Known for its various products such as the Ocean Scooter, IsoDrive, Maestro Series and i-Fusion speakers, Astone, an Australian lifestyle manufacturer expands its presence worldwide by introducing its digital A/V players to the market. One of the newer products in their line-up is the Astone Xinc Ultra Digital A/V Player - a music player, video library, and a photo viewer in one attractively diminutive gadget.
The Xinc Ultra should not have any problems attracting users with its aluminum-made frame and lightweight construction. Chain up a lanyard and you can show off your Xinc Ultra as an accessory. In fact, the 42g Xinc Ultra can easily be hung onto one's neck or slipped into the pocket with one barely noticing its presence. Up front, the Xinc Ultra has five keys for easy navigation: rewind, fast forward, M (for menu), volume decrease and increase. The play/pause button, which also doubles up as the player's On/Off switch and the A-B Repeat/Equalizer button can be found on the left side of the Xinc Ultra.
Found on the right side of the Xinc Ultra are two sliders: One allowing users to put the player on hold, while the other slider is used for switching between built-in speaker and headphone jack modes. A small reset (R) button can be found below the sliders, while an internal microphone is located on top.
On top of the player is a small latch with an SD/MMC card slot to further expand its 256MB onboard memory with a maximum supported capacity of 2GB. The total possible memory of 2.25GB should just be right for those who listen primarily to music with the occasional video playback, but will be a setback to those who like to bring all their audio/video/picture files wherever they go. Finally, the headphone jack and the USB port for charging and syncing can be found at the bottom of the Xinc Ultra.
Besides being able to play back audio files like MP3, MWA, and WA/V, the Xinc Ultra can also play videos in SMV format, photos in JPEG, read E-book files, record audio, sync lyrics (using LRC format), and has a built it FM radio that allows FM recording. Navigating through the player's functions can be quite a chore though as users must remember to hold down the menu button for 2-3 seconds once a particular function is chosen to return to the main menu.
Although the Xinc Ultra promises a lot of multimedia features, its 1.5-inch CSTN LCD is just passable for menu navigation. Images lack the needed quality and depth while video playback feels slow, grainy and yellowish. Audio quality of the Xinc Ultra however, is fantastic. The built-in speaker is uncharacteristically loud for its size, easily capable of turning heads when used. The bundled earphones deliver good audio output as well; bass and treble sounds are clearly reproduced throughout various music tracks, which will satisfy users who like hard hitting music. Of course, its standard 3.5mm jack means that you can use your favorite earphones as well. Besides the audio quality, battery life is also commendable, capable of lasting for 12 to 14 hours on a single charge.
With its small and lightweight size, expandable SD/MMC card slot, good sound quality and features like FM tuner and e-book reader, the Astone Xinc Ultra Digital A/V Player is great for those who like to listen to music on the go. However, users who need larger storage and better screen resolution for photo and video viewing may want to pass on it and look elsewhere.