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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Huawei Mate 9
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Surface Pro 4
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart 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
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.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- TPMid-Level Java DeveloperNSW
- TPMobile DeveloperWA
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- CCSecurity Analyst - multiple rolesACT
- TPSCCM SpecialistVIC
- FTAndroid DeveloperNSW
- FTCitrix EngineerNSW
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- FTProject / Implementation Coordinator (Junior-Mid Level) Sunshine Coast LocationQLD
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)QLD
- TPAgile CoachNSW
- CCSharepoint Business AnalystACT
- TPDigital Strategist - Newcastle BasedNSW
- FTCitrix EngineerNSW
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperVIC
- FTFull Stack Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- TPJava DeveloperVIC
- FTSnr SOC Security Coordinator - Perm - North Ryde areaNSW
- TPBusiness Intelligence Program ManagerVIC
- CCADABAS Natural DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Project Coordinator - Banking/Financial ServicesNSW
- CCSystems Engineer (Infra)NSW
- TPService Desk ManagerVIC