With most MP3 player makers concentrating on the desirability of their devices (see our review of LG's Shine FM37, for example), we were extremely surprised to come across this Maxfield player which seems to do its best to buck the trend. The Max-Ivy looks okay on Maxfield's website, but is an ugly sight close up.

As well as looking cheap and feeling nasty, the Max-Ivy’s makers have the nerve to charge as much money for it as for a quality brand such as Creative. It’s slim, lightweight, sleek even but is elongated and is bound to protrude from your shirt pocket. You could use the rubberised belt clip Maxfield supplies, but as soon as we touched this particular accessory we found ourselves wanting to wash our hands.


Therer’s a mains charger supplied along with the Maxfield Max-Ivy (though it kept slipping out from the player’s socket) and you can hook up this MP4 player to either Mac or PC. It has a built-in voice recorder and can play music and display photos. You’ll need to download Mediacoder to import and play video, while slideshows are limited and play only the music you are currently listening to. You get the usual array of play modes, and Maxfield bundles Magix MP3 Maker which goes some way to make up for the lack of control over playlists.

You need to activate the backlight (not the simplest job) in order to distinguish between controls. The Maxfield Max-Ivy is agonisingly slow to start up and, when it’s finally ready, the playback quality doesn’t recompense. Still, the Max-Ivy is easy to operate in either hand, and the magnesium casing should (unfortunately) withstand any attempts on its life. There’s an alarm clock and sleep mode, plus the firmware is upgradable. However, there’s no line-in recording, no radio and a playback time between charges of 17 hours.

Maxfield Max-Ivy: Specs

  • 4GB (internal) audio, photo, video flash player
  • Windows 98 SE (with driver)/Me/2000/XP and Mac OS X
  • Magix MP3 Maker
  • supports MP3, WMA, WMA-DRM10, OGG, Jpeg, Mpeg4
  • USB 2.0
  • rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • 1.8in LCD (65,000 colours)
  • equalizer (6 presets)
  • stereo headphones
  • power adaptor
  • rubber case
  • carrying strap
  • 108x49x8.5mm
  • 42g
  • 2-year warranty
  • 4GB (internal) audio, photo, video flash player
  • Windows 98 SE (with driver)/Me/2000/XP and Mac OS X
  • Magix MP3 Maker
  • supports MP3, WMA, WMA-DRM10, OGG, Jpeg, Mpeg4
  • USB 2.0
  • rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • 1.8in LCD (65,000 colours)
  • equalizer (6 presets)
  • stereo headphones
  • power adaptor
  • rubber case
  • carrying strap
  • 108x49x8.5mm
  • 42g
  • 2-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

Were it an inexpensive player, we may be prepared to forgive the Maxfield Max-Ivy some of its shortcomings. As it is, we’re amazed Maxfield thinks anyone would stump up almost £100 for this ugly and ineffective player.

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