UK Tech Reviews​​
HOME
BACKGROUND
Audio - Computers - Tablets - Headphones

Benjie K9 MP3 Player Review

I have had the opportunity to review a few inexpensive MP3 players recently and have generally been quite impressed with many of them as they clearly appear to put sound quality before pretty much anything else - and also kept their costs down as a result.  Whilst there’s nothing wrong with the build quality of these units, they certainly don’t have the same build quality and attention to fine detail that you find on Apple and perhaps Sony music players. In all fairness though these players cost many times - many many times more and basically offer pretty much the same basic function.

One player which really impressed me was the tiny Benjie S5. The sound quality produced from this tiny player is truly remarkable and I was very interested to see if their K9 model could match - or even beat it.

Externals

Externally the K9 is larger than the S5 but not much heavier. One of the differences you will notice straight away is the use of a colour LCD screen on the K9. With a claimed battery life of up to 80 hours, this is quite an achievement.  At first glance you could possibly mistake the player for one of the older Apple Ipod Nano players but rather than a thumbwheel, the K9 uses a more conventional diamond configuration for the buttons - rather like those found on some of the Sony MP3 players. The back of the unit is steel and the front feels like plastic. The colour screen is bright and has a reasonable resolution. There is an Micro SDCard Slot on one side whilst the other side and top of the unit have no buttons at all. The bottom of the unit has the headphone socket, Micro USB socket and power switch. Another thing which sets this player apart from the others is the inclusion of a loudspeaker which can go surprisingly loud.

Controls and Interface

The controls are a little strange. This is because the K9 tried to put its functions into five basic controls - up/down/left/right/OK. The only other control is the power switch. As a result, the controls have multi functions depending on how long you hold the button down for. I personally don’t like this approach but one advantage the K9 does offer is the ability to use the player in the dark. The S5’s touch interface is quite difficult to navigate in pitch black darkness because the controls are not backlit,

I found the buttons tended to rattle a little which was a bit of a shame but it doesn’t effect the basic functionality at all. Whilst the screen is bright and clear - even offering a reasonable resolution, the text size is too big and as a result, the screen can only show a limited amount of information. This is a shame because the screen really is quite clear and bright and could almost certainly be exploited more than it is here.

The speaker is activated by simply removing the headphones. Whilst it’s sound quality is rather dire, it does go surprisingly loud and, given its limitations and the price of the unit, can be kinda forgiven. In all fairness, I strongly suspect if Sony or Apple produced an MP3 player this size with a built-in loudspeaker, it wouldn’t really sound very much better.

The K9 has a reasonably powerful headphone amplifier and can certainly go loud enough for most portable headphones. I could detect a continuous low level amount of background static when using sensitive IEM’s - although this is not as obvious when using larger headphones.

Navigating through the interface does take some getting used to but it didn’t take too long for me to adapt. I found the sound quality to be fairly neutral but also a little lacklustre when compared to the S5. Basic playback modes are offered and the unit supports the creation of playlists - although in all fairness I didn’t really play with this feature all that much.

EQ is available and this includes user-defined settings which is a welcome feature. Activating EQ results in a drop in volume and I tend to usually leave the setting off. However, it’s always nice to have the option.

All in all this is a reasonable player but is not as good as their cheaper model when it comes to sound quality. However the built in speaker does make it stand apart from other Mp3 players out there and this allows me to offer a guarded recommendation.