A total of 550 reviews or more is a lot to go through, and I haven't read them all. However, what I did read was enough to persuade me to go for one of these players, and I can say that I am entirely in support of all the positive reviews. I'm not going to repeat here everything that has been said elsewhere (the player is well built, sounds good, looks good, easy to use, etc., etc.), so you might wonder why I'm writing this review at all. It is because I think there are two issues that really need to be emphasised, and they are both connected with the word 'volume'.
The first is playback volume. I noticed when I started this review that someone else had posted a review only five hours earlier on exactly the same subject. I think it is worth explaining what happened to me in this regard, since it might help anyone who is wavering over the purchase to reach a decision.
I had seen the complaints about low volume in earlier reviews, and had also seen how some reviewers had resolved the problem. The most recent offering that I found said that you need to go into the 'Settings' menu and change the 'Volume' setting from 'Normal' to 'High'. Before purchasing I downloaded a copy of the user manual (an absolute model of clarity) and, sure enough, there was the same explanation. My order with Amazon went off straight away. The player arrived; I charged it up; I loaded some music onto it; I listened; and, sure enough, the volume wasn't very impressive. No problem, I just went into the 'Settings' menu. But when I got there, the 'Volume' item I was supposed to change wasn't there. Depression set in.
But reading a few more of the 550+ reviews made me look again, and the problem was soon sorted. You must NOT choose 'Europe' as the region when you first set the player up. If you do, the volume will not be good, and there will be no facility to alter it. Instead, choose 'North America', and then the 'Volume' item WILL appear in the menu and you can change it to suit your taste. If you're reading this only AFTER you set the region to Europe, go into the 'Settings' menu, then into 'Reset Factory Settings', and then choose 'North America' and 'English'. If you already have music on the player this process will not delete it. In a nutshell, you must set the region to something other than Europe before the facility to change the volume setting becomes available.
The other issue relates to the 'volume' of tracks you can store on the player. Much is made of the fact that you can install an SD card to expand the available memory, and indeed you can. According to the user manual, it will accept a card up to 16GB - mine has an 8GB card in it, which works perfectly.
An earlier reviewer waxed lyrical about this, but another reviewer named Frost introduced a note of caution. He had expanded the memory on his player too, but had discovered that the real limiting factor was not the amount of space available for storing music but the number of tracks that the player database can handle. He had found that, if you store more than about 6,500 tracks on the player, the database can't cope with it and you will not be able to access some of what you have downloaded. Now, this issue doesn't affect me, but I am glad I know about it, and I think Mr Frost has done us all a service by drawing it to our attention. Unfortunately, his reward for doing this was a concerted (and, in my view, quite nasty) attack from another reviewer on the level of compression he chose for his music. This reviewer couldn't understand why anyone would want to listen to music compressed at the level chosen by Mr Frost.
I am happy to say that Mr Frost responded, and was clearly capable of giving as good as he got. The exchange is well worth reading, for both its instructional and entertainment value. The reason I mention it here is because I believe an important issue like this should not be consigned to the 'back pages' of the review system. This is an effort to put it on the 'front page', so to speak. If you use low bitrates and, as a result, have a huge number of files, beware ! You may get them all onto your player, but you will not be able to play them all. I would like to stress that the credit for this observation belongs not with me, but with Mr Frost.
To conclude, this player is excellent. Read other reviews to find out more detail about how good it is in this, that or the other respect, but please bear in mind the notes above.