My music player has sunk


My Meizu Mini M6 has died a tragic death as a result of being left in my shirt pocket, which in turn was - with the rest of my shirt - in the laundry. I’ve had it for three years, so this would be a good time to review.

My favorite thing about the Mini was the cost. When I bought it, it was far cheaper than comparable players, at ~400₪ for 8GB. For a player with good video support, it was a steal. Other pros it had include:

  • Great screen. I used to watch TV shows on it quite a bit
  • Great audio quality, especially in the lower range - very important for a bass guitarist
  • Perfect OS compatibility - shows up as a Mass Storage device, just drag your files over. This is also how firmware upgrades are performed
  • EBook reader, of sorts
  • Quite small and very thin

However, the player is full of quirks:

  • Slow startup time. This is compounded by the fact that to turn it on, you have to press the “Play” button for about 3 seconds - too much less or too much more, and it won’t start up.

    This is even worse when unplugging it from USB - it would rebuild the library every time, even if you were just charging it.

  • You can’t turn the player on when it’s connected to USB. When it’s off, connecting it to USB is for charging only - to access the filesystem, you have to disconnect it, turn it on, and connect it again. (…not that the player is functional when in it’s plugged in…)

  • A few podcast niceties would be very easy to implement and extremely helpful. There’s no way to separate podcasts from the rest of the music, so you don’t get “This Week In Tech” when you put it on “All Music at random” mode. Also, the player doesn’t keep track of positions within audio streams, other than the last played one.

  • There’s no way to delete a song from within the player.

  • The interface is very inconsistent, with the video and audio sections having completely different key bindings. Long presses and short presses have very different meanings (but the length isn’t all that different), so you have to be very careful.

  • Pressing various key during startup had interesting, non-obvious effects, such as rebuilding the music library or formatting the player without asking for confirmation. This isn’t in the official documentation, and even if it were - that’s a very bad misfeature.

  • The newer version of the player, which I have, did away with the bottom “play” button, and moved it to the bottom of the 4-way D-pad, instead of the “Enter” key. The “Enter” key was replaced with a tap on the d-pad. Unfortunately, such a tap is very similar to a volume change drag, and even if it weren’t - is very easy to perform by accident.

One more feature that I would have liked is one I’ve only seen in the iPod (which I despise for a variety of reasons) - the iPod keeps track of which songs you’ve played all the way through, and remembers that you “like” them - this information is later used when building playlists, and is integrated into iTunes playlists as well.

Now, I might be going to a long course soon, one which will specifically mean plenty of bus time. So go ahead, guys - recommend a player. :)