The Memorex brand has a long history with portable music players, dating all the way back to the 8-track era. Despite its pedigree, the company's track record as a manufacturer of MP3 players hasn't met with much success. In fact, the last Memorex MP3 player we reviewed () holds the dishonorable distinction of being one of the lowest-rated audio players on CNET.
Memorex's latest MP3 player, the TouchMP, may just put the company back in the portable game. Priced at $99 (8GB), the TouchMP offers a decent assortment of features and one killer hook: a touch-screen interface.
The Memorex TouchMP looks like a modern version of a Palm Pilot PDA, combining a 2.8-inch touch-screen display with a row of basic navigation buttons near the bottom. Measuring 4 inches long, 2.25 inches wide, and just under a half-inch thick, the TouchMP feels right at home in your hand or pocket. A slim volume rocker switch graces the left edge of the player, while the right edge bears the power switch and home button. While holding the player with one hand, we found it was difficult not to accidentally squeeze the menu button while adjusting volume--but a two-hand grip solves the problem.
For a touch-screen MP3 player (or anything with a touch screen, really), interface design is crucial. The TouchMP isn't going to be mistaken for an iPhone anytime soon, but Memorex does a surprisingly good job keeping the onscreen interface simple, legible, and intuitive. Scrolling through long song lists using onscreen controls is somewhat tedious but is helped by the three illuminated buttons below the screen. These buttons work both for song playback control (rewind, play, skip) and navigation control (back, enter, forward).