Kaiser Baas 1.8-inch Digital Media Keyring review:

Kaiser Baas 1.8-inch Digital Media Keyring

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Typical Price: $79.95
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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good It's tiny and portable. Bright images. Comes with video conversion software.

The Bad Also comes shipped with a trojan horse. Average sound quality. Only 1GB of memory.

The Bottom Line Though the idea of a digital media keyring may sound good in theory, in practice it's an unsatisfactory user experience. Difficult navigation, counter-intuitive buttons and the incredibly small size makes it difficult to use for all but the smallest of hands.

6.0 Overall

Editor's note: After contacting Kaiser Baas, it was verified that the trojan horse was limited to our review unit only, and the company assures us that no other devices being shipped are infected. Additionally, for users with the 1.5-inch digital key ring frame who have experienced a similar problem with their antivirus program detecting malicious software, Kaiser Baas has told us that it is not a virus, but instead a false positive detected by McAfee and Trend. Users can upgrade the firmware on their unit at Kaiser Baas' support website, which should rectify the problem.

At a diminutive 4cm across by 5.5cm high, the Kaiser Baas is definitely positioning itself as a rival to Apple's many incarnations of the iPod Shuffle. The big difference here though is that the Kaiser Baas has a screen; a relatively teeny TFT 1.8-inch colour one at that.

The Kaiser Baas is absolutely tiny when you hold it in your hand.(Credit: Kaiser Baas)

In fact it's so small that without attaching it to something (like your keys or your clothes) it would easily be lost in the bottom of a bag, left on public transport or lost down the back of the couch.

On either side sit very small buttons that are used to navigate the menus, as well as an on/off switch. At the top is a mini USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The unit is encased in a glossy, piano-black acrylic finish.

The Kaiser Baas thinks of itself as a bit of a jack-of-all-trades; it has 1GB of storage, an FM radio, MP3 and MP4 player and voice recorder packed inside. As mentioned before, the screen is a dot matrix TFT display with a resolution of 160x128 — so really, this isn't the device to use to showcase your splendid photographic panoramas. It's a keyring, sure, but it just tries too hard to be a bit of everything that it fails to succeed at any one thing.

Just like on the 1.5-inch digital photo keyring we also reviewed, you will have to resize your photos to make them fit on the screen and to reduce the space they take up as well — there's no provided software to automatically reduce the heft of your 14.7-megapixel beauties to fit on here. There is, however, software included to compress your videos to the format required for playback on the Kaiser Baas.

Unpack the box and you will be presented with the player itself, a mini CD with video compression software and a user manual, as well as a set of earphones, mini USB cable and keyring attachment.

From the limited instructions, we managed to deduce that in order to put any sort of content onto the media player, you had to attach it to a Windows computer and the device would install all the necessary drivers (without needing the included CD). This seemed easy enough, and the device was instantly recognised. There was no internal file organisation on the device itself — just a case of transferring all your media files over to the main directory.

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