This is a MP3 player, voice recorder and FM radio all in a very small housing.
It is 7x3.5x1.5cm and weights only around 60grams with it's two AAA batteries inserted. The screen is only slightly more than 2x1.5cm but is amazingly clear and can display up to six lines of information all easily readable.
The top has jack inputs for headphones and line in but it also has a built in pinhole microphone between these should you wish to record conversations such as meetings, it is extremely sensitive. Navigating down to the Bitrate menu finds there are a dozen different Bitrates from 16kbps up to 192kbps and the latter is 50% better than the standard 128mbps MP3 format gives.
Apart from a Hold button on the right side and the mini USB connector under a rubber bung on the base all the other controls are round a double ring joystick on the face. There is a learning curve but in good light the items are all marked either with an abbreviation or an icon. The inner four are controlled by the joystick moving north, south, east or west and the outer four are made by pressure just outside the inner ring. The joystick itself is pressed for acceptance of a choice.
After a few days of use most choices worked but keeping the Quick Start Guide close by is a reassurance. There is a manual provided in .PDF format on one of the two supplied CD-ROM's, the other has a copy of MP3 Maker SE version from Magix.
The FM radio takes it's signal from the lead of the earbuds, the supplied Koss offerings worked well but I tried others and they were equally as good. Again the very small display was clear and provided all the required information, you can have presets as otherwise tuning to your favourite station can take a while.
Most people will use this as an MP3 player, the easiest way is to connect via the supplied mini USB to USB plug that fits in the base of the unit, when connected it cuts out the internal batteries and this is also the way to change batteries to avoid having to reset the onscreen clock. Any saved files are safe even if the batteries become exhausted.
Once connected via the USB plug then just drag and drop files to the units entry in My Computer, files can be separate directories either by artist or CD title and browsing to select what you want to play is easy from the menu on the player.
The settings menu has a lot of choices such as equalizer settings and recoding bit rates and lots more. I would moan a lot about the menus initially being in German if it was not for the fact it was sent to me from Germany. However this unit is on sale in the UK via Amazon - link below - and it is to be hoped that those units have been setup in English. It would not be to bad if the settings menu was covered in the Getting Started sheet but it's only in the .PDF manual.
There is a lot packed into this very small unit and while it is not cheap it should not be confused with a basic MP3 player as it is far more than that. Quality is good and once you have passed the initial learning curve the results are excellent. Being able to choose bit rates for recordings mean even music can sound acceptable. The screen is excellent and certainly not run of the mill.
The price from the link below is around £150
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