Not many players have achieved a design as slim as the iPod Nano, but Maxfield’s new Max-Ivy threatens to take on Apple in terms of both looks and features. At just 8.5mm thick it’s just as slim, albeit a bit larger, and offers multimedia users a video player, voice recorder and photo viewer on top of audio playback. Capacities range from 1GB to 4GB.
The sleek black design illuminates with attractive, blue, touch-sensitive buttons that include an innovative slider control for adjusting volume or scrolling through menus. It’s a very stylish approach, but we found the surface somewhat unresponsive; you often find yourself hitting the same button repeatedly until it has the desired affect.
Through trial and error we did notice that you can force the controls to light up with a quick flick of the on/off switch, which does solve the problem somewhat. Putting these issues aside, most people will find the Max-Ivy pretty straightforward to use. The menus are easy enough to browse through and you can listen to music while you view photos or other files on the player.
You’ll find typical equalizer settings for adjusting audio and fairly basic control over photo and video viewing. Sound quality is very good and video files, thanks to a handy conversion utility available from the Maxfield site, are very straightforward to manage. Where other players can make a meal of file conversion and format support, Maxfield’s software converts a range of files to the correct format and size for the player before transferring them across.
In addition you’re supplied with the Magix MP3 Maker application, a tool for managing, converting and transferring audio files. This is perhaps to make up for the lack of control over music when it’s actually on the player; you can’t build your own playlists and don’t have a lot of options for rating or organising your tunes. This is in keeping with the other features, which all work well but are a little light on the ground in terms of control.
You’ll get around 14 hours of playback from the built-in battery, which is about standard these days, and you also get a thin, rubberised case to give the player some protection against knocks and scratches.
In providing additional features that are missing on rivals like the Nano, Maxfield has produced a style solution for those interested in watching video on the move, and while it’s not particularly cheap, those who do want these sorts of features without sacrificing looks will find the Max-Ivy to be one of few players on the market at the moment that delivers.