BenQ Joybee 180 (256MB, Pop Art)
Quick Take: It seems that the most interesting-looking MP3 players are reserved for markets outside of the United States. Take BenQ's Joybee 180, which is available in Asia and Europe. This spunky player is one of the few we've seen to feature exchangeable faceplates; BenQ calls them shells, and each style comes with two. Here, we feature a 256MB Joybee 180 in Pop Art, but the player is also available as a 128MB model and in two other styles, Dance Beat and Modern Grey--very art nouveau.
The Pop Art shells definitely pop--they're eerily reminiscent of a '60s-era print dress, but we think the design is a lot more tolerable on a pocket-size gadget. And it's nice to be able to switch back and forth between the two. The player would be even more customizable if BenQ offered the shells for individual sale, but we weren't able to find any indication of this.
Another standout design trait is the Joybee 180's OLED display. These tend to be crisper and more energy-efficient than the LCDs that are common on most players in the States. Luckily, we're starting to see more and more MP3 players with OLED screens emerge in our ever-expanding market--perhaps the Joybee 180 will be next.