mates amplifier as you murder Led Zep songs.
||Connectability to Another Computer
||Some players can connect directly to any PC - e.g. the Archos Models,
others require a huge lumbering piece of software to be installed first
- e.g. the creative models. This category scores their ease of use.
||Other features is a mixed bag of stuff. It can contain anything from Alarms,
sleep timers, text note makers, calendars, that sort of thing. Extras that
make your life easier, but not necessarily associated with MP3 /MP4 playing
||How big is the screen? It can be big without being big enough, it can
be absent without being missed (in some cases).
|Usability||GUI Look & Feel
||GUI stands for Graphical User Interface. Windows Desktop, with its clickable
icons is an example of a GUI if yo have never heard of one. Its look and
feel is basically just that: does it look nice and feel nice to use?
||Looking and feeling nice are one thing, actually being useful is another.
This is where we scored the actually useful/ not-ness of the MP3 players
menus and icons and directory trees..
||How good a video looks on the built-in screen
|Video||Ease of Transfer
||How easy it is to move your movies. See 'photo ease of transfer' for more
commentary on this type of category.
|Video||Display on External Sources
||How easy / cool it is to display your movies on external sources, such
|Video Recording||Direct to Codec
||How easy it is to record direct to video codec, such as DviX or XviD.
Not all video jukeboxes can.
|Video Recording||From External Sources
||How easy it is to record video on to your Jukebox from an external source,
such as TV. Please note: this does not refer to how easy it is to 'make
a film' using a camera attachment.
|These two categories are fixed quantities based on the players' technical
|Storage Capacity (GB)
||How much GB the player has. In simple terms more capacity is always better.
||How many hours the battery lasts. Again, more hours between charges is
All the last categories are scored by YOU. The simple reason for this
is that there is a lot of personal opinion involved in what you think
about an MP3 player. Do you judge it well, and score it highly, or do
you find it lacking and score it poorly? The score is up to you and the
categories are wholly subjective ones that are too difficult for any one
person's opinion to be more accurate than another's.
It's important to be honest with these scores if you want to get a true
||How stylish do you think this Jukebox is? Style is long lasting.
||Related too, but a lot more ephemeral than, style is wow/ envy factor.
How big a WOW would you have just at looking at your new Jukebox and how
much envy would it engender in your friends? These feelings will diminish
over time and are not important to many people.
||Gadget Joy is similar to WOW, but we define it as the type of joy that
comes from using something really useful. Again these diminish over time,
but can be re-ignited by separation. E.g. if you have ever lost a remote
control and then found it sometime later, or lived without working taps
for any length of time you will know what gadget joy can be. Joy in the
use of the thing that makes your life easier.