Review of "Technika MP3 player"

published 23/09/2009 | dobieg
Member since : 31/01/2003
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Good
Pro Wide range of features
Cons Difficult to navagate menus
very helpful
Sound Quality
Ease of Use
Look & Design
Video Quality
Range of Features

"Technika MP-308 4GB MP3 player with FM tuner"

The MP-308 is Tesco’s current top of the range mini MP3 player with FM radio, and at 3p shy of £30 places it firmly in the budget end of the market.
Having very recently ‘goosed’ my previous player doing a firmware upgrade, I got mine as an impulse purchase.

It’s small – about the same size as a lighter, and has a rechargeable battery, so running costs are minimal.

You get everything you need; the player, a USB lead, a pair of cheap headphones, and a set of paper instructions and a mini-CD.

In fact if you’ve previously owned an MP3 player, you can probably dispense with the last two items, the player supports traditional “drag’n’drop” from your ‘my music’ folder.

The instructions suggest that it’s far better to use the application which comes with the machine, that way you can make playlists, catalogue your albums and so on (frankly, I can do without these features)

The unit supports MP3 format, WMA and WAV formats, which should satisfy about 90% of users.

I believe the unit only comes in white, with a chrome-effect bezel around the white-on-black LCD display – two transparent covers are included; a ‘neon pink’ one (presumably for ‘girlies’) and a dark grey one (for ‘blokes’?)
– this is the first issue I have with this player – the backlighting on the screen isn’t especially bright, and by the time you snap the cover on, it’s difficult to see the information on the display in normal daylight.

Controls are kept to an absolute minimum; a single white button provides basic ‘up down left right and fire’ functions that variously allow you to navigate menus, skip tracks, adjust volume etc.

There’s two more buttons, a ‘lock’ which disables the ‘joystick’ and a ‘menu’ button which allows the less frequently accessed functions to be enabled.
At one end there’s a standard 3.5mm stereo jack socket and at the other a standard ‘mini USB’ socket.

There is no video function, and the display is often difficult to read.

Sound reproduction quality is ‘reasonable’ without being spectacular – there’s a number of adjustable equaliser settings, and whilst I wouldn’t consider myself to be anything approaching an ‘audiophile’ I still prefer my settings 'flat'.

There *is* an FM radio built into the device, however it’s fair to point out that it isn’t especially sensitive.

I found trying to do an autoscan unreasonably difficult, the menuing system getting in the way.

On power-up the system seems to take an inordinate amount of time to get itself sorted out (around 30 seconds) which can be frustrating at times.
The internal microphone allows you to make voice recordings (far from ‘studio quality) but again, the menuing system makes this a far from easy task.
In short – a perfectly competent piece of kit, although let down by the minimalistic control buttons.

What makes it especially frustrating is the somewhat arbitrary nature of the key sequences, the ‘up down left right’ isn’t consistently applied, and you find yourself being taken down unexpected ‘pathways’.

Had I known all this beforehand, I might well have spent a very little more on a slightly more expensive brand such as one of the Creative Labs ZEN series, there isn’t much to choose from in terms of audio and build quality, but in my experience at least, is far easier to work.

What makes this especially frustrating is that it isn’t to do with anything especially inherent with the hardware design, as self-imposed limitations on how the buttons are supposed to work.

Add to this the rather lacklustre screen, I’d make the suggestion that better value and more easily used systems can be got for not a great deal more.

The final icing on the cake for me is that when you need to recharge the battery by plugging in the USB cable, you can’t continue to listen to the music (kinda obvious, it expects that you want to change content)

I don’t especially want to end the review on a sour note, so it’s perhaps worth pointing out that the 4Gb of storage is genuinely useful. There’s no reason why the unit *has* to be considered just for music storage, it works perfectly well as a pen drive (although is about twice the price of ‘standalone’ sticks) I successfully installed ‘Pen Apps’ and a Microsoft ‘virtual machine’ running ‘damn small Linux’ – but that, as they say, is an entirely different story.

The player delivers absolutely everything it advertises on the packaging, only somehow, the sum of the parts add up to something less than the whole. This will never become a design classic, or at least not without a fairly major overhaul of the firmware, but then again, for the price, it just about scrapes through as ‘OK’.


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Comments on this review

  • TheHairyGodmother published 24/09/2009
    Well reviewed! VH
  • blackmagicstar4 published 23/09/2009
    Nice review x
  • Amy69 published 23/09/2009
    Great review x
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Product Information : Technika MP3 player

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Long Name: MP3 player

Manufacturer: Technika

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