Don't Touch That Dial
There are sound clarity enhancement modes as well as a "street" mode that helps to boost levels that are usually drowned out by street noise. These are very useful if you commute through noisy areas like tube trains or buses and need to crank up the tunes to ignore the weirdo next to you who wheezes and stares.
The interface is an interesting one, to say the least; it takes time to get used to the lack of tactile feedback from a touch-sensitive surface. This means you have to pay attention to the screen when surfing through menus to make sure that you have pressed the button. There is also support for visually impaired people where the menu is spoken through the headphones.
You can customise the look of the menu system with pre-set themes and you can download more themes online. Most have a lot of animation to them and look great, with the added bonus of not slowing up the navigation as button presses override the need for the animation to play through fully.
I noticed some pauses while skipping tracks if the player went from a track with no album art to one with album art, however it does not interrupt playback so all you will notice is that it takes a second or two to move on to the next track, should you encounter the same problem.
The built-in FM radio receiver performs well in an open area, coming through as clear as most other pocket sized receivers. But as expected, when you enter an enclosed area or a there are many buildings around, there is some loss of signal quality.
The games are mildly entertaining too, but not something I think should be a feature on an MP3 player. People don't buy units because they have games; it is budget better spent on refining the abilities of what the player is designed to do.
Video performance is crystal clear and smooth as well. This is a welcome feature to MP3 players as we soon see pod-casts being replaced by video streaming; people are more likely to subscribe to a video and TV download service where they can catch up on their soaps and shows while on the bus or train to work.
The flip side to this, however, is that the screen is far too small to be anything but eye-strain-o-vision if watched for prolonged periods of time. It would be nicer to see players adapt larger screens if they are going to include features such as video playback.
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