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Gecko MP3 PDA Player Review

By: Cameron Johnson | MP3 Players in Audio, Sound & Speakers | Posted: Oct 31, 2001 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 8.5%Manufacturer: Frontier Images



The picture on page one shows the box that Frontier Images ships the Gecko to you in. It is all well protected in its own plastic molding with memory writer, flash memory card and sofware tucked under the visible packaging.



The above picture shows the Gecko unpacked with the Memory Card (32MB supplied, up to 1GB avalible; that's alot of MP3's), Player and Memory Writer in all their glory.



Shown above is the actual player. The player itself is a rather small unit measuring only 45mm x 55mm x 15mm. It is THE smallest MP3 player available on the market today. On the front, you can see the large turn dial for the sound control. On the right hand side is a three jump switch to control the graphic equalizer. On the top are Play/Pause, Stop, FF/Rew buttons as well as a standard 3.5mm stereo jack for standard headphones. At the bottom of the unit is the memory slot for up to two Flash memory cards (up to 2GB of songs).


The memory card provided with the test module was a Sandisk 32MB Flash memory module rebadged with the Gecko MP3 label for storing the MP3 data on. According to the users manual, you can format the memory in any of these formats:


Portable Player - This is the best format used as it allows for deleting unwanted songs afterwards


MP3 Player - Gives slightly better quality but you can't delete the songs once on the RAM. The only way to remove them is to format the memory


MS DOS FAT - This allows the user to transport images, games and normal PC files between PC's


Memory modules up to 1GB are available for purchase. The Reader/Writer has a small compartment on the top that opens up for storage of up to four memory cards.



The memory reader/writer is the only weak point of the Gecko MP3 setup. Based on a pass-through technology for LPT connections, the transfer of data from the PC to the memory is staggeringly slow. While testing a 1MB MP3 file across the LPT port, it took over 1 min 12 sec to complete. This can be quite a while if you just want to quickly transfer data and go out. For all you who want this baby but not the slow transfer speeds, there is some hope for you. From our local Dick Smits I purchased a $15 LPT to USB converter cable. This allows you to hook any LPT device up to the USB port and obtain the increased speed USB provides.


I connected the USB cable up and tested the data transfer again. That same 1MB MP3 went on in less than four seconds! that's fast. Also with the pass-through port for printers, hooking the printer into the gecko allows you to use your printer through the USB port at the same time, reducing printing times as well as being able to transfer songs to the MP3 player while printing or burning a CD; and all this without killing the data transfer rates of other devices.


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