It is a rare day indeed we come across a piece of technology that so utterly fails at its intended purpose, but American electronics manufacturer Coby has managed to produce just such a device: the Coby MP-C7000 series MP3 player. Though Coby products haven't been received as particularly impressive here at CNET, neither have they scored miserably low, so we were a bit surprised at the atrocity of this digital audio player.
Coby may not have a history of outstanding gadgets, but we expected the MP-C7000 to be at least usable. In fact, aside from its compact and rather cute design, it fails miserably at every level. The player is relatively cheap: it comes in three versions--the 512MB MP-C7052, the 1GB MP-C7082, and the 2GB MP-C7092--that retail for $59.95, $69.95, and $79.95, respectively. But a low price hardly matters if you can barely use a product; plus, the SanDisk Sansa Express (1GB only) retails for less and is actually easy to use.
The Coby MP-C7000 is a cute-looking MP3 player. It's about the size of the iPod Nano, but with rounded edges, and it's ensconced in a rather Mac-like white-plastic casing. An ample (1.8-inch) color LCD dominates the front of the device, and a five-way control pad sits below that. On the back of the player, you'll find an unusual thing: an on/off switch. A mechanical power switch isn't a bad thing, but it's certainly rare in MP3 players these days. Finally, we have two annoying proprietary ports: a super-mini USB on the bottom and a 2.5mm headphone jack on top. The MP-C7000 won't work with your standard stereo headphones without a 2.5mm-to-3.5mm adapter.