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MixZing Media Player: A media player defined by its widgets


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  1. mikolsic

    mikolsic New Member This Topic's Starter

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    Ever since I first put music on my microSD card, back when I had my T-Mobile G1, I--like many Android users--have felt that the stock Android player was lacking something. Particularly: a personality. No automatic album art retrieval, no genre listing, no dynamic playlists, a seemingly unpolished UI, and an unattractive, text-only widget leaves most users yearning for something more like their beloved iTunes. MixZing claims to fill in all of those gaps, and, to a certain degree, it does.

    MixZing boasts a glossy UI, genre listing, the ability to group albums by folder on the SD card, automatic album art retrieval, playlists based on your positive or negative ratings of songs in your library, and three Home screen widget sizes (two of which display album art). MixZing also boasts a few extras: free downloads of indie tracks, a lock-screen widget, links to song/artist info within the app, and an integrated video player. All of this sounds great, and it would be great, if most of these features worked all the time; sadly, they do not. Additionally, the app is plagued by pop-up ad banners and load times that are woefully slower than the stock player. So, let's jump right into it, shall we?

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    (A note: it is possible to close out the ad banners--though they will pop up again given adequate time; however, I have chosen to use pictures of the app with ads, and pictures of the widgets using songs the app couldn't find art for, in order to make a point. We can all imagine how great this would look without ads and with actual art, but it is important, I think, to see how the app will actually look a lot of the time.)

    The first time you open the app after downloading, you will be presented with a notification stating that MixZing will now scan your library of music, supposedly to learn each track in an effort to make its song recommendations actually work. Depending on how much music you have (I have a 16 GB microSD card nearly full of music), this can take a while. The notification does say that you can use the app while MixZing performs this background scan, but I wouldn't recommend it, as the already slow load times will be extended to the edge of your patience.

    MixZing does sport a nice, glossy-black UI with colored text on top of the black background. The first screen has some good-looking neon green text, but after that the text colors start to look less professional. As you can see in the Album and Track listing pictures, the main title (album or track) is displayed in a beige color, while the subtitles (artist and album/number of songs) are displayed in a blue that does not look very clean on top of the background.

    [​IMG]

    MixZing will download missing album art, but really only for mainstream music. You can see evidence of this oversight in the picture of my album listing (I have a lot of indie music). This particular issue actually extends to other areas of the app's usefulness, but it was also simply a big disappointment for me, since missing album art drives me up the wall and this feature was one of the main reasons I first decided to give MixZing a try.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Another major selling point of the MixZing app is its ability to create dynamic playlists for you based on tracks you "Like." In the app's player there is a green "+" and a red "-." Clicking the plus sign indicates you like the track and this is supposed to signal MizZing to play more tracks like it. This idea is similar to Genius in iTunes, or the way Pandora works, and it is a cool idea--when it works. Unfortunately, if you don't have an expansive library on your card (or if MixZing only knows a small fraction of your library), MixZing will have no choice but to start picking tracks that are more and more dissimilar to the first track. This will continue until MixZing finds a track it does know, and then the process will start over. In the end, I've found the whole process to feel like your average shuffle option, with the occasional mood swing.

    [​IMG]

    There isn't a whole lot to say about MixZing's integrated video player, except that it works. Well, that, and the videos are listed by title, withouth thumbnails; so, unless ou bother to rename the videos using a file manager or the stock video player (which has thumbnails anyway), you'll just have to remember when you shot whichever clip you are looking for--or guess.

    Now, what really separates MixZing from other players available on the Market is its widgets. The app comes with 3 widgets: a text-only widget, similar to the stock music widget; a small, album art-displaying widget; and a large, album art-displaying widget. The large widget is actually takes up an entire Home screen. All three widgets are the same glossy black as MixZing's UI, and they definitely add a bit of graphical awesomeness to any Home screen. If all of my music had album art, I would gladly sacrifice one of my 5 Home screens to MixZing's largest widget; unfortunately, the two album art widgets lose a little something when all they can display is a gray background with "mixzing" written in it. Still, even the text-only widget is nicer than the stock widget. As a bonus, those who pay the $9.99 to upgrade MixZing also get unlimited access to a fantastic lock-screen widget. (Sadly, I already used up my trial of the lock-screen widget, so I have no pic for you folks.)

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    MixZing is certainly the best alternative media player I've had the opportunity to try out on my Donut-running G1 and my Cupcake-running CLIQ, but I feel that its failings outweigh its positive points. MixZing does not recognize less popular artists, which creates problems with its dynamic playlist capabilities and prevents the download of all album art, it has a very mediocre video category, and the load times for artist/album/track lists are considerably slower than those of the stock player. A few glossy widgets isn't worth the lag, the ads, and the 5.02 MB on my phone.
     

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  2. Saxton2001

    Saxton2001 Member

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    can i change the song with the volume keys and/or pause the music with one of the other exterior keys?
     

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