The 12 Days of Christmas Must Haves is back! Every year we bring you my favourite stores, items and vintage orientated gifts for Christmas. This year is no different, and we're starting with the fabulous MixPixie and their retrofabulous mixtape mp3 players. I loved this as a stocking filler for the guys and so in that vein I've asked Himself to review this, as he's a writer I figured he shouldn't be too put out!
I stood on the Ballymoney to Belfast platform looking down at my left hand. Contact Support, Error 5, Contactez le support technique. It was Friday 30th September 2013 and my 120GB Microsoft Zune had packed in while in the middle of Dennis Wilson’s Farewell which, despite the tragic loss, was not without a degree of irony.
Farewell my friend
My beautiful friend
This meant that I had to listen to train noises… damn. Since then I’ve flirted with several different MP3 players without ever really committing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an Apple hater. I own an iPhone… 6 Plus don’t you know! But at the time of purchasing my first Zune (32GB) the iPod was fat, clunky and worked in the same way a payphone in classical Noir did. The Zune offered something different and then it was gone. Dead.
It was another Friday when the missus presented me with the tiniest little cassette tape I ever did see. One branded “Himself’s Mix”, I assumed it was for me and thanked her accordingly. I’m a slightly OCD kinda guy so when considering how to go about loading, listening and reviewing I opted for keeping it loyal to the era of the quirky yet antiquated appearance – which is my round the houses way of saying everything that went upon its little frame was once available on cassette. Hello classic rock! My other beautiful friend.
What Mix Pixie do really well with this little MP3 player is compress much into little. The cassette tape is barely 2.5cms wide, smaller than the smallest Nano, but delivers an easy to use, easy to store music archive. Once fully charged (it may take two hours) the Mix Tape will commence playing your beats immediately. Those of you who remember The Breakfast Club un-nostalgically will be more than familiar with the functionality adorning the front of the cassette. Stop – back – pause/play – forward. Unsurprisingly this user interface throws up a couple of “problems” that Generation Duckface will find impossible to comprehend; these being the user’s inability to programme playlists or simply browse through tracks without playing Name That Tune… which is a reference they won’t get either.
For me this wasn’t necessarily an issue that I couldn’t get over. I’m not only a lover of all the music I would put on my MP3 player but also (mentioned above) a lil bit OCD so if I were, for example, loading up my Mix Tape with “the hottest band in the world” KISS! It would be their discography, likewise ACDC, Blue Oyster Cult or Motorhead. I’m in it for a good time and a long time (not to mention will name that turn in three, Lionel).
The actual biggest issue is the battery life, which is understandable really when you’re used to hitting play as you leave the house in the morning and only dare tap stop when you’re back through the door having clocked up another day/another dollar (minus tax, National Insurance and pension contributions). The three hour battery life is impressive for its size but the fact that you can’t charge and play is a little bit of a tearjerker and leads to much silence on an eight hour day. Don’t confuse this issue with a bad review, or bad product - I am impressed by the little gem. One thing that really bowled me over was the consideration the design team gave to memory. The Mix Pixie MP3 player comes with a 2GB Micro SD card which is enough for 12 KISS albums, not massive I know but if you were to invest less than a tenner on a 32GB Micro SD card you’d suddenly be rivalling iPods valued in the high three figures (for capacity, if not battery life).
If there’s someone who is a little technologically impaired (I’m not by the way) or a little rough with their tech (my younger brother was known as Iron Hands from the age of 3 to 22) this is a great little gift for them.
Low in sticker price, high in potential with more than a waft of memories of an era when Laserdisc, Mini Disc and Zune hadn’t even been thought of, let alone sneered at with derision. A fantastic, fun music player and the perfect little companion for getting from A to De-troit Rock City!
Well folks that's all for day one of the Must Haves! Come back again for Day two tomorrow!