Shareware media app for Windows and Android
The free version of JetAudio excels in a crowded marketplace of capable media players. It downloads quickly as a compact 32 MB installer package, installs without hassle, and loads promptly to display a concise list of possible operating configurations. Free to download and use as a computer's default media player, there's much to recommend here, but it all begins with the Initial Settings panel.
A regular audio or video software program is designed for casual users, but there's still an annoyingly persistent amount of assumed computer knowledge going on in the background, such as a need to select a video-oriented layout. The JetAudio installer sidesteps this potential headache by using an Initial Settings window to simplify the setup procedure for the user interface. Next, the media playback experience is relatively snappy, so a song or video file starts almost as soon as the file is highlighted. Of course, this quick load feature will be influenced by the speed of the computer, but even an underpowered machine should have little trouble. Finally, under general playback options, a deft click on CTR+M switches out the basic media player window and calls up a powerful Media Center window, all so that serious users can organize their large music collections into songs, genres, albums, etc.
Visual effects are evident on the main panel, yet the attractive animated spectrum analyzer graphic may not suit everyone's tastes. If not, a dip into the menu reveals additional visualizers, most of which seem dynamic but a tad psychedelic. The skins option also brings variation into the playback mix when the listener becomes restless. Available skins are biased towards various silvery facelifts and gunmetal grays, but there's a "Get More Skins From Web" button if the preloaded options seem limited. Frankly, the default layout looks very attractive, with its barebones interface acting as a clutter-free means of focusing attention on multimedia content.
As far as content playback goes, JetAudio Basic plays most audio and video formats without issue, although occasional error messages pop up when codecs trigger a licensing warning. Typically, JetAudio then recommends a visit to a plugin download site, so the software developers are obviously keen to resolve such annoyances. Beyond this small speed bump, extra functions include a surprisingly rich feature set, with extras that include a CD ripper, a file format converting utility, and a portable device plugin option, as located within the Media Center panel. In truth, considering this is a free media player, JetAudio is superbly equipped and has ample features work very well indeed.
- Feature rich (free) media player
- Plays most video and audio formats
- Easy to change visualizations and skins
- Fast and skip-free
- Incorporates extras normally found in costly alternatives
- Extras include CD burning and sound recording
- Limited skin and visualization availability
- The Plus VX version is costly
- Licensing issues create an obstacle for some playback formats