I’d mail-ordered this one a couple of years ago on a friend’s recommendation who was very enthusiastic about it. I’d long since waited for a decent car cd player to support MP3 and so I ordered it after only a quick browse of the product page verifying it wasn’t one of those with a tacky old VFD nor a fancy and bloated animated display. Since my car just had been broken into and my good old Kenwood CD player (no MP3 support) stolen I was anxious to get a replacement soon. And since a pause and a mute button on the same device seemed almost too good to be true I even resigned myself to paying the Micro$oft tax for support of their crappy WMA format.
Unfortunately this was a bit premature cause the device came with a serious flaw:
the display’s scroll speed is sloooooow.
No biggy? Well, if you consider what distance you travel in a few seconds at certain speeds I’d say the amount of time reading a display is better spent on keeping your eyes on the road. But see for yourself, and don’t be discouraged by the time it takes the player to read an unfinalised multi-session disc:
That’s 20 seconds to read the disc and 42 seconds into the song to scroll through the full title! That’s slow. Or lame actually considering further minor flaws.
For example, I never would have expected a nice thing like a dot matrix display to be far too bright. I could go Corey Hart on it and wear my sunglasses at night cause as you might have guessed there’s no dim button (remember those? They’ve been on tape decks for ages). I’ve actually heard from people using foil (like from those tinted glass for cars) to tone down the brightness of their displays.
And what’s the point of supporting ID3v2-tags when the title field is limited to 30 chars? Speaking of which, I’ve not yet figured out what kinda charset is supported. I mean, ampersand, slash and colon are but other special chars (and german umlauts of course) are not. As you can see in the clip above, when there’s a special char that’s not supported it’s replaced by an asterisk that even swallows the following regular char! Here’s what the playlist looks like:
- Queens Of The Stone Age – The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret becomes The Lost Art of Keeping a Secr
- Tool – Forty Six & 2 – Ænima becomes Tool – Forty Six & 2 – *nima
- Ill Niño – I Am Loco becomes Ill Ni* – I Am Loco
And finally, what about MP3 CDs? As you know, they can hold about 8 hours of music on a decent bitrate (LAME -aps) but when you switch to audiobooks that usually are smaller and you wanna listen to track no. 153, how many times do you have to press ‘skip’? Any guesses? It’s as if those 10+ buttons CD players already had in the 80’s never existed.
Thus I made a mental note for future purchases: to check out products myself instead of relying on others who might be slow readers or something. And I did, sort of. More on this next time…