Top positive review
13 people found this helpful
Not half bad
on 15 August 2011
I bought the X7 because I wanted a dedicated portable music player, with good sound, a large hard disc, and good battery life, and the X7 seemed to be the only device on the market that ticked each of these boxes. In the past, I've owned a variety of rockboxed iPods, but I became fed up with the sludgy sound, and the poor battery life. iTunes vs. drag and drop was not an issue for me, as I managed my iPods, and manage my X7, with J.River Media Center, which handily blows iTunes out of the water. The large hard disc was the biggest selling point though, as I have a sizable music collection (primarily in flac, but I use mp3 versions on the X7, to prolong the battery life), and was fed up with having to chop and change the contents of my iPod so frequently. Now, I would certainly recommend the X7 to anyone that, similarly, wants a dedicated music player with great sound, storage, and battery - simply put, right now it's the only thing out there that can actually do the job.
BUT the X7 takes a little work before it does the job well, and if you're not willing or able to get under the hood a little, then it's not for you. First off, the UI is ghastly! But, thankfully, there is a solution. Fortunately, a number of able and generous programmers have produced some really fantastic (free) UIs, that can be used instead of the native ones. I highly recommend Kizune's Lynx UI (easy to find via google), as well as his browser (Leaf) and music player (Sense). With these on the X7, it's a real pleasure to use, and browsing is simple and intuitive, even with a fairly chunky (30,000+) music library. Second, the X7 will build an accurate database of your music only if the latter is properly tagged. So, before copying it to the X7, you'll need to take care of that, if you haven't already - I recommend J.River, but MediaMonkey will also do the trick. It also struggles to maintain an accurate database if you regularly delete some but not all files from the HDD. To work around this, you can simply 'hide' the main music folder after deleting files, let it rebuild the database, then reconnect it and then unhide the music folder (this procedure saves deleting everything and then moving it back on again).
To address some of the cons that people have highlighted: The touch screen is not great. As noted, it really could do with being more responsive. Although, once you get used to it, this doesn't really hamper things too much. But - and this is my only real gripe with the X7 - a touch screen on a dedicated music player is unnecessary and cumbersome - it makes it difficult to browse and change tracks without actually looking at the device (whilst it's in a pocket, say). This can be ameliorated by switching the volume 'up' and 'down' buttons to change tracks instead, but then you lose the ability to adjust the volume whilst it's pocketed, which again isn't ideal. As for the size, well, it doesn't seem too bulky to me, although it certainly has some heft to it, and will certainly weigh down a jacket pocket a little. But, with a protective case on, the dimensions are somewhat similar to a svelte Walkman (for those of you that remember those) and we carried those around without too much complaining.
So, in short, a very nice device, if you're willing to put a little time into setting it up optimally (seriously, don't even try to acclimatise to the native UIs - track down Lynx, Sense, and Leaf). The key thing is this: it does what I wanted it to do, without too much effort. I deduct one star for touch screen issues.