capsule review

Kingston K-PEX 100

At a Glance
  • Kingston K-PEX 100 Portable Media Player - Black (2.0", miniSD Card)

    TechHive Rating

The 2GB Kingston K-PEX 100 ($130 as of 1/9/07) has a bare-bones look about it. The screen is large at 2 inches, but that doesn't lend the plastic black-and-silver case any pretense of glamour. And the numerous buttons don't inspire confidence that navigation will be intuitive to grasp.

For starters, the player requires two-handed operation. It's oriented horizontally, and buttons sit to the left and right of the screen, as well as on the top and bottom panels.

The player come without music organizing software, just the transcoder software for transferring video to the device. So as the player's Quick Start Guide explains, you must use the player as a USB host device and simply drag and drop music from your PC to the player. To find the music you want to hear, you navigate through folders. Not an elegant setup, but if your only desire is to listen to an existing music library on a PC, that may be adequate. Still, you'll find no options here for discovering new music online: The K-PEX 100 is incompatible with Microsoft's PlaysForSure digital rights management system and so does not support any online music services. The device plays MP3, OGG, WAV, and WMA files.

The player earned high marks in our audio-quality tests. However, these tests measure the sound from the headphone jack, not from the included earbuds, which were lackluster (plugging in a pair of Apple iPod earbuds improved the sound quality). And the earbuds were ill-suited for activity: Being significantly heavier than Apple's earbuds, and lacking foam covers, they repeatedly slipped out of my ears during a morning jog.

The miniSD slot is a nice touch for expanding the device's memory, though its inclusion is not surprising (Kingston makes memory cards, after all).

Though this player includes features such as an FM tuner, voice recording with a built-in mic, and the ability to display photos and video, its cumbersome navigation and lack of support for online music sites make it suitable only for music listeners with the most basic needs.

Eric Butterfield

This story, "Kingston K-PEX 100" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    This basic audio player has a fair number of features, but navigation is troublesome. Despite the low price, it's no bargain.

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