CEC mp4 player reviews and benchmarks

Sound quality benchmark (unpublished) reveal that the sound quality of X8 is similar to Ipod's

Contributions/comments regarding this article by users are welcomed in our forum.

Shortcut to reviews below - Hi-X6, Hi-A8, Hi-X8

V8 review by Yesky, PConline

Model Hi-X6

Appearance

This mobile MP4 player with a 2.5” 80GB Seagate hard drive, model:5400.3 comes with a 1.8” TFT screen weighing 214g. On appearance the design is simple but plain. The controls comprises of four square menu selection buttons and a two circular audio buttons. Four ports are visible in black, two mini-USB ports at the top and two on the left side, a 3.5mm audio jack and a 2.5mm line in port. Besides the appearance as plain, there are no obvious features that can visually raise the contrast or design of this black and silver framed player.

Performance:

Battery charging:

Time from flat to full charge: 3 hrs 20 minutes.
Charger: USB port or included charger (5V 500mA)
This is relatively slow compared with most modern players of this type.
Contains internal non-removable 3.7V 1100mAh Li-ion battery.
Boot time: 3 seconds

Hard drive benchmarks:

(performed using Acer Travelmate 800 Laptop)

Readable by MP4 operating system File format: FAT32
Max number of partitions: 3x FAT32
Readable by Computer File format: Any (eg, FAT32, NTFS, etc) - as long as the operating system supports it
Max number of partitions: unlimited
Transfer speed of 3 video files:

  • 1.22Gb @ 76.5 seconds
  • 151MB @ 11.3 seconds

Music Directories: Transferring 670MB for 11 music directories @ 53 seconds

These speeds, of course, depend on the hard drive speed and are comparable to external USB hard drives.

 

2.5" Seagate 5400.3 5400rpm 80GB Hard disk benchmark in a laptop
2.5" Seagate 5400.3 5400rpm 80GB Hard disk benchmark in a Hi-X6

2.5" Seagate 5400.3 5400rpm 80GB Hard disk benchmark in a USB 2.0 portable hard disk case (Soloman 632AW)

 

Photos:

1.52MB 2304 x 1728 jpeg = 42 seconds to load

This is an unacceptable speed for viewing a single 4MP standard photo in a portable drive.

Photo quality also lacks contrasts at the edges on the screen.

The player can support *.jpg, *.bmp format and selected unmoving *.gif formats. However, common formats such as multiple frame *.gifs is unsupported.

Videos playback:

This player has no *.rm (real media), *.wmv or *.divx or other format support. Hi-X6 only supports selected Divx and Xvid formats converted to 280x220 pixels. This player is only able to keep the sound and picture in synchrony when frame rate is below 15fps. Frame rate higher than 15fps cause picture and sound to be out of synchrony. The supplied Blaze Video converter produce *.avi files with poor audio quality with obvious high pitch noises. This is most likely due to its low audio bitrates.

Some 3rd party video converter such as MediaCoder allows fully customizable bitrates, pixels, frame rate and other quality settings. Testing using video converted by MediaCoder confirmed the previous suspicions. Further testing revealed that any videos larger than 280x220 fail to play while videos smaller than 280x220 does not play in full screen, ie full screen is 280x220, anything smaller, the screen size reduces accordingly. Video contrasts are poor although video quality is acceptable for most applications. There is no support or ability to change video quality or playback.

Note: Video quality is significantly affected by the quality settings of the video converter software.

Audio:

The quality of audio is only available from the headphone port. There are five equalizer presets available but none is suitable for bass. The volume of sound and amplification is very low and only suitable for headphones. Only standard MP3 formats supported and not MP3pro. All mp3, wma files tested play without difficulties. There is no playlist support for files and unable to understand how the A-B button playback system works. Files outside the main audio directories do not get read unless "forced" to play via the file browser. Unlike other players, Hi-X6 allows for lyrics *.lrc to be read, but this function was not readily testable.

File menu system:

File menu system is cumbersome, with the rotating dial system displaying the icons very difficult to navigate as it is reversed of what is expected. File extraction system is highly difficult to control, with only file status on size visible. Browsing through the menu system is slow between different directories. This is typical of Telechips based mp4 players. Here and here is another mp4 player with an identical operating system as this X6.

Other features:

This model has a number of modes, including notepad text support and multiple language support. English, German, Spanish, Thai and Portuguese are pre-installed as default while Traditional, Simplified Chinese and Japanese are supported when its font library is installed. However, when reading anything other than English, the script is only readable when the player language is changed accordingly, and is unable to be read by default language such as English.

The e-book function can only read unformatted plain *.txt format and cannot read other document formats. In addition, this player can play *.swf flash 5 or prior files. Again, support for Macromedia flash is poor, most flash files tried did not work or got terminated half-way due to "out of memory" error.

This model also contains two games, based on tetris and box puzzle with easily understandable controls.

The in-built internal microphone records files in mp3 format with crystal clarity and very high sensitivity without noise. However, locating the file is rather more difficult and the controls for recording and saving options seems complicated if the shortcut is not known. (See FAQ for shortcut)

Internally also contains a FM radio transmitter and the transmission range (~10m) is excellent when a "naked" wire is used instead of the earphone. However, the sound level via the FM transmitter is lower than typical FM stations.

Finally, there is an OTG backup option for transferring files, but this was not tested.

Battery life

This machine was tested on battery life based on the above specifications using an ongoing running video with backlight on full. This player had a respectable 6 hrs and 23 minutes on video before shutdown. At shutdown, the player took 4 seconds to power down.

Submitted by 3rd party

HDD: Fujitsu 4200rpm 40GB MHR2040AT
128kbps MP3 run time in power save mode: 13h

In conclusion, after the following tests on the Hi-X6, there is:

Pros:

  • Has a long battery life on video with a respectable approximately 383 minutes of video running time with audio output on maximum.
  • Extremely sensitive and noise-resistant microphone.
  • Fast transfer speeds when transferring files.

Cons:

  • The design has poor style, and overall control arrangement confusing and difficult to use.
  • Screen is small and poor contrasts.
  • Some functions do not work satisfactorily
  • video files in general require conversion before use.

Review by other parties - Zol.com.cn, IntroZGC

Model Hi-A8

Appearance:

This model contains a 80 GB Seagate 5400.3 2.5” hard drive with a silver/black landscape design containing a 2.4” TFT screen. This player weights 240g with removable batteries. The design has six silver buttons in a cross configuration on the right beside the TFT screen and two buttons on the top, which includes the on/off and hold button. A further two buttons are on the left side. Two ports for 3.5mm headphones and 2.5mm line in appear above the screen.

Performance:

Battery charging:

Time from flat to full charge: 3 hrs 45 minutes.
Charger: USB port or included charger (5V 500mA)
This is relatively slow compared with most modern players of this type.
Contains removable 3.7V 1100mAh Li-ion battery.
Boot time: 3 seconds

Hard drive benchmarks:

Readable by MP4 operating system File format: FAT32
Max number of partitions: 3xFAT32
Readable by Computer File format: Any (eg, FAT32, NTFS, etc) - as long as the operating system supports it
Max number of partitions: unlimited
Transfer speed of the following:

  • Music- 119 sec for 11 directories total 670Mb
  • 3 Videos totaling 1.22GB @ 143 second
  • 1 Video files 251Mb @ 24.1 seconds

These speeds, of course, depend on the hard drive speed and are comparable with external USB hard drives. The 3 videos and music transfer both took considerable longer than Hi-X6, suggesting chipsets may not be optimized compared with the earlier model.

2.5" Seagate 5400.3 5400rpm 80GB Hard disk benchmark in a Hi-A8

2.5" Fujitsu MHV2080AT 4200rpm 80GB Hard disk benchmark in a Hi-A8

 

Photos:

1.54Mb 2304 x 1728 pixel jpeg = 24 seconds

This is an unacceptable speed for viewing a single 4MP standard photo in a portable drive.

Photo quality also lacks contrasts at the edges on the screen.

The player can support *.jpg, *.bmp format and selected unmoving *.gif formats. However, common formats such as multiple frame *.gifs is unsupported.

Videos playback:

This player has no *.rm (real media), *.wmv or *.divx or other format support. Hi-A8 only supports selected Divx and Xvid formats converted to 280x220 pixels. This player is only able to keep the sound and picture in synchrony when frame rate is below 24fps. Frame rate higher than 24fps cause picture and sound to be out of synchrony. The supplied Blaze Video converter produce *.avi files with poor audio quality with obvious high pitch noises. This is most likely due to its low audio bitrates.

Some 3rd party video converter such as MediaCoder allows fully customizable bitrates, pixels, frame rate and other quality settings. Testing using video converted by MediaCoder confirmed the previous suspicions. Further testing revealed that any videos larger than 280x220 fail to play while videos smaller than 280x220 does not play in full screen, ie full screen is 280x220, anything smaller, the screen size reduces accordingly. Video contrasts are poor although video quality is acceptable for most applications. There is no support or ability to change video quality or playback.

Note: Video quality is significantly affected by the quality settings of the video converter software.

Audio:

The quality of audio is available from the headphone port or the internal speaker. However, there is no automatic detection of audio plug and therefore internal speaker operates independently from headphones. There are five equalizer presets available but none is suitable for bass. The volume of sound and amplification is very low and only suitable for headphones. The speaker quality is poor, with 22kHz quality output only and 44kHz output indistinguishable. Only standard MP3 formats supported and not MP3pro. All mp3, wma files tested play without difficulties. There is no playlist support for files and unable to understand how the A-B button playback system works. Poor sound control systems.

File menu system:

File menu system is ordered but displaying the icons that is very much an eyesore. File extraction system is highly difficult to control, with often only file status on size visible. Browsing through the menu system is slow between different directories. There is no ability to arrange or change file position.

Other features:

This model has a number of modes, including notepad text support and multiple language support. English, German, Spanish, Thai and Portuguese are pre-installed as default while Traditional, Simplified Chinese and Japanese are supported when its font library is installed. However, when reading anything other than English, the script is only readable when the player language is changed accordingly, and is unable to be read by default language such as English.

The e-book function can only read unformatted plain *.txt format with no ability to read other file formats. In addition, this player can play *.swf flash 5 or prior files. Again, support for Macromedia flash is poor, most flash files tried did not work or got terminated half-way due to "out of memory" error.

This model contains two games, based on tetris and box puzzle with easily understandable controls.

The in-built internal microphone records files in mp3 format. This microphone is poor quality and reception, with loud audio disparities and interference. Furthermore, locating the file is rather more difficult and the controls for recording and saving options are complicated if shortcut is not know. (See CEC FAQ for shortcut).

Internally also contains a FM radio receiver but the reception is so poor that it is useless. Finally, there is an OTG backup option for transferring files, but this was not tested.

Battery Life

This machine was tested on battery life based on the above specifications using an ongoing running video with backlight on full. This player had an average 4 hrs and 34 minutes on video before shutdown while using Seagate 5400.3 80GB hard disk, and 4hr and 49 minutes using Fujitsu MHV2080AT 4200rpm 80GB hard disk. At shutdown, the player took 4 seconds to power down.

In conclusion, after the following tests on the Hi-A8, there is:

Pros:

  • Video playback is smooth and clear.
  • Easy to install hard drive
  • Replaceable batteries.

Cons:

The design has poor style, and overall control arrangement confusing and difficult to use. Screen is still rather small and poor contrasts. Many functions do not work, like FM reception, and poor compatibility of formats in audio, video and files in general requiring conversion before use. Other encountered problem includes lack of menu options, unspecific buttons and poor quality of audio recording, battery life and inability to switch off speaker after headphone plug in. Also there is poor quality of sound from speakers.

Review by other parties - IT.com.cn

Model Hi-X8

Appearance/Design:

This mobile MP4 player can uses any PATA/IDE 2.5” laptop hard disk. It has a 2.4” TFT 480x234 pixels, 1600k colors LCD screen which is the typical of most mp4 players. It weights at 214g including the hard disk and 1100mAH lithium battery. The weight is light compared to other competitors using 2.5" hard disk as the hard disk itself is already 100g. Nevertheless, it is heavier than typical 1.8" hard disk based player, such as Ipod Video at 157g.

There are two mini-USB port on the right hand side, a 3.5mm earphone jack and 3.5mm line-in at the top of the unit . In addition, the edge of the unit is lined with rugged rubber to give a good grip on the hand. The X8 also comes with a good quality black leathery pouch which is very useful to protect the unit against physical damage to the unit when travelling. The pouch also has a belt strap which allows your belt to go through, so it can be carried on your belt to listen to music at all time. Nice thought.

The X8 only comes with one colour from the manufacturer - black. However, the unit looks elegant and more appealing than the silvery X6. At the front, there are two black metallic strip running on the side which are attached via double-side tape. These can be pulled off if one tries hard enough. The middle is made up of smooth, shiny black plastic that tends to attract fingerprints. LCD is protected by glass with a piece of plastic sheet on top which can be peeled off. The back consists of a black metal plate that is secured via 4 screws at the top and bottom of the unit.

Disassembly:

Opening this back cover reveals the hard disk which is held in place by a sponge. A good design to prevent the hard disk from moving around when jogging, etc.

Removal of the hard disk reveals a black plastic sheet separating the hard disk and the PCB board underneath.

Flipping the hard disk around also revealed four rubber legs in the screw holes of the unit for shock absorption. A nice thought from the manufacturer. Well, removal of the protecting plastic sheet reveals the underlying PCB board. There are 6 screws holding the PCB board in place which are already removed in this photo. Well, removal the 6 screws holding the PCB board allows the front cover to be opened. And there is a ribbon connecting the keypad to the PCB board as one is opening the front cover. (Don't break it!!) Around the battery and LCD, there is a white plastic frame holding them in place. Flipping the LCD and front cover allows you to see the ribbons for the keypad and LCD connections. With the LCD removed, you can see the connector used to connect to the keypad which is located next to the battery as well as the battery connector at the bottom right of the photo. Lastly, the white frame is removed and battery is flipped to reveal the entire PCB board.

GUI and Navigation:

Note: The actual screen looks a little better than what you see here. The photo here is washed and there is some glare from the glass reflection off the LCD. (Apparently, the camera used, Canon IXUS 55's colour reproduction is not as good as our eyes can see.)

Navigation through the various menus and folders is simple and straight forward. Can be easily operated without looking at the instruction manuals. The controls comprises of four square menu selection buttons, a four way directional button and a round buttons at the centre. The buttons on the unit gives good tactile feel and can be operated with only one hand. The icons displayed are not as good looking as other PMP players, but typical of similar devices. When looking at videos on this unit, quality is good. However, when reading text, it is not as sharp and clear as more expensive units, such as Ipod Video. File or folder properties can be viewed by clicking the A button. Copy, delete, rename, etc can be performed directly on the player. One problem is the absence of the ability to arrange or change file/folder in a particular order, files/folders are automatically arranged by the date it is added to the player and the order can't be modified without using special software.

Performance:

Battery charging:

Time from flat to full charge: 3 hrs 45 minutes.
Charger: USB port or included charger (5V 500mA)
This is relatively slow compared with most modern players of this type.
Contains internal non-removable 3.7V 1100mAh Li-ion battery.
Boot time: 3 seconds

Hard drive benchmarks:

(performed using ASUS A6T Laptop)

Readable by MP4 operating system
File format: FAT32
Max number of partitions: 3x FAT32
Readable by Computer File format: Any (eg, FAT32, NTFS, etc) - as long as the operating system supports it
Max number of partitions: unlimited

Seagate 5400.3 Series

Transfer speed of the following: 1 ISO files 1.34GB @ 1 min 17 seconds


2.5" Seagate 5400.3 5400rpm 80GB Hard disk benchmark in a Hi-X8
2.5" Seagate 5400.3 5400rpm 80GB Hard disk benchmark in a USB 2.0 portable hard disk case (Soloman 632AW)
2.5" Seagate 5400.3 5400rpm 160GB Hard disk benchmark in a Hi-X8
2.5" Seagate 5400.3 5400rpm 160GB Hard disk benchmark in a USB 2.0 portable hard disk case (Soloman 632AW)

Hitachi 4k120 120GB


Transfer speed of the following: 1 ISO files 1.34GB @ 1 min 22 seconds
2.5" Hitachi 4k120 4200rpm 120GB Hard disk benchmark in a Hi-X8
2.5" Hitachi 4k120 4200rpm 120GB Hard disk benchmark in a USB 2.0 portable hard disk case (Soloman 632AW)

Fujitsu MHVxxxxAH Series


2.5" Fujitsu MHV2080AH 5400rpm 80GB Hard disk benchmark in a Hi-X8
2.5" Fujitsu MHV2080AH 5400rpm 80GB Hard disk benchmark in a USB 2.0 portable hard disk case (Soloman 632AW)
2.5" Fujitsu MHV2100AH 5400rpm 100GB Hard disk benchmark in a Laptop

Fujitsu MHVxxxxAT Series


2.5" Fujitsu MHV2080AT 4200rpm 80GB Hard disk benchmark in a Hi-X8
2.5" Fujitsu MHV2080AT 4200rpm 80GB Hard disk benchmark in a USB 2.0 portable hard disk case (Soloman 632AW)

Photos:

1.54Mb 2304 x 1728 pixel jpeg = 24 seconds

This is an unacceptable speed for viewing a single 4MP standard photo in a portable drive. Photo quality also lacks contrasts at the edges on the screen. The player can support *.jpg, *.bmp format and selected unmoving *.gif formats. However, common formats such as multiple frame *.gifs is unsupported.

Videos playback:

This player does not support most video codecs such as *.rm (real media) and *.wmv, typical of most mp4 units. Hi-X8 only supports selected Divx and Xvid formats converted to 280x220 pixels. This player is only able to keep the sound and picture in synchrony when frame rate is below 24fps. Frame rate higher than 24fps cause picture and sound to be out of synchrony. The supplied Blaze Video converter produce *.avi files with poor audio quality with obvious high pitch noises in some videos. This is most likely due to its low audio bitrates.

Some 3rd party video converter such as MediaCoder allows fully customizable bitrates, pixels, frame rate and other quality settings. Testing using video converted by MediaCoder confirmed the previous suspicions. Further testing revealed that any videos larger than 280x220 fail to play while videos smaller than 280x220 does not play in full screen, ie full screen is 280x220, anything smaller, the screen size reduces accordingly. Video contrasts are poor although video quality is acceptable for most applications. There is no support or ability to change video quality or playback.

Note: Video quality is significantly affected by the quality settings of the video converter software.

Audio:

The quality of audio is terrific, sound quality is better than most players out there. There are five equalizer presets available - Normal, EQ Rock, Jazz, Classic and Pop, although none is suitable for bass. The volume of sound and amplification is reasonable and suitable for headphones. Only standard MP3 formats supported and not MP3pro. All mp3, wma files tested play without difficulties. There is a playlist called favourite which can only be configured using the player. There is also a A-B repeat system to replay a specific section of a song. Files outside the main audio directories do not get read unless "forced" to play via the file browser.

The player automatically builds a ID3 database which categorize the mp3s by Artists, Author, Album and genre. The ID3 database can be updated by pressing the menu button while selecting the MUSIC folder. Unlike other players, Hi-X8 also allows for lyrics *.lrc to be read, which is useful for karaoke. There is also an option to adjust the play speed of the music from 70%-130%. (Would anyone use it?)

FM transmitter:

Internally it contains a FM radio transmitter and this is the unique feature of this player. This transmitter is very handy to play mp3 music on the road through the car's FM radio. Surprisingly, it can even output the sound of the video being played, nice :) Unlike many other FM transmitters, X8 allows fine tuning of the transmission frequency by the user from FM 87.6Mhz -107.0Mhz by 0.1Mhz interval. Transmission range (~10m) is excellent when a "naked" wire is used instead of the earphone, basically one can carry X8 anywhere around the house and still get good reception on your FM radio. However, the sound level via the FM transmitter is lower than typical FM stations.

Other features:

This model has a number of modes, including notepad text support and multiple language support. English, German, Spanish, Thai and Portuguese are pre-installed as default while Traditional, Simplified Chinese and Japanese are supported when its font library is installed. However, when reading anything other than English, the script is only readable when the player language is changed accordingly, and is unable to be read by default language such as English. The e-book function can only read unformatted plain *.txt format with no ability to read other documents. In addition, this player can play *.swf flash 5 or prior files. Again, support for Macromedia flash is poor, most flash files tried did not work or got terminated half-way due to "out of memory" error.

This model contains two games, based on tetris and box puzzle with easily understandable controls.

The in-built internal microphone records files in mp3 format with crystal clarify and very high sensitivity without noise. However, locating the file is rather more difficult and the controls for recording and saving options are complicated unless shortcut is used. (See CEC FAQ for shortcut)

Finally, there is an OTG backup option for transferring files. OTG is a useful feature to transfer files from digital camera, USB stick, etc but compatibility with various devices is always an issue, X8 is no exception.

For normal shutdown by pressing the power button, the player took 4 seconds to power down.

Battery life test

Note: the battery life shown here is indicative only and may not reflect actual battery life under real-life use because it tends to be dependent on many factors such as brand of hard disk used, the way the device is used, etc. (As you can see the variation in battery life between tests/machines)

Test Conditions:

Video files used: 10x video files converted using MediaCoder listed under demo download
real_emotion_concert_intro.AVI, joey02.avi, joey01.avi, Final_Fantasy_VIII-Eyes_on_Me_by_Faye_Wong(MV).AVI, ffX.AVI, ffx-2_tv_ads.AVI, FF10MTV.AVI, FF9-Melodies_Of_Life.AVI, F.I.R.-Lydia.avi, F.I.R.01.avi

Playback mode: Continuous non-stop

Video test

Music test

Files used 280x220 avi 280x220 avi 11x mp3 files
(total 67.9MB)
220kbps VBR
10x mp3 files
(total 34.1MB)
128kbps
10x mp3 files
(total 34.1MB)
128kbps
16x wma files
(total 20MB)
64kbps
Conditions LCD on
volume at max
FM transmitter on
LCD on
volume at 50%
FM transmitter off
LCD off
(power save mode)
volume at 50%
FM transmitter off
LCD off
(power save mode)
volume at 50%
FM transmitter off
LCD off
(power save mode)
volume at 50%
FM transmitter on
LCD off
(power save mode)
volume at 50%
FM transmitter off
Seagate 5400.3
80GB 5400rpm
3 hrs 30 mins
3 hrs 51 mins
3 hrs 42 mins
4 hrs 1 mins
4 hrs 33 mins
7 hrs 4 mins
Seagate 5400.3
160GB 5400rpm
3 hrs 17 mins 3 hrs 52 mins 7 hrs 14 mins
Fujitsu MHV2080AH
80GB 5400rpm
3 hrs 31 mins
4 hrs 52 mins
4 hrs 5 mins
5 hrs 6 mins
7 hrs 30 mins
9 hrs 34 mins
Hitachi 4k120
120GB 4200rpm
3 hrs 54 mins 4 hrs 41 mins 8 hrs 57 mins 9 hrs 41 mins 7 hrs 29 mins 5 hr 3 mins
Fujitsu MHV2080AT
80GB 4200rpm
4 hr 45 mins 4 hrs 57 mins 10 hrs 31 mins

Note: the bitrate of the music file being played drastically affects battery life. (The higher the bitrate, the shorter the battery life.)

In conclusion, after the following tests on the Hi-X8, there is:

Pros:

  • Powerful music player.
  • Very handy FM transmitter with adjustable frequency.
  • Extremely sensitive and noise-resistant microphone.
  • Easy to install hard drive.
  • Small, light weight portable USB storage device.

Cons:

  • Photo loading is too slow.
  • Screen is too small for video, especially for 16:9 videos.
  • Some functions do not work satisfactorily.
  • Video require conversion before use.
  • Battery life is short, although should be sufficient for one day's use.

External discussion by users - MisticRiver