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MP3 Players

mobiBLU Boxon: Little black box

The latest MP3 player from the Korean quirk-meisters is a mesmerisingly minuscule 2GB device that can play video on its ickle screen. Bless

mobiBLU likes to box clever with its MP3 players, out-quirking the Goliaths of the market. The DAH-1500i -- aka the Cube -- was the world's smallest MP3 player until party-pooper Apple came along with the new Shuffle. Meanwhile, the DAH-1900 pumped out tunes for an astonishing 153 hours -- albeit pretty badly. Enter the Boxon, a miniature rectangle that plays music and video.

Basic MP3 and WMA codecs -- plus OGG -- are supported for music playback, with AVI and ASF for video (though don't expect your illegally downloaded movies and TV shows to work). You can store these on a hefty 2GB of flash memory. You can record audio through the in-built mic, view images, listen to FM radio, read text files, and you can even use the Boxon as your Skype headset.

The sleek exterior and crisp sound is further evidence of why mobiBLU is one of the most imaginative companies out there, but sadly the company's ergonomics and software development teams need to catch up. The bundled transcoding software prepares your favourite movies and video for Boxon playback, until it crashes and throws up a peculiar Korean error message. The player's interface isn't much better. Quirky, bouncing icons could provide amusement, but there's no method of scrolling through your music by artist or album.

The 43mm (1.7-inch) OLED display is about as good as you'll find on any device this tiny. You'll get a pretty miserly 12 hours of audio and 7 hours of video out of the battery.

mobiBLU continues to check most boxes though, including the one marked 'contains pre-installed Asian pop jingle and 30-second video sampler', but it could be a while before it produces the perfect device -- as long as form remains its priority over function. -Sam Bathe