Astone Xinc Ultra

Astone Xinc Ultra
  • Astone Xinc Ultra
  • Astone Xinc Ultra
  • Astone Xinc Ultra
  • Expert Rating

    2.50 / 5

Pros

  • SD/MMC card slot, highly portable, external speaker, decent sound quality

Cons

  • Confusing button arrangement, low-resolution screen, music not organised by tags

Bottom Line

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.

Would you buy this?

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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?