Top positive review
52 people found this helpful
Fine little player
on 24 January 2011
Just to give you some background, I'm not an audiophile by any means, but I do appreciate good quality music, and music gear. There are a few mentions below to the iPhone 4, and of course I know there is a considerable price and quality difference between them, but the iPhone 4 is my day to day music player and a lot of people will own iphones and iPods or have listened to them so it simply provides a reference point, rather than a direct comparison. I won't be marking each section /5 or /10 as I think it's better you simply read my review and come to your own conclusion :)
Small, neat looking and light. All qualities I look for in a PMP (Portable Music Player)
The player is very light, and although this might put some people off, in its defense I can say that this thing will probably survive any amount of drops (which I hear is the most common death to mp3 players). Most of the structural strength comes from the aluminium ring around the side of the player, with the front and back sides being plastic. If you're thinking an extremely cheap iPhone 4 type build, you wouldn't be far off! There is no light spill from the screen, and no creaking (yet) so positive marks here. I just wish the screen was glass instead of plastic as plastic scratches and smudges much more.
Menu & Navigation:
Easy, simple, and quick to learn. No complaints here, you even have basic options to adjust the layout to suit you, which is a nice touch, although I don't see why anyone would need/want to change it as its layout is very intuitive.
I'm afraid there is no way around this one, the display is pretty bad. It has a very poor viewing angle, anything away from dead center and there is noticeable colour shift and even straight on (or at least as straight on as I could get, accurate to +/- 5 degrees) there is colour shift from the top and bottom of the screen. The resolution is adequate, but not mindblowing in any way. Text is reasonably sharp and suitable only for the minimal reading you need to do. For video it is again, adequate, but with the poor viewing angle and screen panel quality it is very difficult to watch anything and certainly impossible to watch something with a friend.
Redeeming feature here, the sound quality can be very good on the player. At default it's flat, and uninspiring, but during either video or music, you have access to advanced sound features. On video there is a 5.1 emulation, and normally I find these things immicky and crap, but in this instance it works very well. The 'theatre' setting is also good, adding more depth to sound. 'Concert' basically adds reverb (echo) and lots of it. Not very useful.
In music, you can adjust EQ and choose settings from the 'SoundAlive' menu such as Vocal, Instrument, Tweeter and Big Bass, as well as a few custom options. Suffice to say, I couldn't really tell much of a difference between each of the settings, other than Big Bass which is as big as Mickey Mouse. I tend to keep the SoundAlive on Auto, and it's fine. The music sounds good, not mindblowing, but definitely listenable for prolonged periods. As a budget MP3 player, this sounds pretty good.
Works as described, it has auto search for finding stations and it's pretty efficient. Sound quality is variable but generally fine, but not as good as imported 128kbps MP3 more like 56kbps if I had to compare.
The supplied earphones are in-ear headphones of higher quality than received with any iPod model, for instance. They come with a spare set of smaller earplugs if the defaults are too large. I first tested these earphones with an iPhone 4, on a few songs to which I know intimately, enough so that I would be able to know the differences in quality (for reference, I listen with Sennheiser HD 555s at home and Klipsch S4i outside. Let me say, these earphones are above the quality of supplied iPhone, HTC etc earphones, but not the same quality (both sound or build) than say Sennheiser CX300 ii's. They do a great job on an iPhone, but fair less well on the Samsung, but I'll attribute this down to the sound engine on the player rather than the earphones themselves. In terms of comfort, the earphones become uncomfortable after about an hour and a half (to me, at least) but until then they are fine, and unobtrusive.
Battery life & Connectivity:
Connectivity is via a proprietary usb format which is a bit of a bugbear because if you lose it, you'll need to buy another just like it. The stereo jack is on the bottom of the device and suitable for both straight and corner connections. Battery life is good, it'll last a few days on a single charge, and doesn't take long via usb so this is a positive point.
Like most MP3 players, this one asks you to download their own software 'Kies' which personally I don't like. It's fine in operation, but its just another audio player and as I already use iTunes, Songbird and Zune, as well as the fact that you can add songs manually via folders, I just don't think its necessary.
If you're looking for a budget MP3 player exclusively for music and radio, this will do you just fine, but if you're looking at this as an alternative to say, an iPod Nano, you will be disappointed. It simply doesn't hold up in terms of build and sound quality. It's hard to be negative as understandably, it is in a different market, but overall I could see myself using this day to day, and more importantly I can see it lasting a long time. So overall, positive.