Zebronics Zebmate Cinema 3.0+
MRP: Rs 3450
Street Price: Rs 2580 (Flipkart.com)
These are rough days for PMPs as smartphones have eaten into their market. To survive, then, they either have to be as impressive and feature packed as the iPod Touch, or very affordable. Zebronics' Zebmate Cinema 3.0+ belongs to the latter category. This tiny media player is targeted at those stuck with basic phones, and are in no mood to jump on the smartphone bandwagon.
Design And Build Quality
The retail box contains the player, earphones, pouch, neckband, and a charger with detachable USB cable. The device measures 3.6" (l) x 2" (w) x 0.4" (d) and weighs in at 52 grammes. The glossy black face panel houses a touchscreen and a Home button. As a whole, the design is sober, if not elegant. It feels comfortable to hold and fits well in the pocket. The build quality is just fine for the price. Finally, it features a microUSB port, 4 GB onboard memory, microSD card slot, and a 3.5 mm jack that doubles up as a TV Out.
The PMP's 3" resistive touchscreen has pixel dimensions of 400x240. Being a video player, it could have benefitted from a larger display. The screen brightness can be set in the range of 1 to 5, but anything below 5 looks too dull for comfort. What hurts visibility more is the reflective nature of the screen. The viewing angles aren't good either.
The UI is straightforward and is segregated into four sections on the homescreen - Video, Music, Ebook, and Photo. Additionally, tapping on an arrow reveals rest of the options including recorder, FM, and interface themes. The photo viewer's UI is a mystery, and can be frustrating if you run out of patience easily. It took me a couple of hours to find out that tapping on the left or right part of the screen is a way to navigate through the images. Moreover, I had no clue about the menu bar bearing the Back button and other controls until I inadvertently hit the bottom of the screen.
My main gripe here is with the touchscreen, which is a pain to get used to. However, once you become comfortable with the amount of pressure needed to register an input, it's not that hard to use.
Loading media onto this device doesn't require any annoying synchronisation software. Just drag and drop files in the PMP's memory and you're ready to go. As an icing on the cake, the transfer rate of the device is great as well.
The music player sorts songs by Artist, Album
, and Genre
. It features equaliser presets, as well as an option for creating a custom preset. Supported file formats include MP3, WMA, FLAC, AAC
, and AC3
. The sound quality of the device is very good through the bundled earphone. Surprisingly, it deteriorates when hooked to expensive aftermarket earphones.
Zebronics hasn't forgotten to include an FM radio, which works quite well. Not only can you save the FM stations, but you can also record the broadcast.
Coming back to video playback, the Cinema 3.0 managed to play every file I threw at it. Be it MP4, DivX, XviD, MPEG4, WMV
, or even MKV
files. I loved this player's ability to handle 720p videos effortlessly. Video playback is smooth and even dragging the progressbar to cue videos is surprisingly responsive. On the other hand, the fast forwarding \ rewinding mechanism is far from perfect. It calls for the reflexes of a professional CounterStrike
player to stop where you want. One more annoying thing is that the volume control refuses to cooperate with you at times. Zebronics should have simply fitted a physical volume rocker instead of the lousy touch controls.
The player's TV Out feature works well, and it's great to have an option to hook it up to a big screen whenever possible. However, you'll have to buy a cable for that. Don't worry though, you can find cheap Chinese ones for as low as 60 bucks in Mumbai.
The device also has a so called Ebook reader, but it doesn't support the PDF format. However, it is useful, if you happen to have collection of books in TXT and SRT format. Case in point, the free ebooks available through Project Gutenberg
The built-in 700 mAh battery provides enough juice to play music continuously for more than 8 hours. On the other hand, I was able to watch 720p videos for over 2 hours and 35 minutes. The battery performs well enough to watch a movie in one go.Verdict
Lets face it, the Zebmate Cinema 3.0+ is no match for PMPs from Apple, Sony, and Sandisk. But Zebronics isn't trying to compete with them either. The company offers a player delivering 720p video playback, good audio quality, and more importantly, a TV Out feature at an unbeatable price of Rs 2680. This is the very reason why I'd recommend this player to anyone who doesn't care much about UI, but seeks an ultra-cheap yet capable media player.Features:
4/5Design And Build Quality:
3/5Value For Money: