We hate to admit it, but we sometimes judge a book by its cover. Kingston’s K-PEX 100 is a case in point—this flash media player sat in the Lab unopened and unloved for weeks.
When we heard that this doodad not only outputs music, video, and FM radio but also displays digital photos, serves as a USB mass storage device, and plays games, we consigned it to our Bass-O-Matic bin, a place for gadgets that are crammed full of features but don’t necessarily perform any one of them particularly well. But now that the 2GB K-PEX 100—which includes a free 256MB miniSD card—is street-priced at $125, we deemed it worth a look.
Once we finally opened the box, we discovered that the K-PEX 100 can act as a USB host, which means you can plug it into your digital still or video camera and download pictures and clips straight into the player. But the novelty of this feature wore off when we realized the K-PEX 100’s two-inch LCD is no larger than what’s built into most cameras. The fact that the screen offers poor off-axis viewing and can take up to three seconds to refresh when displaying still photos is a further buzz kill.
After listening to tunes ranging from Alison Krauss’s aching “Ghost in This House” to the Ass Ponys’s raucous “Love Tractor,” we concluded that the K-PEX 100 is at best a third-string music player. Boasting a signal-to-noise ratio of just 85dB, it delivers anemic audio so lifeless it wouldn’t excite a hyperactive three-year-old tokin’ on an Albuterol inhaler. We can say the same for the built-in games—most cell phones come with better titles.
We’d score the K-PEX 100 even lower if it weren’t for its USB-host feature and the fact that its memory can be expanded via a miniSD slot. These are good ideas that we’d like to see better executed.
HOLE IN A BOX
Doubles up as a USB storage device, and has a ton of different options for your entertainment needs...
HOLE IN A BUCKET
...although it doesn't really excel at any of said options. And the audio sucks, too.