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Is size important? A little while ago I would have said yes, absolutely. But my new love has made me think again. My new love is very, very small indeed – but perfectly formed, quite powerful and capable of giving me great pleasure ;O). I never really thought much about getting an MP3 player, until I saw this cute, tiny little silver thing at my local computer fayre. It was so diddy and cool that I just had to buy it, and at £25, including a 16meg compact flash storage card, it was too big a bargain to pass up (the card on its own would cost around a tenner). The Ampigo3 MP3 player is made by Mpuls3 (that’s a lot of 3s) and it is the smallest music device I have ever set eyes on. It measures just 6cms x 7cms x 2cms. It is just barely the size of a box of matches. It weighs 70g - that’s just two and a half ounces! It is made of metallic silver plastic, with nicely rounded corners, and a small raised oval area on the front which contains the main control buttons. It has a play/stop button, volume up and down buttons and next track/previous track buttons. While it is very, very small and light, it feels quite nice in the hands. Ergonomically speaking, it’s rather sexy, although not up to the standard of the more expensive players on the market – but what do you expect for this kind of money! The controls are easy to use, although you do have to slip the player out of its pouch to access them. There is a small sliding power on and off switch on one side, and a repeat button on the other side, which, obviously, allows you to repeat play your chosen tracks. My only gripe with the build quality is the battery compartment. The sliding cover doesn't fit brilliantly and is easily knocked off. I use a little tape on mine to keep it snug. It doesn't bother me. It takes two AAA batteries, and because it doesn’t have a motor like a cassette or
CD player, you get rather good battery life. You can guarantee at least eight hours of continuous play out of a pair of batteries, which I think is quite good. My player came with a 16meg compact flash card, a set of in-ear headphones and a neoprene carrying case. The case is a stylish black with “Mpuls3 Sport” in red on the front. It has loops on the back so the player can be worn on your belt. A small strap is also provided so that you can strap it around your arm – very cool. Although it is quite an old model, this player is still available for sale new on the net if you search it out. On one US site I found it for $119, with a 64 meg card. The machine will actually take up to a 256meg card, if you wanted to splash out the dosh (about £100 for an unbranded version). My little 16 meg card will take around eight average length MP3 tracks if sampled at a reasonably low bitrate (say 64kb). This gives you a sound quality comparable, if not better, than a standard cassette walkman. Obviously, this is a device for listening to music on the move – whether it be walking, jogging, or on the bus. So, sound quality is not really as much an issue as it would be for a home-based music device. If you want to move up to 128kb, giving you closer to CD quality sound, you would obviously get a lot less songs on, and would have to look at a larger card. This is something I will definitely be considering in the future. The sound quality at 64kb, however, is really surprisingly good. I mean, how many people can really tell the difference, especially if you are singing along at the top of your voice! (Don’t do this on the bus, people will think you are a nutter and get you thrown off!) Transfer between the player and your PC is via a parallel cable, which is also supplied with the machine. Obviously, the newer more expensive models use USB, which is a much faster transfer
option, but I did not find the speed of this model prohibitive. It only takes minutes to download your chosen MP3 tracks onto the card. Music Match software is provided with the player and I found it quite simple to use. It worked very well with Windows 98, and though I have heard people have had trouble with other operating systems, I can’t really comment because I haven’t had any problems. I have used my MP3 player for both music and audio books and found it a great fun addition to my range of gadgets. The lack of moving parts means that you get no skipping or slipping – no need for anti-roll here! This is a truly portable music device in every way – it is smaller and lighter than a packet of cigarettes and can be tucked in a top pocket, worn on a belt or on the wrist like a watch. There are much more feature-laden MP3 players on the market, offering much superior sound quality, data transfer and loads of whistles and bells. This one is little and plays MP3s quite well. I think that’s worth twenty five quid of anyone’s money. Thanks for the read. Allie xx ajools/alliechuckle 2002
The Mpulse3 is a neat looking little MP3 player that comes with a 16MB Compact Flash card, however look closer and the build quality matches the price – Low. That said what do you expect for 50 quid? The player comes with a parallel printer lead to connect to your PC and software that works in a fashion on Win98, and not at all on Win ME. I have tried to get an updated version of the software but to no avail. Luckily I have a Compact Flash card reader so can use this to download music to the player otherwise I would be stuffed! The sound quality is reasonable and the battery life is 10+ hours. I found that using MP3 files compressed to 64kb produced results that were better than a tape player. When you consider that these players are usually used when jogging/walking/on the bus etc… the fact that the quality is not quite up to CD standard is not noticeable, and the more tracks that can be fitted in to the limited memory the better. This player also comes with a neat case that can be fitted to a belt or using the supplied strap can go on your arm (ideal for jogging). If you have other Compact flash devices and therefore can justify a 32MB or 64MB CF card, and you have a compact flash reader/writer then this is a cheap MP3 player, otherwise forget it. PS if you own a laptop with PCMCIA you can get a CF adapter for about £10 that allows the CF card to be used like a hard disk.