On the K-PEX's left spine is the USB port. Unfortunately, it's a nonstandard port, so you can't just use any old cable. More positive is the miniSD slot on the right spine, where you can expand the K-PEX's capacity to up to 1GB. The first 4,000 2GB players shipped will include a free 256MB microSD card (about a $20 value). Bundled with the player are earbuds, a nonstandard USB cable, a USB host cable, a rubbery protective case, and a software CD.
The K-PEX GUI has a notably old-school feel that reminds us of earlier Archos products; you can even change the font to one of 12 Windows 3.1-style colors. The playback screen is packed with file and setting info and ID3 tag info scrolls across the screen. One should note that this UMS device is folder based (ideal for those who can neatly organize their music), so you can't browse for tracks by song or album.
Performance is mostly positive. Bootup time is lengthy (30 seconds), though system navigation is mostly hiccup free. We did notice an audible pop when we backed out of the playback screen into the current music folder, and we did notice a firmware bug that skips you to the next track when you press the reverse button (hitting reverse again will take you where you wanted).
Photos and video look nice on the TFT display, though larger photos will take a bit of time to render on the screen. Though you won't get thumbnail views, there is a standard slide-show mode. The Windows-only Kingston MPEG transcoder software is a lightweight drag-and-drop utility that works well enough. Transcoded files have the .mpx extension. Our collection of unprotected WMVs worked fine, though we had trouble with one of our standard AVI files.
We're pretty pleased with the sound quality, which was comparable to our Creative Zen Vision:M. We're also fans of the real-time EQs. The included earphones aren't shabby, either. Battery life is rated for 17 hours per charge playing audio. CNET Labs got about 15 hours of battery life per charge playing back MP3s.
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