The display is tiny, but as the Q-BE is using an O-LED display it is bright and easy to read. The main problem is that the tiny dimensions make reading track names and even artists quite laborious at times.
Apart from the headphones you only get a special USB cable – that connects to the headphone jack of the Q-BE – and a protective rubber skin case – although this will only protect the sides of the player – in the box alongside a CD with some audio ripping software and a manual.
Oddly enough I couldn’t get the Q-BE to be recognised by my office machine, although it installed flawlessly on my PC at home. Transferring files to it isn’t lightning fast either as it has a limited USB connection speed due to the special connector. Still at 25Mbit/sec it’s not slow, but it is a lot slower than the USB 2.0 standard. The player is also charged via the same USB cable, so unless you have regular access to a computer, you won’t be able to charge it.
The Q-Be might be the world’s smallest MP3 player, but there are many small players on the market that offers the same features with vastly improved navigation. It has all the features and more than I expected from such a tiny player, but if it’s a nightmare to access those features, they don’t count for much.
It is not the most affordable MP3 player around either as the 512MB model would set you back £74.99 – available in black, pink and blue – and the 1GB model is £99.99 – which comes in silver or red. The 256MB version that we were supplied won’t be sold. Considering that you can get a 2GB iPod nano for £139 and be treated to superb navigation control and iTunes integration, the Q-BE doesn’t look like a compelling option.
The Q-BE shows how small something can be, but its square shape makes it awkward to use and uncomfortable to carry around in your pocket. It’s not a bad MP3 player by any means, and although size definitely does matter, it shouldn’t be at the expense of usability.