Panasonic – SV-SD300 review

It doesn't play MP3s and it has no memory. Interesting.
Photo of Panasonic – SV-SD300
£79.99

Panasonic’s SV-SD300 is unusual for a number of reasons. For one thing it is supplied without any storage capacity whatsoever and for another it’s not an MP3 player as it converts your music files into a proprietary format.

The absence of any storage is easily explained as the player uses an SD card to store your music files, however Panasonic hasn’t seen fit to include even the meanest 256MB card, let alone 512MB or 1GB of storage, so you’ll have to budget £20 or so for a suitable piece of media.

As for the business of file formats, well that’s a different matter. The battery life of this player is an enormous 28 hours so we have little doubt that Panasonic has worked hard to make the SV-SD300 as efficient as possible. The player is built around Pansonic’s D.sound Engine LSI which incorporates a digital amplifier, re-master, surround sound and four equalizers on a single chip, however the storage and playback of music files also impacts on battery life.

As for the HHF-AZ10 battery, it’s a removable Ni-MH unit that isn’t yet on sale in the UK as the player is very new. In the US the battery sells for $16 which is a relatively tiny sum, so this might be one of those rare portable music players that you’ll be able to keep for some years, unlike the various iPods that are only fit for scrap when the battery fails.

Getting back to this business of music file formats, you have to use the supplied SD-Jukebox software to transfer music to the player. It’s a bit like iTunes and the iPod except that SD-Jukebox works its way through your music library and converts it all to the Panasonic format. This can take a few hours if you have a fair-sized collection, and you also waste a few minutes formatting an SD card in the player.

After that you can use SD-Jukebox to transfer your music, which takes ages as the player has a USB 1.1 interface whereas most players on the market can muster USB 2.0 which is much, much faster.

When you’ve finally got the SD-SV300 loaded you’ll find that it’s a pleasure to use, although the SD-Jukebox software seems to mess up the ID3 tags during the conversion process so you may not get all of the information that you’d hope for.

The Panasonic player measures 86 x 40 x 10mm and weighs 50g so it’s a good size to hold and the controls are well laid out, however the buttons feel a bit clicky and nasty. The four-row mono display is relatively large and clear but it feels as though it ought to be a colour display, even though that wouldn’t necessarily make the player any better.

Company: Panasonic

Contact: 0870 5357357


Verdict
On paper the worst aspect of the SV-SD300 is the steep price which doesn't include an SD storage card but this overlooks the SD-Jukebox software and obligatory file conversion process. Add in the painfully slow USB 1.1 connection and low-rent (but low power) mono display and you have a music player that fails to impress.