JNC SSF-F6200
2.6Overall Score
Price (RRP): $149 Manufacturer: JNC

Reviewer: Anthony Fordham

Here’s the situation. You have a good hard disc drive MP3 player. Your car has MP3. You use your PC hooked to a hi-fi when you’re at home. You basically don’t need an MP3 player… until you get into cycling, or you head off for a skiing holiday and you want your tunes to go with you. The answer is to get a cheap and cheerful unit that does everything you need and nothing you don’t. And JNC steps up to the plate with the F6200.

Features

Basically, it’s an MP3 player with a 2GB flash memory chip on board. Because extras are so cheap to install these days, it also plays WMA audio. And there’s even video support, although it’s a bit odd. Many Chinese CE products support the MTV “standard” (we use the term loosely) – it’s sort of MPEG4, but doesn’t conform to that standard entirely. In the case of this player, video is handled by a format called AMV. Fortunately, conversion software is included.

Naturally the unit handles voice recording, but there’s no FM radio which is a bit disappointing. There are also seven EQ presets but don’t expect awesome fidelity.

Finally, there’s a feature you’ll probably never use – the ability to upgrade the flash chip. You can pull it out and click in a new one with a higher capacity. It’s unlikely you’d ever do this though, and 2GB is plenty for your “other” MP3 player anyway.

Software

Managing your files on the F6200 is as simple as dragging and dropping using Windows Explorer. Since the unit acts like a removable drive, you can also use Windows Media Player to make the dragging and dropping a little more intuitive.

JNC includes conversion software to make your movies and clips into AMV files. The resolution of the display? It’s 96 x 64. So not exactly HD. But you can still see the little people dancing about, and audio is perfectly serviceable. So if you just can’t go 24 hours without, say, the cricket, you can convert and upload a classic match or two.

The good news – because the image is so small, a 30 minute video clip will only take up about 80MB of space. So you can fit a LOT of Simpsons episodes on this thing.

The bad news – we couldn’t get the AMV converter to install under Vista. It worked fine on the XP machine, but no joy with Microsoft’s new OS. Fortunately there are alternate AMV converters that do work, available if you’ve already made the switch.

Performance

Thanks to the proliferation of standard MP3 decoding ASICs (that’s Application Specific Integrated Circuit, dontcherknow) the audio quality from this otherwise cheap little unit is perfectly good. It’s difficult to spot the difference between this and the more expensive units actually, unless you’re using any of the EQ settings.

The included earphones are junk, of course, but with the Sony EX Monitor earphones things perked up considerably.

The screen isn’t especially crisp and the interface isn’t especially easy to use, but push enough buttons and you will get to your track, eventually. Even video works, though you will need to squint.

Conclusion

This is a simple player that we wouldn’t recommend do the bulk of your MP3 work. Essentially, you’re paying $90 for the flash chip inside, $20 for the MP3 decoder, and $40 for the case. It’s a tough case though.

Because of that toughness, the F6200 is a good choice if you need a cheap and basic lightweight player that you won’t mind too much if it gets smashed to bits when you wipe out for the fifteenth consecutive time in the Columbia Terrain Park at Blue Cow.

JNC SSF-F6200
Price (RRP): $149 Manufacturer: JNC
Cheap and cheerful. Solid case can take a kicking. Flash memory can be upgraded.
Software doesn't work under Vista. Video playback only via AMV. No radio and absolutely titchy display.
Overall
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Value for money
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Ease of Use
2.6Overall Score
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