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The Player Rating Categories Explained

Category GroupCategory NameExplanation
AudioSound Quality The quality of the sound as played back by the MP3 player
AudioCodecs Supported 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
AudioHeadphones 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.
GamesPlayability 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.
GeneralBuild Quality 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/ survive.
GeneralManufacturer'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.
Included AccessoriesFM 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.
Included AccessoriesRemote How good is the remote? The remote must be a part of the box contents and not an optional add-on
Included AccessoriesCase The quality of the carry case supplied with the Jukebox
PhotoDisplay Onscreen How good the photo looks on the Jukeboxes built-in screen.
PhotoEase 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.
PhotoDisplay on External Sources How easy it is to display photos on external sources (such as your TV) and how they look once you do.
RecordingVoice Recording How easy it is to record your voice and how good the recording sounds.
RecordingDirect 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
RecordingFrom External Sources Ease with which you can record from external sources, such as from your mates amplifier as you murder Led Zep songs.
Usability 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.
UsabilityOther Features 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
UsabilityScreen Size How big is the screen? It can be big without being big enough, it can be absent without being missed (in some cases).
UsabilityGUI 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?
UsabilityGUI Usability 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..
VideoDisplay Onscreen How good a video looks on the built-in screen
VideoEase of Transfer How easy it is to move your movies. See 'photo ease of transfer' for more commentary on this type of category.
VideoDisplay on External Sources How easy / cool it is to display your movies on external sources, such as projectors.
Video RecordingDirect to Codec How easy it is to record direct to video codec, such as DviX or XviD. Not all video jukeboxes can.
Video RecordingFrom 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.
Player's Data
These two categories are fixed quantities based on the players' technical specifications.
Storage Capacity (GB) How much GB the player has. In simple terms more capacity is always better.
Battery Hours How many hours the battery lasts. Again, more hours between charges is better.
Your Input

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 result.

Style How stylish do you think this Jukebox is? Style is long lasting.
Wow/Envy Factor 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 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.

Rating exc. Battery & Capacity

The main fight results are skewed towards dukebox models with longer battery life and higher storage capacity. Generally you 'get more' with those types of players. The scores we have allotted for other features are in the format 2/5, but for these 2 categories (Battery and Capacity) we give them their full specification score, which means that a 60GB model scores 60/60 for capacity but a 20GB model only scores 20/20. That may look like the same score (1), but when you sum the total score for that model out of total available score, this method skews the result in favour of the higher capacity models, as in this case a 60 GB model would have 60 added to their total score.

However, a lot of newer players have much smaller capacities, but are much more feature rich, as they have, for example, colour screens and allow you to view pictures, etc. so in order to see how players compare on their features alone this 2nd score is given without the smaller model's storage getting trumped by a big galoot.

Let battle commence!!

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