This assignment recently came across my desk, and my head perked up all of a sudden. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of music. I can’t get enough of it. I probably spend a good 8 hours a day with a set of headphones on my head (which will be a review for another time…I’m planning on ordering a particular brand of headset, and I’ll give you the inside scoop when they arrive).
Music transforms me. I own thousands of mp3 files (all purchased / obtained legally, thank you – support your local artist), and music is capable of evoking the most amazing range of emotions inside me. So when I saw the chance to review an mp3 player, I jumped at the chance. As it turns out, the mp3 player from Holoplot in question – the X-Mini Happy Speaker – evoked an emotion in me all right. It evoked a sense of incredulity.
I’m not the most fashionable guy. I know that, and I accept it as part of who I am. When I find a t-shirt that I like, I buy a dozen of them, all identical. I like my technology to be solid, clunky, heavy pieces of stuff that I can take apart with a screwdriver and mess with. I barely – barely – survive owning an Apple ipod Nano, which is “artsy” enough (with its sleek design and retarded control wheel) to put me on edge; I only bought the thing because I needed something light to slip into my pocket as I worked out at the gym. But the X-Mini Happy Speaker?
Just look at it, for goodness sakes! Are you kidding me? Who designs this rubbish? Amazon is selling this thing for $80! Eighty bucks! Why don’t you just burn your money and skip the middleman?!
Okay, I’ll review it. But I don’t like it. It looks like it was designed by a mentally deficient chimp. Reluctantly – very, reluctantly – I’ll admit, it does have some positive aspects. I have to give it props for combining an mp3 player and a speaker into one unit. I’ll skip over the fact that the speaker always starts off at the loudest possible volume, or that navigating amongst the mp3s or attempting to organize them is, as far as I can tell, impossible. It starts, and it stops. The actual mp3s are stored on a flash memory card, which fits into either SD or micro SD slots on the device. It also possesses a cable that’s carefully hidden away underneath that you can unravel and hook up to another speaker.
Think about that for a moment. It’s a combination mp3 player and speaker. That’s what it has going for it. You can’t navigate or organize the mp3s, they always start playing as loud as possible, and the sound quality of the speaker is so awful that the designers had to include a cable so that you could, you know, connect the thing to a set of speakers that actually sounds halfway decent. There’s also a headphone jack – more bad news, isn’t this thing supposed to be its own speaker? About the only positive thing I can say about the device is that it collapses down like an accordion into a black, roughly spherical lump of plastic. Perfect for playing a game of rounders, or for smashing walnuts.
Functionality: 2 out of 10
Style / looks: 0 out of 10
Chances this will be a hit if American consumers have even one brain cell between them: 0 out of 10.
Don’t waste your money. By all means, buy music, and enjoy it. Just don’t try to be artsy and edgy by popping out this device at a social gathering. You’ll look like an idiot, and I’m beginning to suspect that was the designers secret agenda all along. Fail.