Media players are ten-a-penny, and the freebie market is dominated by the excellent VLC Media Player, so at first glance SPlayer might be on to a hiding for nothing trying to muscle in on its territory.
Once downloaded, install and launch the program, and you’ll be presented with a screen with just one option: Open File. Click this, select your media file – SPlayer supports pretty much all major formats, including QuickTime, DVD, WMV and MP3 – and you’re off and rolling. You might be forgiven for thinking that’s it – just a small and pretty player with no controls, but it’s all part of the minimalist interface: either roll your mouse over the top or bottom of the window to reveal more controls, or right-click for even more option.
All of the advanced controls you need are here, from video-correction tweaks and a graphics equaliser to the all-important playback controls and various options dialogue boxes. Nothing is particularly flagged – you’ll need to spend a few minutes experimenting with what’s on offer to find what you need – and its Chinese origins are betrayed in the fact some controls haven’t been fully translated, plus the lack of an English help page.
It’s also sold on its performance and low footprint – it’s definitely one of the smallest media players we’ve seen in terms of download size, but judging by the figures we saw in Task Manager, it still consumes a fair amount of resources. A portable version is also available in .7z format by clicking here.
A competent and relatively lightweight player that boasts a slick interface and reasonable performance, but has some rough edges that need smoothing out.