Apple’s iPod has demonstrated that MP3 players based around hard drives can offer a great deal of capacity for the money. But those based on flash memory are smaller and lighter. One example of the latter is this SuperDrive 4-in-1 from Digilux.
The ’4-in-1′ bit relates to this device’s functions. First, it’s a 128MB USB memory drive (or pen drive, if you prefer) – essentially a solid-state hard disk that can be used to back up your data, transfer files between computers and so on. It comes with a USB extension lead should you require one, although most PCs will have sockets that are accessible enough not to need it.
Once plugged in (software is supplied for those versions of Windows and Mac OS that require it), the device can be accessed as another drive letter, and files can be copied to or from it at a reasonably swift rate.
Some of those files can, of course, be music files. If they’re in MP3 or WAV format, the device can play them back, using the supplied headphones. So, that’s two functions taken care of. The other two are the FM radio, which uses the headphone cables as an antenna, and the voice recorder, which uses a built-in microphone.
All these functions do their job well enough. The sound quality is reasonable, if a little tinny when using the radio – there is an ‘equaliser’, but it only appears to work with the MP3 player. The build quality feels a little cheap, but it’s not likely to fall to bits and all the buttons work properly, as does the blue back-lit LCD screen.
The user interface is a pain, though; too many buttons which must be held down for varying lengths of time in order to find the right menu. Kids won’t have a problem with it, but techically-challenged adults will struggle.
Otherwise it’s a reasonable piece of kit, and the single AAA battery should keep you in music for at least ten hours.
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