Baylis Eco Media Player EP-MX71 review: Baylis Eco Media Player EP-MX71

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Eco-friendliness; general functionality; usefulness; no batteries required; doubles up as a portable phone charger.

The Bad Price; no belt clip; line-in socket should be 3.5mm; torch is utterly pointless on an MP3 player; included earphones are abysmal.

The Bottom Line An extremely niche product and as a result of its high price, probably only one for campers, travellers, the seriously pro-green or anyone desiring music when they can't guarantee mains power exists. Costly, but too cute to dislike

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When describing the Baylis Eco Media Player EP-MX71, it's hard not to think of treehouses, dreadlocks and music festivals.

This is an MP3 and video player that needs no power cables and will potentially work for years without ever being connected to a computer. It's powered by a hand crank, an internal dynamo and a lithium-ion rechargable battery. It's the eco-warrior's dream; as environmentally friendly as a tree with an acoustic guitar wedged in it.

For around £129 for a 2GB player, it sure isn't as wallet-friendly as it is earth-friendly. Is its green nature worth such a high price, or is this just a giant wind-up?

Design
Well yes, it is something of a giant wind-up -- it's a chunky, rubber-coated device with a palm-sized plastic handle on the back. Fortunately, it clicks into the player's enclosure, giving a semi-snug fit. Large plastic buttons on the front sit below a low-resolution, full-colour 46mm (1.8-inch) screen, which is capable of displaying full-motion video.

Probably the most interesting aspect of the design is the torch on the top -- apparently Trevor Baylis thinks torches are important to MP3 players. In addition, there's an SD card slot, a USB port and a few function buttons scattered around the external casing. The 2.5mm line-in socket seems utterly counter-intuitive, though -- why on Mother Earth wouldn't this be made to fit standard 3.5mm cables?

Our main gripe is that although its large size is justified by its inclusion of a dynamo and crank, this chunky player doesn't have a belt clip, and it should have. Hippies love belts.

Features
We're going to forgive the lack of a belt clip because this rubbery friend of the earth plays OGG format music files, as well as WMA, WAV and good old MP3. One minute of furious cranking will give you about 40 minutes of music. Of course, you can charge via USB if you prefer, and a full charge will take about nine hours, but the battery will play for 20.

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Where to Buy

Baylis Eco Media Player EP-MX71

Part Number: CNETBaylis Eco Media Player EP-MX71

Typical Price: £129.00

See manufacturer website for availability.