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MP3 Players

Virgin Music Download Starter Pack: MP3 players made easy?

Virgin is targeting those poor souls who can't tell one end of an MP3 player from another. But is this device really going to help?

Those trendy types at Virgin don't think you know how to download music and play it on your MP3 player. They probably think you use your MP3 player as a paperweight or a clever throwing device, and in order to tackle this problem they have come up with the Virgin Music Download Starter Pack.

You can buy a Virgin-branded MP3 player for £30 -- with it you get five free downloads from virgindigital.com and a manual explaining how to download them from the site, transfer them to the player and then play them.

Crave is not convinced by the need for this. It's not that hard to drag and drop MP3s onto a player. And when it comes to downloading music, it doesn't get much easier than iTunes.

The player has a poor build quality and looks rather cheap -- but then, what do you expect for a £30 device? The screen is small and crowded with information, including file name, bit rate and two timers -- one for the total song length and one for how far into the song you are. For a device that is aimed at the technophobe market, it could have done with a simpler display.

The player is connected to your PC via the USB port and lets you store up to 256MB (about 60 songs). Unfortunately, it runs off an AAA battery and it's not rechargeable, which means you'll need to fork out for new batteries regularly.

The V Player may be good as a first time MP3 player if you're on a budget, but it's worth considering other players in the price range, such as the ATMT LITE MP130BK MP3 Player, which for £15 offers a 256MB capacity and also runs off AAA batteries.

If you're willing to pay a bit more, you can increase the capacity and get a rechargeable battery. For example, the Samsung YP-U1 has a capacity of 2GB, offers USB charging and is available from £40 upwards.

The Virgin Music Download Starter Pack is available now at all Virgin Megastores. -BJ