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I realised that the first MP3 player I had bought with its previously reasonable 3-figure Megabyte memory was actually becoming insufficient for the amount of music I listen to. I had a few petty gripes about it too, and although I did not want to fork out lots of cash just for the sake of updating, I did not mind so much spending some Amazon vouchers I had earned, and getting this new player for under £30 was a good deal (it was actually worth about £35 at the time of buying but would be worth less by now).
Again I went with Sony, less because I was impressed with them but because they seem so familiar and safe. In hindsight I did feel this was an opportunity missed to try something different.
My previous player was a pain, most particularly because I could only use the software supplied with it to transfer music onto it. The software itself had been a nightmare to use. This time, I am very glad to say that there is no such necessity and in fact no software to download. Instead, you can simply do your music transfers through a media player like Windows Media Player (Sync tab). All you do is drag and drop the songs you want onto a list and hit transfer. I found this far quicker and easier and very rarely do I have problems, which are more related to the media player, not the device itself. The only thing that I thought was a bit of a shame is that there is still little flexibility with play-lists, which you have to create in the media player and then transfer as a list. I also think this means that if the song is already on the player as a single song or in another play-list then it can end up being duplicated and taking up more space.
Connecting device to computer or television, charging and battery power
The device has a USB connection and also charges via this connection. In fact you can plug it into a USB port on your television if you have one and it will charge while you watch telly or browse the files on your telly and play them directly from the player. I have tried playing files via my television, but I have to say that I could not find any of the copyright protected files (CD albums, mostly) when browsing, so it was useless for me. The player has a lid, which you remove to reveal the USB connection. I sometimes forget to
put the lid back on, leaving this connection exposed and I often worry about losing the lid, so would have preferred something that stays attached to the player, keeping it in one piece. As the player is a little thicker (width-wise) than my old one and if there are two ports next to each other (as on my computer) you might find that you cannot plug something into the second whilst this is connected.
Charging seems to take about half an hour but I do not often notice exactly when the charge completed because I am doing other things! It only takes a matter of minutes to get a few hours of use out of this player and when not in use the charge can last for days. The player boasts 16 hours of playing time, and although I'm never sure if you get the full amount, it does seem to last a fair number of hours at a time. The only occasions I run out of power while on the go are when I have not put the device on hold properly and it has continued to play without my knowing and then I find that there is only a tiny bit of power left. It is so easy to charge, that even if it does not give you what the specs state, you might not notice.
The MP3 player has 2GB of storage, which is estimated to be 500 songs. I have quite a bit less than this on my player because some of the songs take up a lot more memory than the average MP3 file. At the time of buying, 2GB was more than sufficient for me, but I like to have a lot of variety and have also added full albums, so it is full and I would have to delete songs to fit more on. For this reason it is no longer enough for me, although it was fine for 2 years so that is not bad value for money.
My device is a very attractive blue, although there are other colours available too (I know of black, red and pink) that may hold a higher or lower price tag. At the time, however, I also bought one in red for my sister and that was the same price, and very pretty too. It is slightly bigger than my previous player but in the same stick like shape it still fits reasonably well in pockets. As above, the only thing is that for USB ports it is a bit on the thick side. There is a label at the back that randomly started to come away so the back of my player is a little unsightly, but this does not bother me as it is not very noticeable when tucked away. During playing, there are LED lights that flash on and off, and this function can be switched off if they become a nuisance, which for most people they probably will.
The display lights up in light blue and is very easy to read, though it does not fit full song details and can be slow to scroll them for you to read. I don't mind too much as I tend to recognise what a song is straight away but that might annoy some people. It can help to make sure that the song file names are succinct before transferring them onto the player.
The earphones that came with this player were far too big and uncomfortable and quickly ended up being useless and disposed of. Frankly I wish it was possible to buy these players slightly cheaper without earphones included at all as this is such a waste. The sound quality through the earphones was not great anyway and leaked so that other passengers on the bus or train could often hear my music if I turned it up load enough for me to hear it well myself. It is worth being prepared to invest in your own set of earphones. Note that the socket to plug them in is at the top of the player, which is perfect if the plug is straight but plugs with an L-shape (where the wire comes out sideways) are a little more awkward. I have an L-shaped plug on my new earphones (bought separately) and so far it has not been damaged by being squashed, fortunately. I think this might be because it is less damage-prone, but I could just have been lucky so far.
The sound quality, once I bought new headphones has been very good, and there are also a few special play modes, plus the Bass button so you can customise to your style. They match up to music genres like Jazz, but I'm not sure how effective they are for enhancing different genres as I can't really tell and don't listen to that much variety in terms of genre myself! The volume does not get too loud (and it shouldn't really) but has a very good range.
Lots of buttons are positioned where they could be pressed accidentally quite easily, so the 'hold' button does some in very useful. The hold button is on the edge of the player and works by sliding it across.
The play/pause button is big and round and sits on the front of the player next to the display screen. The skip buttons are above and below it and sometimes if I am skipping through songs without looking at the player I use the wrong skip button. After a while you might find this easier if you remember where the right button is relative to other buttons. The back/home button is the only other button on the front and it is much smaller. This helps you navigate through the player menus, but it can be a little fiddly and tricky if music is already playing. The volume and bass buttons are along the edge. Occasionally I have pressed them by accident when holding the player with the hold button off.
I have only used the voice recorder on this player once to test it. I can see that there might be good uses for a voice recorder but at the moment it is just one of those extra features I do not bother with and could have done without. The microphone is on the same end you connect your earphones to, although I don't think you can, and you certainly don't need to connect a mic to this. The quality of the sound recorder is very good and on playback I could hear my voice quite well without too much background noise. The 'record' button is near the volume buttons but I have never pressed it by accident.
This device has lasted me a good two years and the only reason I am now buying a new one is that the 2GB are no longer enough to fit all my songs on. In fact, I will probably continue to use it as a spare or put language learning audio files on it. I could do with learning a new language. Anyway, the point is I would certainly recommend this for anyone that has less than 500 songs to put on. Although slightly fiddly, I think all small MP3 players are bound to have minor gripes and on the whole it is easy to use, light and portable, and not bad looking either. It is really easy to add and remove songs and better without the Sony software. The earphones are a waste so be prepared to fork out for decent ones. The power is ideal and tends to last longer than expected, plus it is very easy to power up in any machine that has a USB port. I would not pay more than £20 for this model, however because is now probably out of date, and I'd pay a lot less if, as it likely you are buying second-hand.
Note: please ignore Video Quality rating as there is no video capability on this player