Wind-up media players offer the promise of living free of mains sockets, at least some of the time. Trevor Baylis' Revolution, the second in his Eco Media Player series, lives up to the dream by giving you 45 minutes of music playback for every minute you crank its handle. It'll even charge five different brands of phone (Nokia included), returning approximately 3 minutes of talktime for every minute of winding.
The main improvements of this model over the first EMP are the higher storage capacity (4GB, up from 2GB), a better design (piano black rather than rubberised finish) and modestly tweaked interface (slightly easier than the original but still laborious compared to an iPod).
Features are impressive. Music playback is accompanied by decent-looking video, an FM radio capable of recording and a line-in socket that means you can record straight from a microphone or vinyl turntable onto the player.
Sound quality is reasonable rather than exceptional, though we recommend upgrading from the supplied earphones - they sound poor compared to the ones supplied with the iPod range. Thanks to a drag'n'drop interface, the Revolution works with both Macs and PCs; theoretically it should work with Linux too, but we've not been able to test that.
All told, the Eco Media Player Revolution is an intriguingly exotic gem in a sea of me-too MP3 players, but its price makes it hard to recommend over the iPod. At £130, it's £20 more than an iPod Nano with twice the capacity. However, if you are regularly away from charging sources and want an MP3 player with a green tinge, the Revolution should definitely be on your shortlist.