When talking about MP3 Players, I usually put them into different categories typically based on their storage capacity.  The 1-2GB MP3 players are usually simple and nature and are meant to be on the go and be able to listen to a few songs here and there.  the 4-8GB MP3 players can store quite a bit more songs.  And the last categories are the ones that are 20GB and above that can pretty much handle your entire music collection.  These MP3 players vary in functionality.  Typically, the larger the capacity of the MP3 player, the more likely it is to have features such as viewing pictures or even videos.  The smaller capacity MP3 players are more for basic music playing and will be lucky to find a FM Tuner or voice recording capabilities.  The whole point is that MP3 players come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.  It is best to determine what your needs are before looking at what is available in the market.  Are you the type of person who just wants to be able to listen to a few songs on your free time or do you want to be able to carry your entire music collection and be able to listen to your music all the time?



It has been a while since the last time we looked at an MP3 player.  No, it’s not an Apple iPod….not a Creative Zen…..not even a Samsung player.  Then what is it?  It’s a Coby.  Coby?  Haven’t heard of them before?  Chances are, the majority of you have not.  Maybe because you don’t see much advertising of their products, if at all, on the radio, TV, etc.  The only time I have heard of the company Coby is when relating them to headphone or sound products.  They are actually a manufactuer of consumer electronics products based in New York City.  But after looking at the wide range of products that they have, including the product we will be reviewing today, it has definitely changed my view of Coby in a positive way.  Today, we will be taking a look at the Coby MP-C951 MP3 player.  This MP3 player has a capacity of 20GB and is capable of music, video, pictures, and more.



A Look at the Player

The player itself has a very simple design yet is more complex underneath.  The front of the player has a black glossy finish.  The back of the player including the sides are all white.  Either way, all the sides of the player are smooth.



The bottom of the player is where you charge the device or plug in the USB cable to your computer.  The player can fit two kinds of the smaller USB connectors.



At the top of the player is a simple sliding button and both a headphone port, line-in port, and the integrated microphone.  Slide the button one way and it will turn on the MP3 player.  If you slide it the other way, it will lock the device so the device will ignore button presses and prevent the player from staying on all the time.




There’s not much to see at the back of the player other than the Coby branded logo and a number indicating the storage capacity of the device.  The layout of the lettering on the back is reminiscient of the iPod and even the Zune.



Using the Player

Turning on the player is when you will see the beauty of the buttons.  You will immediately realize that the buttons will glow red and that they are touch buttons.  There is a directional pad with an ‘OK’ in the center.  There is also a Play/Pause button, a Menu button, and a Record/A/B button.  These are typical button functions on any MP3 player therefore, further explanation is not needed


When turning on the player, you are greeted with a red Welcome Screen.




The main menu of the device has the Music, Video, Picture, eBook, FM Tuner, Folder Explorer, and Settings categories.


Playing music is the most essential and critical function of an MP3 player.  If it doesn’t play music well or is difficult to use, then the product has failed to act as an MP3 player.  Using the player includes how easy it is to put music onto the device as well as being able to navigate to a song and playing it back.  It should also be easy to change simple settings such as volume settings, going backward and forward, and repeating the process over again for a different song.  When using the Coby C951 player, this product exceeded my expectations in terms of playing music.  To transfer music, all you need to do is plug the MP3 player into your computer.  The player will be detected as a removable drive.  Then you just drag and drop your music files into the root directory.  You can drag your files as is, or put them in folders.  The player will sort and label them based on the file name, which means it is a good idea to make sure the file names of your music is in a good shape before transferring them to the player.  To play a song, you just select the song from the song list and press play.  If you have an enormous number of songs, you just keep your thumb on the ‘down’ button and it will scroll very fast through your list of songs until you find the right one.


When playing the song, the interface is slightly more cluttered than an iPod interface, but it is still fairly organized.  You can see the typical song name, album, and playing time bar.  To the right shows the current volume level as well as the bit rate and sampling of the song file.  The top of the screen shows the playing mode, the time, followed by the battery life indicator at the top right.  To go back to the menu, you can just touch and hold down the menu button.



When using the FM tuner, you can scan for a radio station by either holding the left or right arrow buttons. When scanning for radio stations, I did notice it skipped major radio stations several times, but when I scanned backward to try and find them again, it was ok.  When turned to a radio station, the sound was quite clear for a radio.  You can also easily set presets for stations if necessary.


The picture feature is used to only display JPEG files.  It takes several seconds to switch from one picture to another.  The voice recorder is more of a personal voice recorder; you can record hours of voice.  The voice recording feature is more of a personal recorder.  I found that it wasn’t able to capture voices beyond several feet.  The video and ebook feature, however, I found to be more of an afterthought.  The video support is only limited to AVI’s and the ebook is more of a ‘nice to have’ to read some text files, but really isn’t considered a listed major feature.





The product is very complete with a lot of extras included.  There is a soft neoprene case to hold the player and there is also a cloth to use to wipe off the fingerprints off the black side of the player.  A USB cable has been provided to allow you to connect the player to your computer and there is also a line-in cable to connect to a device such as speakers.  There is a very short USB extension cable and earphones included as well.  The earphones will satisfy most users and sound decent.  Others who are picky about sound may replace them with their own earphones or headphones.  Nevertheless, the accessories are still welcomed.  Lastly, there is a user manual, and a CD for the USB drivers just in case.  You will probably need to look at the user manual to figure out some of the functions if you get stuck.  The CD will only need to be used if you are using an older operating system such as Windows 98 or Windows 2000.






If you are looking for an MP3 player were you can easily drag and drop your files and just play your music, the Coby MP-C951 is for you.  It is a complete package packed with a bunch of features.  The strongest feature is its MP3 playing capabilities followed by the built in FM tuner.  I did a quick check on Amazon and found that this player is sold for around $220.  That is about the same price as a Zune which has a much stronger video capabilities.  But I think this player is much easier for those who just want to transfer their songs easily rather than having to use extra software.