JVC XA-MP101W MP3 Player review

2.5 out of 5
£130

For

Radio recording, four-line display

Against

No automatic sorting

With the MP3 market expanding faster than you can say boo to a ghost, more and more manufacturers are trying to get in on the action. Does JVC, the latest contender, have what it takes to beat the competition? Pocket-lint grabbed some headphones to find out.

JVC has launched two players with the same fairly small casing. The JVC XA-MP101W and the JVC XA-MP51. The XA-MP51 is silver and comes with a 512MB Flash Memory that stores up to approximately 120 MP3 or 250 WMA files, while the XA-MP101 has a 1GB capacity can contain about 250 MP3 or 500 WMA files and is available in white.

Within the space of half a credit card that is 1cm thick, JVC has still managed to cram in a four-line dot matrix display, the memory and space for an AAA battery which JVC states you can get 17 hours of playback on.

A fixed-level audio line out lets you share the love without getting headphone feedback and you can transfer MP3, WMA and WMA-DRM files to and from the player via USB2.0. There is even an FM radio on board.

That’s where the excitement stops though. The lack of automatic organisation on the device is something we thought we'd only see nowadays on cheap knock-off Taiwanese players and if you are expecting to find a song quickly then you can think again. Think MP3 player in the early years or hard drive with screen. While this means that you can transfer songs by simply dragging them on to the device via a PC, they all get put into the one folder unless you can be bothered to manually sort them.

In a saving grace, the player does include an FM recording option allowing you to record from the radio. It would be a great feature if the quality of the end recording wasn’t so poor. Additionally rather than saving the music clip in the music folder, the player seems to only want to save your radio recording alongside your voice recordings - which by the way - you can make via the built-in mic.

Verdict

At £130 this is woefully expensive compared to the competition. It might have a radio, and four-line display, but if you are going to struggle to find the right track because there is no automatic menu system then there doesn't see much point in having one.

A couple of years ago you might have put up with this, but just think, for an extra tenner you could have a iPod nano or a iriver 5Gb H10 both with photo support. I know which one I would go for.