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I was given this player to keep me occupied on my many long bus and train journeys.
This is a Japanese mp3 and CD player, which comes in a silver and blue top with a grey base. It is 13cmx13cmx2½cm which is about average size, so its more bag sized than pocket sized. It comes with an adapter and ear bud type headphones. It only has a small display area, so only displays limited information on it, such as which track and album or how long the song has been playing for. There are also little icons to display what modes you have it on, which are discussed later. The buttons are fairly small, so not fab it you are fumbling about in the dark or going under a tunnel, or if you have any arthritic type problems that makes it difficult to press small buttons. The overall appearance is nice and suitable for male or female.
WHY USE MP3 OVER CD?
MP3s are compressed audio files, so instead of having about 20 songs to a cd, you can store up to about 170 songs on a cd. The downfall here is that you need to have a computer with a cd writer or at least be friendly with someone that has. The player also does not come with any software to help you with this, but I would recommend Nero as a burning program. The audio data needs to be encoded as mp3 or cda (normal cd data) otherwise it will not play e.g. wav or midi files. I’ve found this player to be compatible with all my cd-r and cd-rw cds.
The sound quality is good, however the volume controls are at set amounts, so it can be annoying if 1 setting is too quiet and the next is too loud. There is the option to put on S-XBS, which boosts the low frequency and basically adds a bit more bass. Its good sound for pop, classical and rock, but may not be so good for anything heavier as the bass doesn’t really go that high.
If you have burnt all the songs onto the CD as is then it will tell you how many songs there are on the CD as soon as you've put the CD in and you can choose your options from there. However it also has the option of having 'albums' where you can burn the songs in different folders and only choose to listen to 1 folder at a time. You can then choose to change the options so that you can listen to all the songs within the folers. This means that you can listen to your songs randomly within the 'album' or all the songs on the CD. There are all your normal options with any player – play, stop, pause, skip forward, skip backwards. You can also set it to repeat the 1 song over and over, repeat the mp3 or CD over and over or the random function I mentioned earlier. You can also put a sequence of up to 20 songs in its memory, but I still haven’t had the patience to bother to work out how. There is a limit of 999 songs to a mp3 cd and / or 999 albums, but unless you are listening to 15 sec clips then I cant see anyone ever outdoing this.
‘Hold’ function allows you to stop turning it on by accident which is a great function to if you bump the player around in your bag all day like I do, because there is nothing more annoying than going to listen to a song and finding your battery has died because it’s been singing to itself for the past couple of hours!
This player has 2 power options - battery or mains. If you are running it from battery then it takes 2 AAs and has 40 hour playback with non-rechargeable batteries on mp3 songs (30 hours with CD data) which is enough for even the longest journey! An AC (230-240 V) adapter is supplied for mains use so you can listen to your mp3s for as long as your little heart desires. The problem with this is that the player is then permanently on standby, so you have to turn it off at the plug so that it is not ‘live’ and eating up your elecy bill. There is a little battery icon on the display so you know when its about to die on you. I’ve just been reading through the instruction booklet and just realised that you can actually recharge rechargeable batteries inside the mp3 player, although I don’t have any rechargeable batteries to try this out with.
The player comes in a blue and black box with the white Panasonic name in the top left corner and a large picture of the player down the left side. The box features messages in 6 languages. It has a pull up top and inside is plenty more cardboard! It was well wrapped so there was no chance in it moving around the box, and a separated area in the box for the adapter. It as a Pan European Guarantee in 17 languages, each of which are just as confusing and difficult to claim with. It basically states that if it gets damaged by fire, accident, misuse, wear and tear, neglect, incorrect adjustment or repair, improper instillation, adaptation or modifications, improper or inconsistent use, or damage in transport then they will not cover it through guarantee! I’m sorry, but is there another way it can break?!?! There is also a very detailed 8 page instruction manual, even showing you which way up a CD needs to be to play!
This is the second of this player I’ve had – I had a battery leak in the first one, so I got a replacement. I use it a large amount, and unfortunately this player developed a fault after about 6 months. Sometimes it does not acknowledge the battery, or when it gets jolted will turn itself off and refuse to accept there are batteries in it, so you have to pull the batteries out and start again. This can be a real pain when you are on a bus constantly going over speed bumps etc! Its also not a long time to have it before developing a fault.
ANYTHING ELSE? Unfortunately this player is not compatible with ID3 tags, which is displaying the info on the song while it is playing, but then at least you can play guess that song! Although you wont know if you got it right until you get home… It has a heat resistant material in it so it’s ok to leave it in a hot car although I wouldn’t recommend leaving it on top of the radiator because even if the player withstands it, you CD might not. It is not water or splash proof so you really have to be careful with it in the rain, and no listening to mp3s in your bathroom! It says it’s designed for use in moderate climates, so I guess that rules out Scotland in the winter! lol
For more information call 08705 357357 or go to www.panasonic.co.uk
I cant seem to find anywhere online that sells these anymore, so if you wanted one my best suggestion would be to look on ebay.
TO SUM UP
It’s a nice little player but its pretty basic by the standards of some of the players coming out now. It also has some reliability issues, so I probably wouldn’t recommend it unless you couldn’t buy anything better.
Very intelligent but easy to read/understand review. Shame that most music mags can't write like this! - Suzyxx
rayliu 02.08.2004 13:05
To the point review. I think the lack of ID3 tags is not that important as its not often you actually look at the display as the cd player would be in a bag (or something). I cant belive how cheap these MP3 CD players are, and its only due to its size that they arent as popular as those tiny MP3 players and iPods. Regards, Ray