The MaxMovie comes from German manufacturers, Maxfield, and they’ve billed it as a multicodec music player, with 1024 MB of memory – not the consumer friendly branding you’d necessarily expect from something called the MaxMovie.
Its main point is the number of formats it accepts, the size and the added extras it comes with. As with most added extras, they range from the useful to the truly useless.
When you take the MaxMovie from the box, the first thing you notice is the size. Out of a fairly bulky box emerges something that’s small enough to get lost amongst all the paraphernalia you get with it. It’s only a little larger than a box of matches. It’s very light, which explains why it comes with a belt clip and arm band for active types. Whilst not supported by the likes of Nike+, it is smaller and lighter than the iPod Nano, making it extra-suitable for exercise.
Adding files to the player is a simple case of dragging them and dropping them into the removable drive that shows up in Windows Explorer or Mac Finder (it is Mac compatible). It’s possible to transfer music as WMA both DRM protected and not, MP3 files, whilst video support is from MP4 and DivX, and finally you can load JPG and AVI files. Phew.
There is also an FM radio built in, which you can record from. I racked my brains for a time when this might be useful, but since the days of recording the top forty are over thanks to Limewire, I drew a blank. It’s also got a voice recorder, which I think is another non-starter.
With the up side of being compact, come the down. The screen is just 1" square, so there is absolutely no point in trying to look at photos or video clips on it – it’s just too small. It also means that the user interface is, to put it lightly, a nightmare. There are two few buttons doing too many things, all of which they try to show on the screen (see the picture to the left). The menus themselves some people will love and others will hate – essentially it works in the same way as Explorer, with the files collapsing into one another – I found this really unattractive and basic, but there is an argument for familiarity I admit.
The buttons were unresponsive – it was really difficult to get the player to pause voice recording, despite jabbing at the play/pause button several times. It also turned up default set to German. Navigating to the Settings/language/ English version took all my secondary school knowledge and then some.
Bizarrely, the packaging says that the player is compatible with "all major music stores like musicload and AOL". There’s an obvious point here about its incompatibility with iTunes – I can’t figure out if they’ve got away with it by not including a comma, but either way it’s pretty misleading.
In our opinion
When the MaxMovie first appeared, it drew positive comments about the size and weight, as well as the non-fussy design. Even loading it with media was pain free. However, when I came to actually use this in the way God intended I completely fell out of love (or lust as I now realise it was). It’s just too small to work – there are too many functions available from too few buttons, and most of the functions aren’t effective on the player anyway, unless you have a particular love of 1" square photos. For £150 upwards, it’s a little more than a fairly pricey USB drive.