I got this mp3 player when I couldn't afford the likes of an ipod.
It stores up to 4 hours of music and lasts around 15 hours on one AAA battery. There is an inbuilt microphone and raduo.
There is a small and dull backlit LCD display and a scroll button which can allow you simply trawl through all the songs you have loaded up or select a particular folder of songs. This is still tedious and not nearly as fun compared to an ipod.
Despite its handy compact size, it looks dull and boring and the protective case adds bulk to what is meant to be an unobtrusive design.
I had issues with this mp3 player. When I first bought it, it simply stopped working within around 3 months of use and so I took it back to the retailer, and after some hefty complaining I received a replacement.
The replacement seemed to work fine, however after about 6 months of use, this too had developed a strange temperament and when trying to turn it off, the LCD screen freezes on the powering off icon so that you have to fuss around with the battery to turn it off properly.
I would not really recommend this to anybody as it gave me far too much hassel.
I got this MP3 player because listening to spoken word stuff (old comedy shows, radio podcasts etc) helps me get to sleep at night, and i wanted something tiny that could sit under my pillow! I have the 256MB version because I bought it back in the day when that was still "quite a lot" of memory, but the whole N200 range is identical apart from the storage capacity and is available in up to 2GB varieties.
I won't go into the very small print of the functions, but the key features which actually make a difference are:
- FM radio with presets
- Music playback (obviously!)
- Microphone to record through, and playback function
- Various music styles (classical, rock, pop, jazz etc)
there are many other sub-functions such as setting up your own playlists etc, but i've never used them so can't really comment here.
~ the hardware ~
This really is the tiniest MP3 i've seen - probably under a centimetre thick and just a few centimetres long. Because tracks are uploaded using a separate cable (see below) it doesn't have an integral USB connection which would otherwise increase the size considerably. I think it looks very smart too, in glossy black, and the small screen is just enough to see what you're doing, select tracks etc.
There are four main control buttons - an on/off/pause on the front, a pair of up/down buttons underneath for changing the volume, and a strange combination rocker switch, which basically does everything else. It's had several years of sleepy, clumsy use now, and been dropped out of the bed onto floors all over the world, but still looks and works like new, so i'd say the build quality is excellent.
As a final point on the hardward front, this player uses an AAA battery which slots into a compartment in the back, rather than an integral one which is recharged via the USB connection. Personally i find this a huge benefit, because if i'm travelling i can take a couple of spare AAAs easily, but i don't necessarily want to take a whole laptop together with the required adapters etc. The battery life is very good, listening for 1/2 to 1 hour every night, it usually lasts about two to three weeks.
~ In use ~
Simplicity is the word on this, and the ultimate proof is that i bought mine cheaply from Ebay, and all that arrived was this tiny black player - no leads, no instructions, nothing. And i still had no problem figuring it out.
Track upload is a simple plug and play, using a separate lead which connects the player to your PC USB port. Normally this would come in the pack, i have the same cable for uploading from my digital camera so that wasn't a problem for me.
Hold down the power button to switch on, and you're automatically into the "music" function, so just choose a track using the rocker switch (left or right for previous and next) and you're away. Sound quality is very good in my opinion. All the other functions are accessed via the rocker switch - press it in to go into the main menu, and then scroll through. This is the only area where the player is a bit fiddly, because once you've selected another function (say, radio), another press on the rocker takes you into the radio submenu for setting presets etc, which can be a bit confusing.
The only slight disappointment is the quality of the radio signal. It only seems to work when the unit is pointed in a specific direction, otherwise the signal is nonexistent or very crackly. Obviously that's not very practical even the way i use the player, and certainly wouldn't be if you were on the move.
Overall though, a great little player for the money - i think these ran to about £20 new at the time, and i paid about £8 for it from ebay.