Style is very much at the top of Aigo’s agenda. So while our review model of its latest flash MP3 player may only have 128MB of on-board storage space, it’s wrapped up so stylishly that it’s hard not to be impressed.
The stars of the show are undoubtedly the display and the all-round aesthetics. When the unit is switched off, the front of it is simply a reflective mirror with a few markings down the side. Flick the power on, and the impressive and clear LCD display kicks into life.
The user interface then consists of a simple menu that you navigate via a mini-joystick underneath the main display, and you select options by pressing said joystick. You switch between playback and the menu system via a Function button on the back of the unit; ideally this would have been located next to the joystick, but you get the impression that that would have fouled up Aigo’s styling somewhat.
Nonetheless, the menu easily allows you access to the unit’s main functions of FM radio, playback and voice recording, as well as bringing you equaliser options, FM search and access to the files stored on the player. The main display, incidentally, is only two lines tall, but that doesn’t really cause many problems.
Many flash-based drives interface with a PC or Mac via a USB plug concealed within the units themselves; not the Aigo. Supplied in the lavish packaging is a lead to hook up the player to a computer’s USB port, and then getting files to and from the F660 is a matter of drag and drop.
Playlists are supported, but the likes of WMA and Ogg Vorbis are not. This is strictly an MP3 player only, and not one that comes with any software to convert your music into that format. In the box are a decent enough set of headphones, a useful printed manual (remember them?) and a USB driver CD should your computer not pick the player up automatically.
Down to the main business, though. The playback from the F660 is crystal clear and hard to fault. There are options to fine tune some of the playback settings, but for the most part we were happy with the defaults. On a range of music, the output was precise and polished, and that’s very much in the plus corner. Even the voice recorder was clear and useable. The downside, inevitably, is that 128MB of storage doesn’t last very long. Aigo sells the F660 in 256MB and 512MB flavours too, and it’s more advisable to opt for one of those.
While it’s possible to make £80 stretch further in terms of capacity when buying a flash MP3 player, the Aigo F660 – replete with its magnesium alloy ingredients – is a smart, robust and stylish device. It’s also easily portable, and a quality all-round device.
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