Well it has been a while since I last wrote an opinion but it feels good to be back. It looks like there have been a lot of changes here, but one thing that it is clear that has not changed is the friendliness of the members. Anyway, I have recently purchased the new Freecom Beatman Mp3CD player which is apparently the only one of its kind. You may be thinking that you have seen hundreds of Mp3CD players so what’s new about this one. Well I will tell you. The CD's that it plays are only 8cm in diameter which lets you fit this handy little player in your pocket unlike usual Mp3CD players. The Player: In short it is great. There is a built in anti-shock function so basically you can knock it around for ages and the CD will not jump. There us a LCD display, which shows the track number, playing time and battery life left. There are the standard playback functions including Play/On/Pause, Stop/Off, Next, Previous, Program;Repeat, Equalizer, Intro. To top it all off there is a digital sound equalizer that makes the sound quality impeccable and a rotary volume control which is really special I am sure you will agree. The battery life is good being that of 7 hours on 2 AA batteries, which I add are included with the player. You can buy the player from a load of places but I have only seen it on the internet. The cheapest place I found was dabs.com and I am sure you will not be able to believe the price when I say it is just under £100 from dabs. From here you can also buy the Cds especially for the beatman and they work out at around £1 each. With the player you also get In-ear headphones which aren't like the big fat ones you get on planes. Batteries are included. There is an AC adapter, a manual which is in English, but it is not hard to work out how the player works, stick in the CD and press play. Included also is one blank 8cm mini CD-R. The CD-Rs: As
I have mentioned their price is around £1, they come in their own Jewel case. It is not necessary to but the freecom CDs as the player supports 8cm audio CDs, 8cm CD-Roms, 8com CD-Rs and 8cm CD-RW. You can store 185mb of music on one CD which works out at around 210 minutes of top quality music of 128bitrate. I got the CDs from dabs.com aswell. The Look: Well it looks pretty cool, quite a simple design but it is a see through blue colour on the top and has a black bottom. Well thats about it all I can say is go out and but as the sound quality of these CDs is amazing and the price is good to. Just one thing make sure that you have a CD-R or CD-RW drive so that you can burn the CDs. As always I love you comments and if you have any questions don't worry about asking. Its good to be back Thanks Cortex101
About 9 months ago now, I was just browsing the internet and I stumbled across a new technology which allowed you to play mp3s burnt onto mini CD?s. I already owned an mp3 player and was getting annoyed about the cost of Smartmedia and its small storage capabilities. The first mp3 mini-CD player I came across was the Beatman. This is what I considered before deciding whether to buy one or not. Advantages Plays mp3s Small and lightweight Cheap media (£1 = 180mb mini CD) Disadvantages No song titles, just numbers Not as small as mp3 players In the end I decided to look around a bit first... This led me to discover the Compaq PM-1. http://electronics.cnet.com/electronics/0-6342420-1304-7344429.html It was very similar to the Beatman except it had the advantage of song titles via ID3 tags and 480 seconds anti-shock. I read a few reviews of it and thought wow! Loads of music, about 6 albums, on each CD and the CD's only cost a pound each. Not quite as big storage capabilities as full size mp3 CD players, but this one was much smaller and pocket sized. I purchased one of a bloke in America, they weren't then available in the UK, on Ebay, and it arrived a couple of weeks later. In total it cost me around £105, including all those wonderful import taxes. I bought five more CD's from Argos for £6. I burnt a few albums onto the 3 blank CD's that came with it, then I started to come across the problems... 1. The anti-shock is useless if your walking around with the player in your pocket. The player was just small enough to fit in my pocket, but it was in the vertical position. It has a hold button so the buttons couldn't be pressed in my pocket. Normally, the mp3 player loads the data into a little buffer in the player, then the CD stops spinning. However, if the player is be jogged while at the start of the song it loads it into the buffer with skips in it. The
whole way through the song you start to get jumps and jitters. In the end I had to start taking the player out of my pocket, waiting for the track to load in, then replacing it my pocket, this would give a jitter free experience. 2. Cheap paint. After a few weeks the grey coating on the plastic started to scratch off. This made it look really tacky, and it wasn't supplied with any protective case, so it couldn't be prevented. 3. Chews batteries. Battery life is good if the player is kept flat. This means the data can be loaded and the motor is no longer needed to spin the CD. It kept going during long car journeys as a passenger. Battery life then was about 8-9 hours on 2 rechargeable AA batteries. However walking round with player in my pocket reduced the battery life to just 3-4 hours. 4. Stuck without the inline remote. There is no LCD display on the unit itself. The inline remote displays the track title, album, battery life etc. What happens when this breaks? All the buttons are on the unit itself, and you can use all the features without the remote, its just very hard without the LCD screen. I might not treat my music players well, but little after 5 months the remote was falling apart, with the wire nearly breaking where it enters the remote, and the plastic parts holding it together pinging apart slightly (they do clip together again, but shouldn't be coming apart). 5. Endless errors. When trying to start up the player you will occasionally get 'read errors'. The CD sits there spinning for ages, but it just wont play the music! You have to stop it, and start it again, then it'll work fine. Why does it do it though? I?m sure its not scratched CD's as I've put in perfect ones and the same error occurs. GRRR!!! Well I've had it stolen from my bag in a changing room now, and I'm not particularly missing it. The lesson of this rather expensive story is, always fo
llow that phrase saying 'Solid State Construction'. I'm certainly going back to mp3 players now, especially as 256mb compact flash is less than 100$
The problem: Flash Memory is too expensive, CD players are too big to fit in the pocket. The Solution: The Beatman MiniCD player. It really is that good. You know those tiny little CDR's you've just started to be able to get easily at your local shops? Well here's a fabulous little device designed to take full advantage over them You get up to 220mb on a three inch CDR, which is enough for about 50 mp3s at a good bitrate, or around 3 hours on one disc. Consider that you can easily carry a micro CD wallet with 5 or even 10 discs in your pocket and you truly have a masive music collection with you on the move. Best of all is that the discs cost next to nothing. You can get a box of 10 CDs for around £8, less than a pound each. The player comes with a disc to get you started and it couldn't really be easier. Just burn the mp3s to CD using whatever software you like (they fit into any CD writer using the smaller groove in the tray) The player accepts pretty much any kind of mp3, variable bitrate is no problem, and will arrange the tracks on the CD in alphabetical order if you place them all in the root directory, or will group by album if you place them in album directories. You do really need to own a CD writer before you can use this player, so if you don't have one it's pretty much useless to you, but with new PCs coming with CD writers as standard these days this product makes a lot of sense. The anti shock memory is great, I can run to and from work with this in my pocket and it won't skip once. The supplied headphones are of excellent quality and really deliver the bass that is usually missing from the in-ear type. They show off the excellent sound quality acheived from this relatively cheap device. The tone controls are limited to a simple bass boost switch, yet playback is remarkably clear and bright provided you use mp3s encoded at a decent bitrate.
What's missing from the player is a better display. You only get track number and playing time, it would have been nice to have a text display for all the various information you get with mp3 files but that is the only fault I can find with this product. The design is great, a novel way of holding the batteries in place keeps the size as low as possible and the controls are simple and make sense. Battery life is slightly better than a normal CD walkman, averaging about 6 hours from a couple of Duracells.
And its brilliant. Such a simple idea "make smaller discs". Yes its the first of its kind and being that it has some teething problems. Don't get me wrong thhough Freecom have done a brilliant job. It looks great, it has all the basic features you will need. The battery life is good. The only gripe I have towards it is its Antishock capabilities. Its not good enough. Its OK when walking but going any faster and it will skip. Todays CD players have so much Antishock built in that its very hard to impossible to make them skip. I would have thought this would be a main concern of Freeman when producing the Beatman. But all things the same its a good design. The 8cm CD-R discs are dirt cheap and the Beatman itself is dirt cheap for what you get and when compared to other 12cm CD MP3 players. Just remember this is the first of this type of portable audio player and I've already seen 2 other versions out by different companies. But nevertheless I'm happy.