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Misrepresented Capacity/Defective Memory in Unbranded Flash Memory Devices

Poisonous wheat gluten, unsafe tires, adulterated toothpaste, lead paint on toys, and poisonous cough syrup...? Apparently, misrepresented electronic devices aren't the worst products being exported from China recently. I should consider myself lucky, I guess. Anyway, here's my tale of woe...

12/16/10 update: 8GB "Spy" Pen

I took advantage of an offer from for an 8GB "Spy" Pen. This is a cute device that looks like a pen, but incorporates what's supposed to be 8GB of flash memory, a pinhole video camera, and audio recording. You charge it up via USB, and then it supposedly records up to 90 minutes of medium-quality video from a pinhole just above the pocket clip. Plug it into your USB and there's the file, sitting in a supposed 8GB flash memory drive. Very cute. Only $24.95 including shipping.
It never occurred to me that the device might have the same problem as I had seen and documented (below), lo these many years ago. But when I got it, I went through my usual protocol of reading the device on a non-Windows platform, to make sure there were no virii. And then I performed a test recording -- it worked. Very cool.
And then I ran testdrive.exe on it. Uh oh. It consistently fails. You can write 8GB, but during readback, it always fails.
I'm still waiting to hear back from, which is a sister website to We shall see if they stand behind the stuff they sell.
By the way, is apparently still selling this device, as of 12/16/10.

11/7/09 update: SDHC memory cards too!

I am sad to say that the fraudulent memory situation remains the same in late 2009 as it was 3 years previously. I purchased a 32GB card from an eBay vendor in mid-October 2009. It arrived earlier this week. The eBay listing, from a seller in China, claimed that the card's memory transfer performance is supposed to be "50x: 8.2MB/sec read rate - 7.7MB/sec write rate".

I tested the card with testdrive.exe and found what I expected to find

  1. On the first pass, the memory write speed was barely 2MB/sec for writing. To qualify for the "Class 6" SDHC label, a device needs to support at least 6MB/sec. On subsequent passes, write speed was 10 MB/sec. I have a suspicion that testdrive.exe might not be accurate on the first pass through a device.
  2. Much more troubling: The actual capacity of this device is 8GB, not 32GB. As with the fraudulently formatted MP4 players described below, this device has been purposefully formatted to misrepresent its actual capacity. This lets eBay buyers obtain a superficial (and false) confirmation that they received what they thought they purchased, simply because their device passes along the misrepresented capacity reported by the card. As soon as you try to use the card enough to reach past the first 8GB of the device, it fails.


I am awaiting the receipt of one more memory card from a vendor in China. We shall see if the pattern continues. No, I'm not a fool. I'm just curious, and I'm willing to risk a little money to find out what's going on.

As for the user id of the ebay seller who provided the fraudulently formatted card -- I'm not sure there's much point in disclosing it. eBay has proven that they don't care. You should assume that ALL flash memory sellers in China or Hong Kong are likely to be selling fraudulent merchandise. There's no point in focusing on one particular thief.

What you should know:

1. Virtually ALL unbranded MP4 players being sold on eBay during 2006 and early 2007 were fraudulently manipulated to report more storage than they actually have. These devices are coming out of China, and appear to have been purposefully manipulated by Chinese manufacturers or distributors with the intention of misrepresenting their value and functionality. I have to wonder whether the government of the People's Republic of China understands how much this practice is damaging the reputation of their electronics industry! As of October 2007, I don't know what proportion are still hacked -- you should still be concerned. (And just to prove it: On April 26, I was contacted by yet another defrauded buyer: An Aussie customer was ripped off by eBay seller red-vision, buying an 8GB device, but receiving a hacked 1GB device. And again, on July 4, 2007, I heard from a Cypriot buyer who was apparently ripped off in exactly the same way by the no-longer-registered eBay user showthepower.)

2. These players are, in my opinion, not worth the price (assuming you can get past issue #1 -- that most of them are hacked). I have no axe to grind on this: I eventually got an unhacked player and used it for 5-6 weeks before it broke after very light usage. These devices are badly designed and very badly manufactured. See my review below before purchasing one!

If you are contemplating the purchase of an unbranded MP4 player from eBay, I would strongly recommend against it. Unless you are extraordinarily careful, you will end up with less than you bargained for.

For your information, all evidence to date suggests that eBay user COLORDRIVES (Yong Kim) is selling mostly hacked MP4 players, and is then replacing them (usually with hacked and/or broken players!) only when customers catch him at it.

How can you test your player, to see if it's legitimate?

You now have TWO choices:

A: The Easy Way (but this only works on Windows)
  1. Download testdrive.exe (or if you've got Visual Studio, you can build it from the zipped source code)
  2. Open a command prompt window (Windows menu/Programs/Accessories/Command Prompt)
  3. Connect the player to your computer. An external drive (e.g., "Removable Disk E:") will appear.
  4. From the command prompt window, you're going to have to type in the pathname to the downloaded copy of testdrive.exe, followed by the drive letter that represents your player, e.g.
        c:\downloads\testdrive E
  5. The program will tell you how much free space your device is reporting. It will then fill that space with random data. Finally, it will read back that data, comparing it to what it wrote.
  6. A successful result should be pretty obvious, looking something like:
        C:\Documents and Settings\Russ>c:\downloads\testdrive e
        Drive e: reports that it has 960 megabytes free. Filling it...
         Writing 960 of 960

        Finished writing...

         Reading 960 of 960

        Drive e: seems to be working properly!
  7. A failing test should also be obvious, failing during the initial write, or during the readback from either a read error or a mismatch.
  8. NOTE: As of 10/18/09, testdrive.exe ought to be able to successfully test drives up to 1 terabyte in size.
B: The Hard Way (you'll have to scrape up a bunch of files)
  1. Connect the player to your computer. An external drive (e.g., "Removable Disk E:") will appear.
  2. Right-click the external drive, and select Properties. It will show you the amount of disk space that the device claims to provide. This will typically be what you expected when you purchased it. Make a note of the amount of available space on the drive.
  3. Create a subdirectory on the external drive, and call it "test"
  4. Assemble a bunch of files -- photographs are best -- on your computer that total to approximately the space available on the external drive. Copy them to the "test" directory on the drive. This step will generally appear to have worked just fine.
  5. Create a temporary directory on your computer's disk drive. Make sure you have enough space on your computer's disk drive to accommodate all the files on the MP4 player's external drive.
  6. Copy the "test" directory from the external drive to the temporary directory on your computer's disk drive. Don't celebrate yet: Usually, this step also appears to have worked correctly.
  7. Inspect the files that were copied back to your computer. This is why photograph files work so well: Under the Windows Explorer View menu, choose Thumbnails. If all the photographs show correct thumbnails, you are in luck. Your MP4 device is reporting the correct amount of memory. Delete the "test" directory, and enjoy your MP4 player! (Also, I would be VERY interested to hear your story. Email me at russ.mp4 at and let me know the eBay item number of your transaction -- or at least the capacity of your device and the seller's id.)
  8. If you get a lot of files that don't show thumbnails, and when you double-click them, the format is unrecognized, you have my sympathies: You're a fellow victim of fraud.

Note that you can perform the same test using audio (mp3, wma, etc.) files, too. You'll have to double-click these files to see if they play. Sample files from the beginning, middle, and end of the test directory. If all the files play successfully, then you've got a good MP4 player. If you experience complaints from your audio player that it doesn't recognize the format -- you've been ripped off.

Can I still use a hacked MP4 player?

Yes, but not in its hacked state. If you attempt to use the hacked MP4 player, you will experience problems that will eventually render it useless. The problem is that because of the way the memory in these devices ("NAND flash" memory) works, the software in the MP4 player will store data from new files on unused space on the disk. It will NOT reuse previously-used space until it has used all other space. This means that even if you keep your usage to less than the actual capacity of the device, it won't be long before it attempts to store new files in nonexistent memory.

What can you do?

  • Dispute your eBay transaction. If you provide adequate documentation (Paypal makes you jump through a lot of hoops, even though they are well aware of the ongoing fraud), you will get your money back. Well, actually, they will make you ship your device back to the seller (be sure to use a trackable shipping service!) at YOUR expense. And then you'll get your purchase price back -- NOT INCLUDING WHAT YOU PAID THE SELLER FOR SHIPPING. So, if you paid very little for the device, and paid inflated shipping charges, you will be out of luck. The seller might offer you a pittance to reimburse you for your "inconvenience" if you decide to keep the thing. You'll have to decide whether to take that deal.
  • If you decide to keep your hacked device, you should reformat it before using it any further. I haven't tried this yet, but apparently you will need the AMV Convert Tool which is probably also available on the mini-CDROM that came with your device. Install the tool and run MP3 PLAYER DISK TOOL. You can find instructions on how to do this at
  • Give the seller negative feedback -- but be aware that they will probably retaliate in kind.
  • If the seller displays the SquareTrade logo on their listings, click through that logo and report them!

My Sad Case #1: 1GB player hacked to report 4GB from e-britain

eBay user e-britain (aka ugoole, XU, ships 1GB device hacked to report 4GB

On December 8, 2006, I purchased what was purported to be a "4GB MP4 MP3 REC Radio USB player Case Z74" from eBay member "e-britain", whose location was supposedly Hong Kong (actually he's in Shenzhen, China, a nearby industrial city).

When I received my device I found that...

  • It only contains 1GB (gigabyte) of flash storage. Its Master Boot Record has been manipulated to report 4GB capacity. If you plug it in to a USB master, it will appear to have 4GB of capacity. You can put 4GB of files on it. Your only problem is that after the first gigabyte, none of the data will be there. The directory entries for the files after that first gigabyte are pointing into nonexistent memory! This is not an error. It is intentional fraud
  • The device does not have the capability to play MP4 media (which is why I always put quotes around the term MP4 player)

As of December 28, despite many reports directly to Paypal and eBay by dissatisfied customers, e-britain and his other eBay user ids (including ugoole) continue to sell bogus devices like this at a rate of dozens per hour, as he has for the last month or more.

Want some proof? Let's take a look. Here's the exterior of this device:

Notice the "4GB" sticker? Nice touch, no?

Now, here's the kicker. Carefully open the device and take a look at the chips on the inside. The lower chip is the microcontroller chip. The upper chip is a Samsung K9G8G08U0M. It's that upper chip that's at issue. It's an 8 gigabit flash memory chip. There are 8 bits in a byte. That's ONE gigabyte. Not 4 gigabytes. 4 gigabytes would require a 32 gigabit flash memory chip.

How do I know it's a 1 gigabyte part? The Samsung NANDFlash part name decoder says that this part number, K9G8G08U0M, breaks down as follows:

K9 NANDFlash memory
G MLC normal (i.e., a chip rather than a flash card)
8G 8 gigabits
08 word size is 8 bits, i.e. 8 gigabits = 8 bits x 1G = 1 gigabyte
U 2.7 to 3.6 volts
0 normal mode
M first generation

Want more information on this? Go take a look at

Oh, and remember the wonderful feedback system that's supposed to protect you on eBay? Well guess what happens if you give e-britain negative feedback for having defrauded you? He automatically gives you retaliatory negative feedback -- which doesn't do good things for you if you plan to sell on eBay. And it's darned difficult to get improper feedback withdrawn -- something I'm probably going to have to learn about pretty soon...

I filed a claim with Paypal's Buyer Protection Program. Paypal's exposure is pretty high on this one, and it's climbing all the time that eBay continues to allow e-britain and ugoole to sell bogus merchandise!

Here's the upshot: As of January 9, 2007, my Paypal "Buyer Protection" claim was resolved in my favor. Big surprise.

And the bad news? To get my refund, I was required to pay to ship this device back to the thief (Wong Shuk Hing, 1225, Tsuen Wan Post Office, NT, Hong Kong) at my own expense. And of course, unless I care to trust a thief, I have to use a shipper that can provide proof of delivery. I haven't found any that will charge less than $19. Looks like the bad guys win, and eBay and Paypal continue to profit from the scam, along with the direct thieves.

For international sales, eBay's rating system and Paypal's Buyer Protection Program are utterly illusory.

Next development: As of around 02:00 GMT on January 10, e-britain was no longer selling MP4 devices by auction. He was only listing them via "Buy it Now", at a high enough price ($86) that they won't move. He's probably just putting his eBay id (and 98.5% feedback rating) into suspended animation, until things cool off a little.
Later the same day, e-britain stopped listing ALL merchandise.
...and finally, e-britain made his feedback private, which prevents people from seeing why buyers have been complaining. Anyone who buys from a seller with private feedback deserves what they get -- or perhaps I should say, what they DON'T get!

Well, for my fellow suckers who decide to ship their item back to ScamLand, the least expensive trackable way to do it is with US Postal Service's Global Express Mail service.

DO NOT try to buy your label from Paypal Shipping. There are two good reasons:

  1. Paypal GEM shipping costs a dollar more than using the ($20 vs $19)
  2. More importantly, when you try to give Paypal your tracking number so you can move on with the Buyer Protection Plan claim resolution, they reject it! After talking to Paypal customer support on the phone, they explain that you have to buy the shipping somewhere else! Paypal's software doesn't recognize their own tracking IDs!

Updates: My returned item was delivered to the specified address on 1/22/07. And my $60 was refunded. So I only threw away $19 and several hours of my time (so far). I'm not finished with this, though. I continue to contact eBay members about this still ongoing fraud. And I've been trying to get media involved, to look into why eBay allows this to continue!

10/6/07: What's the Cantonese equivalent of chutzpah (yiddish for "temerity")? Starting in July, 2007, I started receiving monthly emails from e-britain, using the alias "Store724(XU)" ( Believe it or not, this sleazebag wants to start selling on eBay again, and he wants me to help him improve his feedback rating. After all, he says he "refunded" my payment. I reminded him that he did not refund my payment. Paypal Buyer Protection refunded my payment. And he gave me retaliatory negative feedback, to boot!
I have suggested that he refrain from contacting me further until he has withdrawn the undeserved negative feedback he gave me, and reimbursed me for my shipping and a little bit of my wasted time. He doesn't get it, though, and he continues to send these idiotic emails every month:

Dear victim (ok, he used my eBay id),
Your feedback may be out of the date limit of withdrawing.
Please send a message to confirm that you agree to withdraw the feedback through ebay message center,like "we agree to withdraw the feedback for the item250058944336 .
You can log in your ebay account and click this link:
Moreover, please leave follow up to the original feedback.
Then we can contact with ebay to withdraw the feedback mutually.

thank you

Consider all these aliases to be the same thief: e-britain,, ugoole, XU

There seem to be plenty of others from Hong Kong (some of whom are probably the same guy) who are selling what are probably the same hacked devices.

The only strategy I've come up with, to try to cool off this thieves' market, is to use most of my daily eBay member contact quota to warn buyers of 4GB MP4 players to test their devices BEFORE providing feedback -- and I explain how. I could use some assistance, though. You can only contact 5 to 10 eBay members per day (eBay is now limiting my daily contacts to 5). Here's what I've been sending to new "winners" of 4GB MP4 devices purported to be coming from Hong Kong:

Beware: I see you purchased an MP4 player from COLORDRIVES. Be very careful. Check out my website on the matter,

I purchased a 1GB MP4 player from COLORDRIVES, and it turned out to actually have only 1/2 GB -- but it had been hacked to report 1 GB.

Nearly ALL unbranded MP4 players currently being sold on eBay have been hacked in this manner, no matter where the seller resides. (Very few sellers are shipping legitimate merchandise.)

Please see my website for instructions on how to verify the capacity of your MP4 player. If it turns out that your player really does have the claimed memory capacity, could you please let me know?

If you're selling or gifting this device, please verify it first, to avoid getting a bad reputation!

Thanks, and good luck!

PS: I exhaust my daily allotment of eBay member contacts with messages like this. If you want me to reply, email me directly or don't hide your email address.

And I noticed a different scam going on today: A lot of these guys are now selling their items for a dollar or two (sometimes less), with $40 shipping. So what? So not only do they evade eBay auction value listing fees (eBay take note: now they're finally starting to rip YOU off, too!), but when you discover their fraud, they can immediately offer to refund your purchase price upon return of the "defective" merchandise! Not what you paid for shipping, you understand -- just the pittance you paid for the item. Cute, eh?

What should you do?

If you have just purchased a 4GB or larger MP4 player from a vendor in Hong Kong -- DO NOT just haul off and give them negative feedback before you've had a chance to verify that you've been defrauded! At most, if you're concerned, you might try contacting the seller and ask them to cancel the transaction due to your concern about the product. Feel free to point them at this web page, in your request.

If they cancel the transaction, give you a full refund, and refrain from giving you negative feedback, leave well enough alone. You dodged a bullet.

If they ship the product to you, please verify whether it really has the advertised capacity. If it does -- well, you should be very pleased. Let me know if you actually have received a 4GB player, and from whom you purchased it (I finally managed to buy a legit 4 gig player from a Hong Kong seller -- see below). If (as is more likely) you received a 1/2 gig, 1 gig, or 2 gig player instead of the 4 gig in the listing, your headache is about to begin. If you're satisfied with the price you paid versus the product you received, then leave things alone. You can decide whether to ding them with negative feedback. You might, at least, file a Paypal Buyer Protection dispute. They will usually offer a pittance (often around US$15) to placate you. Otherwise, expect to pay for trackable shipping back to Hong Kong, and you will generally get your full purchase price back -- assuming Paypal has reserved enough of the thieves' funds.

If you want to discuss this further, you can email me at russ.mp4 at Of course, you'll have to manually reconstruct my address in your email "to:" field. I get enough spam, as it is!

My Sad Case #2: 512MB player hacked to report 1GB from COLORDRIVES

(Subtitle: Fool me twice, shame on ME)

As I mentioned above, I decided to try purchasing a 1GB player from a seller in the U.S. I bought my player from eBay user colordrives, whose name is Yong Kim, and whose business address is 1725 S. Nogales St #108-7, Rowland Heights, CA 91748, near Diamond Bar, California, in Los Angeles County. Just like the 4GB player from e-britain, this one reported capacity per the eBay listing: 1 gigabyte in this case, with 976 megabytes available. So I stored 960 megabytes on the device, and then sampled some from beginning, middle, and end. Imagine my disgust. Lots of the files weren't working. And of course, here's why:

Outside aspect of another hacked player (this time, 512MB hacked to look like 1GB)

Guts of the hacked player. NAND Flash is a Hynix HY27UT084G2M, which according to the Hynix flash part number decoder is a 4 gigabit part, i.e., 512 megabytes -- NOT 1 GB as listed on eBay!. Oh, and there's a quality problem with this product design, as well. The discrete passive components at the lower right come covered in a few layers of hastily plopped-on masking tape of all things, to prevent short-circuiting against the metallic back cover.

...sigh... According to this web page the address of the seller is what appears to be a Korean remittance shop. When I call the shop (626-581-7799), I'm told that this address is a mailbox, rented by a customer (presumably, Yong Kim). The polite person I talked with on the phone indicated that he doesn't really care what kind of business, honest or otherwise, is conducted by his customers. He didn't even want to know the box number involved. Interestingly, this gentleman did recognize the name colordrives, so he may be more aware of what's going on than he lets on...

UPDATE (Feb 21, 2007): I have been sending 5 member contact messages per day to buyers of COLORDRIVES' MP4 players. So far, my responses have mostly fallen into two categories:

  • "works for me": In other words, the buyer wants to keep whistling past the graveyard, and wants to remain blissfully ignorant. In most cases, these are buyers who are purchasing multiple MP4 players from this guy, and are probably reselling them to other poor suckers. None of the "works for me" bunch has ever told me they followed my instructions to test the devices. They just say that they've had no problem with the product, and that it reports the specified capacity when they plug it into a PC.
  • "Oh no, you're right!": The buyer has just followed my instructions, and found that COLORDRIVES' 1GB MP4 player is bogus. And of course, they're now stuck. (Apparently, Mr. Kim knows the difference between hacked players and good ones, as he seems to be shipping replacement (sometimes good, sometimes bad) units IF you complain about having been sold a hacked one.)

Late on February 20, I received ONE response from a COLORDRIVES customer who claimed that his test of three 1GB devices succeeded. For reference, here's the current tally from customers who have actually tested their devices:

As of date # customers receiving hacked
players (cumulative)
# customers receiving good
players (cumulative)
2/1/07 1 0
2/7/07 2 0
2/8/07 4 0
2/13/07 7 0
2/14/07 8 0
2/20/07 9 1
2/21/07 10 1
2/22/07 11 1
2/23/07 12 1
3/1/07 14 1
3/2/07 15 1
3/3/07 16 1
3/5/07 16 2
3/6/07 17 2
3/7/07 18 2
3/8/07 20 2
3/13/07 20 3

Note that in over a month of contacting COLORDRIVES' MP4 customers, I have only found two who tested their merchandise and found it to be legitimate! (*While another customer claimed his players "were as described", he never confirmed that he actually tested them, rather than just plugging them in and seeing what they report. Two other customers reported that their 2 GB players did check out. The 1 GB drives seem to have a much greater chance of being hacked. In fact, if I only reported on 1GB devices, I don't think I'd have ANY confirmed good devices to report.)

And furthermore, I got a report on March 1 from one COLORDRIVES customer who complained about getting a hacked player: Yong Kim had the customer ship it back, but he then proceeded to ship that customer YET ANOTHER HACKED PLAYER. And on March 3, I learned of another COLORDRIVES customer who complained, paid to ship back the bad merchandise, and was also shipped a defective replacement (and was not reimbursed for postage).
Based on these reports, I now advise everyone who gets a hacked player to go through Paypal to demand a refund from COLORDRIVES.
Do not waste your time and money trying to get Mr. Kim to do the right thing. He seems to have a severe deficit in either competence or ethics (probably both).

It's hard not to reach the conclusion that COLORDRIVES is selling mostly bogus MP4 players. He appears to have been ripped off by his distributor, and seems to have been knowingly passing along the misery to his customers.

For what it's worth, I did eventually find a legitimate 4 gigabyte MP4 player from an eBay seller in Hong Kong. I got mine from eBay user He assured me (prior to bidding) that the device really would have 4 gigabytes, built using two 2 gigabyte NANDFlash chips. I got a great price for it, and it works properly (although I'm not enamored with the user interface that's common to all of these unbranded MP4 players -- and of course, there's still the irony that none of these players are actually capable of playing MP4 media (thus the quotes I always place on the name of this category of device), despite their descriptions!). I put 4 gigabytes of images and sound files on the player, and sampled files from all over the file system. Everything checks out as it's supposed to!

Note that this is no guarantee that your purchase from this seller will be satisfactory. I have a certain level of trust in him, but there's always a risk. The funny thing is that when I tried buying my device from local eBay seller (COLORDRIVES), I got ripped off. I had to go back to Hong Kong to get a legitimate product!

Mini-Review of my MP4 Player

After having used my 4GB MP4 player for a month or so, I've come to the conclusion that in this case, You Get What You Pay For (and sometimes less).


  • Inexpensive
  • Has FM radio built in
  • Inexpensive
  • Can play back tracks at accelerated rate, which is great for listening to talk shows. (You can enable this feature by pressing the menu key while a track is playing in the Music application, then selecting Tempo and increasing the tempo value.)
  • Inexpensive


  • Cheap!
  • Does NOT play MP4 (MPEG-4) media!
  • Cheap!
  • User interface is atrocious:
    • The player does not appear to have any ability to use playlists, forcing you to navigate through directories to play music.
    • The menu you get depends on how long you press the menu button, and whether or not a track is playing when you press the menu button.
    • When you try to select a track to play, it can take a long time to navigate through the directories -- and then if you press the wrong button, you're back where you started!
    • You cannot set bookmarks of any kind, so if you're listening to an audio book or a recorded talk show, you have to remember your position if you want to listen to something else and then return.
    • While advancing through a music track (pressing the Forward button while a track is playing), the advance rate is fixed (at around 8 seconds per minute), instead of the more efficient (and common) method of accelerating from a slow to a fast skip rate, the longer you are skipping.
    • Again, the effect of pressing the Forward or Backward button changes wildly depending upon how long you press it. If you hold it down, you skip forward or backward, respectively. If you only briefly press the button, you skip to the previous or next track, instantly losing your place in the current track!
    • ...and many more atrocities...
  • Cheap!
  • The electromechanical design is horrible. Button presses are imprecise, and can trigger the wrong function. If you're not extremely careful, pressing the Menu button could skip you to a different track, or pressing the Forward or Back button could invoke the Menu function. I eventually took the player apart and examined how the switches are made. Switches consist of a bullseye of concentric metal pads on the circuit board, covered by a convex piece of spring metal that is attached to the board with nothing more than packing tape! Not a microswitch -- a free-floating disk of metal above a couple of metal pads on the circuit board. A plastic disk rides above these disks, each with a small plastic protrusion. When you press the disk, it inverts the convex metal disk, closing the contacts between the outside and inside ring of the bullseye. The packing tape eventually degrades and the disk floats away. This is not a professional, quality design. This is a chewing gum and baling wire design.
  • Cheap!
  • Buttons stick or don't work at all.
  • Cheap!
  • The battery is extraordinarily anemic -- with the display turned off 99% of the time, just playing back music, the player will turn off after perhaps two hours -- three hours at the outside.
  • Cheap!

Conclusion: There's a lot of functionality packed into these cheap little devices, but it's just not worth the hassle, and these devices are designed to work only long enough for you to buy them and get past the first month or so. These fallaciously-named MP4 Players are so badly designed that they are just not worth the hassle. They're cheap crap, and I cannot recommend that anyone buy one. These abominations will give Chinese electronics the reputation that Japanese manufacturers had in the 1950's.

Non-hacked 4GB 'MP4 player'
A NON-hacked 4GB MP4 player

innards of 4GB MP4 player (front)
innards of 4GB MP4 player (front). Note the missing switch disk, with packing tape attached, at bottom left of the screen.

Close-up of 'bullseye'
Close-up of bullseye on circuit board, which constitutes half of the makeshift switch. A disk is then taped above the bullseye.

Close-up of switch disk
Close-up of switch disk and the tape that attached it to the PC board.

I recommend that if you STILL (despite my review) really want to purchase an unbranded MP4 player via eBay, contact the seller first. Ask the seller, via the "ask seller a question" link, whether he will guarantee that the product will provide a full X gigabytes of storage -- and not that it merely says it has that capacity when -- plugged in to a PC. Refer them to this web page in your contact, -- so your seller cannot claim not to know what you're talking -- about.


PLEASE NOTE: Any advertising for MP4 players or vendors thereof that you see below are NOT endorsed by me! Feel free to investigate any of these vendors (in fact, I get a few pennies whenever you click through to their websites!), and to check them out -- keep in mind that they are as likely as any others to be selling questionable MP4 players.