Astone Xinc Ultra
- SD/MMC card slot, highly portable, external speaker, decent sound quality
- Confusing button arrangement, low-resolution screen, music not organised by tags
At this end of the market, you won't find another portable media player as full-featured as the Xinc Ultra. However usability needs serious work from both a hardware and software perspective.
Price$ 129.00 (AUD)
Barely larger than a box of matches, the Astone Xinc Ultra is a surprisingly full-featured portable media player. In addition to the expected photo and music playback, the Xinc Ultra also throws in video support, an FM radio, voice recorder, and even an eBook reader. Remarkable for a device that only weighs 42g and measures 64mm x 36mm x 14mm.
However, small size and an extensive feature set doesn't always a good portable media player make. As our experience with the iPod has shown, an attractive hardware design and intuitive user interface can be equally important - if not more so - and unfortunately this is where the Astone player loses out.
The Xinc Ultra is nothing special in the looks department, with a plastic silver and white casing that's more derivative than daring. A 1.5in CSTN colour screen takes up the top half of the player's face, but this only displays a limited number of colours and a low 128 x 128-pixel resolution.
Navigating through the various features and settings is confusing due to the inconsistent multifunction buttons. From the main menu, scrolling through the options is accomplished by using the back and forward buttons; when you're not in the main menu, on the other hand, you have to use the volume up and down keys for scrolling.
Content organisation also needs work. Even if you load music onto the Xinc Ultra using folders, all songs are displayed in one flat list, sorted using the track's filename. The 512MB of on-board memory is small for a music player, only storing roughly 128 songs, although this can be upgraded to as much as 2.5GB using the included SD/MMC slot. As with most budget, flash based MP3 players, there is no search facility for quickly finding the track you're after, which makes the whole interface even more cumbersome.
The music playback screen certainly doesn't skimp on information. Unlike the song listing screen, it displays the track name and album name from the file's ID3 tag, as well as the elapsed time, song length, song type (MP3, WMA or WAV) and equaliser preset used. It doesn't hold back in colour use either - if anything, it overuses them, with mish-mash of gaudy, non-matching colours all vying for attention on the screen. One annoyance is that you can't browse through music while a song is playing - going to the song listing screen automatically stops playback.
Transferring content from a PC can be done through Windows Explorer or Windows Media Player. Installing a driver is unnecessary as it's recognised as a removable hard drive. If you've got an SD or MMC card in the slot, this will also appear in both Explorer and WMP as a separate drive.
Picture and music transfer works well in either application, but videos need to be converted to a proprietary SMV format using the supplied SigmaTel Motion Video application. This supports all of the popular video codecs, and files are converted at approximately 128MB an hour using the medium quality level. The Xinc Ultra's small screen size and limited colour depth and resolution makes video playback more of a gimmick than a worthwhile feature, but converted files play back smoothly.
Unusual for a media player this small is the external speaker, which produces very loud, if slightly tinny audio. Sound quality through the 3.5mm audio jack is much better than expected for an entry-level player, even using the supplied earbuds. Six equaliser presets can be flicked through during playback by pressing and holding on one of the side-mounted buttons, and matching music to the relevant preset makes an appreciable different to bass and treble levels. Just make sure to flick one of the unlabelled sliders on the right-end side - otherwise, music will play through the speaker as well as the headphones.
The Xinc Ultra uses a non-removable lithium ion battery rated for 14 hours of music and five hours of video. Included in the box is a mini-USB cable for syncing content and charging from a PC, as well as an AC charger - a rarity for a player in this price bracket.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Apple TV will serve as hub for remotely controlling HomeKit devices
- Sony Smart B-Trainer headset gives runners vocal advice
- The iPod classic plays its last
- Apple iPod Touch pricing slashed by up to 25 per cent in Australia
- Apple shows off iPod touch, nano updates
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTICT Security AnalystQLD
- FTWorkforce AnalystNSW
- FTSolutions Architects - 10 roles availableACT
- CCTraining Content and Delivery SpecialistNSW
- FTSystems AnalystsACT
- FTSenior Java Applications DeveloperVIC
- FTService Desk Consultant - Entry Level / GraduateNSW
- FTAgile Project ManagerACT
- FTBusiness Analyst - SalesforceNSW
- FTAssociate Consultant - IT Project ServicesVIC
- CCUX DesignerVIC
- FTContracts ManagerNSW
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistSA
- FTSecurity Support AnalystNSW
- CCAutomation Developer - LinuxNSW
- FTLead DevOps EngineerNSW
- FTWeb User Interface Developer. Work Location - CanberraNSW
- FTLinux / Unix Systems AdministratorSA
- CCSenior Developer - Java - TelcoVIC
- FTSolutions Architect - Digital Technologies Financial ServicesQLD
- CCJava/ Guidewire DeveloperQLD
- FTTechnical Business Analyst- Systems & Network -Telco backgroundNSW
- FTSeeking all Java Developers!NSW
- FTMobile Studio Lead/ Mobile UX LeadNSW