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This review is from: Sony 4GB MP3 Player with Clip and USB Connection - Black (Electronics)
I bought this to replace a Sansa Clip+ - which was an utterly disappointing attempt (review here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R4ENU0EHCMOTZ ) to replace my awesome Cowon iAudio U2, which now appears to be irreplaceable. Where to begin? Ah, definitely with the shuffle mode:
* RANDOMIZATION (shuffle mode): a freaking scandal. Do you like listening to the same sequence of 8 songs over and over and over and over again? Then this is the device for you. What it does is, the vast majority of the time, when you're not keen on a track, and try to fast-forward to the next one... you don't get the next one! You get the one 8 or 10 tracks ago! Then you get *every single one* of the 8 or 10 tracks that followed that one the first time around - all in order! It's like Groundhog Day! You have to skip through every single track on your path there, for a chance at actually hearing a new song. Oh - and not sick of those songs yet? It will probably happen again in five minutes! How do you screw up shuffle play? So badly? I could write a randomization subroutine that would actually work in about 90 seconds, but I'd just rather spend the time warning you off this device.
+ Oh, when do you NOT get the previous tracks? When you actually want them! That is, f you try to flip BACK to a previous track, and it's more than a few tracks ago, the device gets confused and forgets the sequence and starts somewhere else! I know what you're thinking - have I got forward and back mixed up? No! Amazing! I know what you're thinking next: Why don't you just use back when you want to skip to a new track? Because A) it doesn't work reliably; and B) you have to flip through an arbitrary number of tracks before it gets confused and finds a new one! Which is just like flipping forward until you've heard the last 10 songs over again! It sucks! Either way!
* SOUND QUALITY: profoundly mediocre. A bit better than the Sansa, but nothing in the ballpark of the Cowon.
* CONTROLS: far from brilliant. Buttons very small, with little texture, which is just great for running, if you like staring at your arm while running through traffic. And what's right beside the volume-up button? The amazing, craptastic Zapin' button!
* ZAPPIN: Plenty has been written about this in the reviews. Probably the stupidest MP3 player feature ever. But, anyway, becuase of the button placement, the best thing is: just when you FINALLY get to a song you like, and try to turn the volume up... you accidentally hit the Zappin' button - and you're off to the races!
* VOICE RECORDER: I'm a novelist, and I actually do all my creative work on runs and workouts, so the voice recorder function isn't optional for me. Does this device have one? You bet! Until the wind picks up! Then, instead of irreplaceable voice notes, you've got a bunch of unintelligible howling static! [It was actually this horror that prompted me to finally write this review - by getting it out of my head, I hope to spend more time thinking about the current book, than about how much this MP3 player sucks.] This is like destruction of intellectual property, and basically unforgivable.
* VOLUME: Mediocre. I keep it turned all the way up most of the time, which should tell the tale. (In my view, you should virtually *never* see the top volume setting. There should always be volume to spare.)
* FILE MANAGEMENT: Okay. At least you can use it as a USB drive, and browse the file system to see what's actually on there. (Unlike the Sansa).
* DESIGN: Decent. It's pretty compact, and I like that it's a USB stick you can just jam in. Just don't try to jam it into your slimline laptop with the clip attached, which won't work. Oh, and the stop/start button is extremely promiscuous. Don't try sit-ups - or much of anything - with this clipped to the front of your shorts, not if you want the music to keep playing.
* CLIP: Speaking of the clip: it sucks. Like an old, worn-out clothes-pin in your grandmother's drawer. At least the Sansa did what it says on the tin, and stayed clipped to things.
* RANDOM INSULTS! I was really going to give this a two-star review, because it's honestly functional, and if your standards aren't too high and you never want to skip forward tracks (though "shuffle" play loops back all on its own sometimes), and you don't use the voice recorder except in a sound studio, it's probably adequate. But then... today... it did this: I finally had tricked it into advancing to a song I was really into, and I was running along fast and happy, and had just turned the volume up to its meagre maximum... and it turned the volume down on me. With some spoken warning (in the ridiculous "Zappin' in!" voice, I think) admonishing me check if the volume was too high. Thanks, Sony. Thanks for nothing.
If *anyone* out there can recommend an audiophile-quality MP3 player, with a voice recorder, that DOESN'T also play video (so is suitable for exercise), I'd probably pay a bounty at this point.
Or if you know how to replace the battery in my Cowon iAudio.
Wish I had something better to point you toward, but I'm at a loss. Just don't buy this one.