No prizes for guessing the chief selling point of the MP3 store of Britain’s biggest retailer: Tesco is cheap.
Barring Amazon’s crazy £3 deals, it’s the cheapest service on test and there’s very little it sells that it doesn’t offer at an aggressive price. For this reason alone, it’s worth checking Tesco next time you fancy buying a big, much-hyped release.
Nor is Tesco’s service difficult to use. The site is clearly laid out with attractive sales, themed lists of tracks to buy and new chart albums clearly highlighted.
You’ll get the biggest releases from most big names, but don’t expect obscure artists or albums
The search bar, annoyingly, is entertainment store wide, so unless you select the option to narrow the search down to MP3 downloads, you’ll also get any relevant CDs and DVDs included in the results. The track preview also needs a plugin before it will work in Firefox, and it refused to work in Chrome altogether.
Not surprisingly, the catalogue is skewed towards mainstream rock and pop. You’ll get the biggest releases from most big names, but don’t expect obscure artists or albums.
To download tracks or albums, you’ll need to install Tesco’s Download Manager application; a rather barebones download app with the option to add downloaded songs to iTunes, but no other media player applications.
It does, however, let you retry tracks that fail to download, and it uses only between 2 and 9MB of memory when in use.
Tracks are offered in a mix of 256Kbits/sec and 320Kbits/sec MP3 formats, DRM-free. We did have an issue downloading our first sample album, with the album in question unavailable for download for 12 hours after the initial order.
We contacted Tesco, which claimed there was an issue with that specific album and immediately refunded our money.
Overall, Tesco Entertainment doesn’t provide the most exciting way to buy music. That said, there’s no denying the appeal of those rock-bottom prices, particularly as the Amazon downloads it competes with on price will generally be encoded at a lower quality.
It’s unlikely you’ll hear the difference on an iPhone with standard headphones, but if you’re after a bargain, Tesco Entertainment is definitely worth bookmarking.
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