The portable video scene is getting a kick out of the PSP – with new firmware and home brew movie players, it’s proven to be an excellent portable video player without being overly expensive. I bring up the PSP here because that’s almost exactly what the Kingston K-PEX 100 portable media player looks like. Only, it’s less than half the size.
Being small, it fits very nicely in your hand and is a lot lighter, making it easier to carry around unlike the PSP. Of course, the PSP has a much larger screen, but the 2-inch screen on the K-KPEX isn’t all that bad. It’s a standard aspect, 4:3 screen with a resolution of 220x176, which is what most mid-level mobile phones come with, these days. The quality of the picture on the screen is good, but it has a very low viewing angle. This is important because you’re not going to hold the K-PEX in your hand for 2 hours while you watch a movie; you might want to keep it on your desk and watch it. Also, it doesn’t come with any form of a stand to let you do that.
The splash screen when the K-PEX starts up has some good artwork, but the main menu looks very bland with a gradient background and icons. Beyond that, there’s not much of a menu – it takes you to 'the function' directly. The fonts are very DOS-like and the interface beyond the first level is an eyesore. It works and the simplicity of the buttons (distinct menu, select and four direction buttons) makes it easier to get used to, than the Mitashi or the Transcend. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s ugly.
The K-PEX supports videos in its own MPX format. A transcoder software is provided to convert existing AVI, MPEG and WMV files to work on the player. Quality of the video was good, but the low frame rate leads to very choppy video playback. Audio quality from the speakers is decent, but it distorts at higher volumes. Now this isn’t a good thing because the medium level of volume is too low to actually hear anything. You’ll be better off using earphones. The earphones do a decent job, but purchasing better earphones/headphones would go a long way.
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