One of the cool things about running a gadget site is we always have tax deductible excuse to buy stuff and one of the even cooler things is we often get sent stuff to
play with review for free. When parcels turn up I always seem to have friends who were never interested in writing before but are now more than willing to be a reviewer, so thanks go to Mark for his totally unbiased review of the S.Beat 1Gb MP3 Player (and yes you can keep it ;)).
OK – first a caveat to this review. One of the main reasons for liking this player over others on the market was its advertised ability to play Ogg Vorbis files. being a Linux user at home, a lot of my collection is in this format and it was nice to find a player that would not force me to convert my stuff to mp3 before I could play it. However, it has since transpired that the firmware upgrade required to make it play Ogg files has not yet been released and I will have to wait. So, I will post an update to this when I can play Ogg files to make it a complete review and my opinion of the player has been tarnished a little bit by this mis-advertising. With that disclaimer over, on with the review:
What you get in the box:
The player itself, the knife outer casing, a separate cap for the player (so you can take it on a plane without getting arrested for being a terrorist), an in-line remote, headphones and an arm-band holder.
What I like:
- It is small and light so doesn’t get in the way when you are exercising.
- Its a knife as well as music player!
- 1 Gb capacity is enough for plenty of music and podcasts.
- Sound quality
- 8 hour battery life (it recharges when plugged into your USB port)
What I dislike:
- Radio doesn’t work that well (I could only get about 2 stations on the whole FM frequency)
- Its smallness does make it fiddly to use.
- The interface isn’t that good.
On the whole, I like this little player more than I dislike it. The fact it is a knife as well as music player adds real coolness to it (although I am now worrying that I am coming off as a bit of a knife wielding nut as I have now mentioned this twice). The casing has a belt clip on it so you don’t have to use the arm-band holder (which is good as it is a lot more discrete tucked on your belt) and the in-line remote means you don’t have to keep unclip it to fiddle with the volume or skip a track.
I listen to a lot of podcasts on it and would have liked the ability to bookmark a point in playback which would remove the need to spend 5 minutes fast forwarding through 45 minutes of previously listened to stuff to get to the bit you haven’t heard. I can’t come down too hard though as it does squeeze an awful lot into a tiny space.
The supplied headphones give good quality sound and the neck strap helps to prevent them from being gradually jogged out of your ears when you are on the running machine. They are quite big though so don’t fit well into my ears which is a pain.
Score: 3 out of 5 – Very cool looking little player with plenty of room and good sound. Interface could do with being improved.