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Other specifications aren't sacrificed in the name of low cost either. The ICE not only plays music, but also Xvid and MP4 files on its screen. These look pretty good, too, though you do have to convert files to its native resolution using the supplied conversion software first. It's only able to play back at 18 frames per second, so it can't match the competing iPod and P2 players for smoothness either. But it would be churlish to criticise something so cheap for 'only' being able to play back 18 frames per second when its screen is larger than both the iPod Classic's 2.5in and Sansa View's 2.4in ones, and in fact watching video footage on it isn't nearly as painful an experience as you might expect. In fact I was able to watch a 40 minute episode of Heroes on the player without feeling any eye strain at all.
In addition to the video capability the ICE manages to pack in an FM tuner with recording ability, a tinny built-in speaker and an external mic which you can use to turn the player into an impromptu dictaphone. There are a couple of games included - a space-invaders-style shoot 'em up and an overhead 2D tank game - and they look pretty good for MP3 player games. And if 8GB for 60 quid isn't enough for you, you can also add to it using the microSD slot at the bottom edge of the device, for a potential maximum capacity of 10GB.
The ICE even manages to sound pretty good. Though it can't match the best Sony and Creative players at this price point, hook up a decent set of headphones and you do get a pretty good punch to rock music, and decent atmosphere to classical and live music. It stands up well to SanDisk's Sansa View and Clip players - which are more in its budget ball park. The boxed headphones are pretty dreadful, though, and make it sound like you're listening to music in a small cardboard box.
There are compromises, however, which are perhaps inevitable given the budget price. The first I'll address is that touch screen, which has clearly not been designed with fingers in mind. Sometimes you have to prod the on-screen icons more than once to get them to respond, and once you get past the (relatively) large icons of the player's home screen, you're faced with a folders-and-files view that requires either long nails or very skinny fingers to work. It's probably why the ICE is supplied with a stylus - the only dedicated MP3 player I've ever used that has one.
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