Mustek PVR-H140 £199
1st Jan 2006 | 00:00
A budget player that can't avoid showing its shortcuts
The PVR-H140 comes in at the budget end of the personal media player market. Priced at just over £200, it has got a large 40GB hard disk, a better than average 3.6in LCD screen and the ability to record direct from a video or audio source.
But, as is often the case with low-cost kit you get very much what you pay for and Mustek appears to have taken a few shortcuts in order to keep the cost down
The screen isn't capable of producing anything approaching its rivals' video quality. It shimmers slightly, and the line structure of the TFT panel is clearly visible.
Then there are the format woes. Unlike most PMPs, the PVR-H140 forces you to convert videos to its own special .ASF format. The software for this is bundled with the player. Most video types will convert successfully, but it's a slow and annoying process, especially with larger files. With most of its rivals allowing you to simply drag and drop files into them via Windows Explorer, the Mustek's system seems unnecessarily archaic and clunky in comparison.
All that glitters is not gold
While we can't deny that this seems like a bargain, there are simply too many things going against the PVR-H140 for us to recommend it. Even the design is poor - this is a chunky, ugly piece of kit that won't attract many admiring looks on the morning commute. Our advice is to save your pennies a bit longer for one of the far superior options around.