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This is a nice little player from I-Jam. This model requires a USB port on your PC/Mac but the IJ-100 is also available: it's the same except for the fact that it uses a parallel (printer port) connector.
The IJ-101 we received is black but it is available in a few other colours. The black is a rubbery coating (not painted on) which has a very nice feel and would be helpful on a cold winter's day when you're wearing gloves and don't want to drop the player in the snow. The weight of the unit (2.5 oz) is also just right: heavy enough to know it's still there in your pocket but light enough not to be a nuisance.
- very nice sounding and apparently more output (50mW) than other players. When hooked up to a cassette adapter in the car this thing sounds great!
- separate bass and treble controls allow you to control the sound rather than being stuck with factory presets
- nice feel and weight, good size and spacing of buttons, readable backlit display
- FM radio tuner is great if you're out and you get tired of the songs in the player
- MMC cards and USB "docking station" can be used for transporting files. Assuming you have a docking station on the other machine or bring it with you.
- nice little elastic carrying case with belt clip, although it should have a pocket on it for the second MMC card (see below)
- AAA batteries - why do manufacturers keep using them? It seems to me AA batteries are more easily available and usually cheaper. I would gladly accept a slightly bigger device if it used AA batteries instead of AAA. Or a device that just used 1 AA battery (like the Rave MP) would be even better
- comes with two 16MB SanDisk MMC (MultimediaCard) cards. 32MB is fine for starters but having it split onto two 16MB cards is a major pain in the butt. Not only does it mean twice the effort to put songs onto the 2 cards, but it also means half the time of continuous playback. At regular encoding rates you'll fit 4 or maybe 5 songs on each card. When you get tired of those songs you'll have to fumble around to take one card out and put the other card in. I can imagine these postage-stamp sized cards getting dropped down sewers, down the side of your seat in the car etc. Also these cards are less common and more expensive than the larger SanDisk CompactFlash cards - for example, a recent check on eBay shows 64MB CompactFlash and Smart Media cards going for around $80US vs. 64MB MMC cards going for $120 or so.
- nowhere to properly store the second MMC card: if they're going to force you to carry around a second card, they should at least put a pocket on the front of the carrying case for it
Final Grade: C
Nice design, good sound, FM radio is a nice plus - however, the inconvenience of two 16MB MMC cards and the cost of more would make us think twice about buying this package. A 32MB card or 16MB of built-in RAM and a 16MB add-on card would have given this player a better grade. Unfortunately the good design is overshadowed by the weaknesses overall retail package.
Specs from the horse's mouth:
Player size: 3 3/8"H x 2"W x 7/8"D
Player weight: 2.5 oz.
Signal to noise ratio >85dB
Harmonic distortion <0.5%
Maximum output: >50mW (16ohms)
Frequency range: 20Hz-20Khz
Supports MP3 bit-rates between 32kbps and 160kbps
Power: Double 1.5V AAA alkaline batteries not included
Fully integrated FM stereo radio
Three one-touch memory locations to store your favorite FM stations.
10 digit, alpha-numeric LCD display with electroluminescent backlight.
Includes normal and random playback modes.
Has repeat mode and A-B repeat.
Independent bass & treble tone control to enhance music quality.
High power audio output. (50mW)
Available in black, yellow, silver, translucent red, and translucent blue.
•Stephen Donnelly Email
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