Mattel Juice Box Personal Media Player review:

Mattel Juice Box Personal Media Player

The MP3 Starter Kit ($45) turns the Juice Box into an MP3 player and photo viewer.

Once you have music and photo files on your card and you've inserted it into the JuiceWare card adapter, you're ready to turn your video player into a monster media machine. The screen offers you the choice of MP3 Player or Photo Viewer. In MP3 Player mode, you can play all, play random, or select a specific song, indicated by title and length. One minor quibble: You cannot forward or rewind through tracks, although you can set the Juice Box to autorepeat. In Photo Viewer mode, you can play all in slide-show fashion (delay can be set for as long as 60 seconds) or view individual photos and flip through them manually. Unfortunately, you can't view photos and listen to music simultaneously.

Overall, the MP3 Starter Kit can be a wonderful introduction to digital music and photography, so the extra $45 may be worth it. Just be aware that you'll probably spend about $140 on a set that includes the Juice Box, the MP3 Starter Kit, and a couple of cartridges. But if this keeps your kid quiet in the back seat of a car for an hour or so, isn't it worth it? Kids seem to like it.

The Mattel Juice Box screen has a resolution of 240x160 pixels, supports 4,069 colors, and is surprisingly bright and colorful. Despite noticeable artifacts in the proprietary compressed video, it was extremely easy to watch with its frame rate of 15fps to 18fps. Even the built-in mono speaker was able to get the job done. However, we recommend using headphones, which will let the audio come through in stereo.

Navigation was smooth and bumpless thanks to the Juice Box's 32-bit 60MHz ARM processor. Transferring MP3s using the included media card adapter and the Juice Box software flowed at a decent 0.93MB per second, while the battery lasted more than 15 hours for music only and about 5 hours for video. All in all, this is impressive performance.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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