When thinking of popular
portable music players the first name that comes
to mind is of course Apple and the IPOD, closely
followed by Sony and Creative. All have a huge
customer base of satisfied users who swear by
their devices however it is fair to say that devices
from the above manufacturers are not for everyone.
Personally I'd never buy an iPod because I don't
like being tied to iTunes. Sony has its own software/format
also. There are a plethora of other portable media
players out there and if the major brands don't
appeal to you for whatever reason where does a
consumer start to look? Well, it would seem that
some of the more unlikely sources can be the most
interesting. Today we're looking at Super Talents
portable player. Super Talent greatly impressed
us a few months ago with their DDR2
PC6400 memory, let's see if
the 2Gb media player can do the same.
The product comes in a
box which gives very little information detailing
the specifications, there is a good clear image
of the product on the front which is ideal, however
other than a small panel on the side of the box
which states MP3, WMA, FM, REC there really isn't
any information worth discussing.
Inside the box we find
the bundled components, the Super Talent player
comes with a software CD, manual, line in/out
cable and a set of white headphones. A USB 2.0
cable is also supplied. The manual is well written
and easy to follow which is always a bonus.
The above shot shows the
Super Talent Mega screen Mp3 player. It is a very
nice looking unit with a very simple design. The
top third of the unit is filled by the 262K Color
OLED, 128x128 Pixels screen. And in the lower
half we have the function buttons. These buttons
allow you to move and select within the menus
as well as powering on/off, locking and recording.
As they are slightly raised even when the player
is in a pocket its easy to find the right button.
With regards to the shape
of the button layout I personally would have liked
to see a slightly different design, the one used
looks a bit like a paw print and this “cutesy”
aspect takes away from the very cool look of the
Down the right side of
the unit we have the same text that was featured
on the outside of the box and under the grey rubber
rectangle is the USB connector (USB 2.0). There
are also two very small holes, the first is a
reset button which can be pressed if the player
locks up at any point. The second is a microphone
for voice recording. Along the bottom of the player
we find the line in/out port. This can send an
audio stream out to headphones/speakers or receive
an audio stream via the supplied cable.
There isn't much else to
speak of with regards to the players externals.
What you can’t see from the pictures is
the high sheen finish. It adds an air of quality
to the unit however its an absolute nightmare
to keep shiny and I found myself regularly polishing
it to get that shine back.
Size also isn't conveyed
too well by the above pictures so here are some
comparison shots to give it some scale:
As the above shots show
the player is absolutely tiny, not much longer
than a standard credit card and a little smaller
in width. The depth of the player is less than
a CD case. When you add the weight into the equation
(at a stunning 36grams) we really do have an ultra
portable player which is almost unnoticeable when
in a pocket.
Before we discuss the daily
use experience of the player here are the official
specifications from Super Talents website:
o Mfr Part Number: MP3/4-2GBK
o Color: Black
o Memory Capacity: 2 GB
o Interface: USB 2.0
o Display: MEGA Screen (262K Color OLED, 128x128
o Music Format: MP3 / WMA
o Recording: Line-in Real Time Mic/Voice Recording
(ADPCM Type); Built-in FM/FM Tuner Recording
o Lyrics Supporting
o Language: English/ Chinese/ Spanish/ Portuguese/
o Battery: Rechargeable LITHIUM Battery
o Operating System: Windows 98/SE/ME/2000/XP/2003;
Mac OS 8.6+; Linux 2.4.1+
o Dimension: 87 x 42 x 9 mm
o Weight: 36g
o Warranty: 1 year
o Items Included: Earphones, USB2.0 Cable, Product
Manual, and Drivers.
The first thing we always
check when using a media player is whether it
is compatible with Windows Media Player and if
it is drag and drop compatible. On both fronts
the Super Talent unit gets a tick. The benefit
of these two features is that regardless of the
quality of the bundled software we can use a great
media player (WMP10) to manage your music and
all of the tracks contained on the PC can be transferred
to the player without any conversion processes.
It is also worth noting
that the Super Talent player can be used as a
2gb portable hard drive. Just drag any file less
than 2gb in size to the unit and its good to go.
Although this product is
compatible with MP10 and Drag/Drop we took a look
at two of the utilities which come bundled on
the software CD, video conversion and picture
conversion. The ability to show pictures and video
is not well documented on the product/box or website,
however the player can handle both formats. The
conversion of each is easy, just open up the (conversion)
software, select your settings and click convert.
Pictures are converted instantly, videos convert
faster than real time on most PC's. Video playback
isn't great on such a small screen however for
small clips, trailers and the like it is perfectly
good to use.
So once we have some media
on the device, just how good is it? We've been
using the player now for around 2-3 months in
daily use, which has allowed us to get a really
good feel for the pro's and cons. In addition
to this we have had the chance to go through many
of the tasks that end users would also do such
as upgrading the firmware. On the whole the player
functions well, here are a few aspects which we
really like about the unit:
The 256K 128x128 color
screen is a great feature, the menus feature animations,
are easy to use and the screen can be seen clearly
unless viewed in incredibly bright sunshine.
There are times when out
and about that the songs transferred onto the
device might not cater for the mood of the listener,
in the case of Super Talents MP3 player this is
not a problem. Built into the device is an FM
tuner which allows us to listen to radio broadcasts
on the move, what's more it can also record the
FM stream in MP3 format to play back later or
transfer to another device.
Line In Recording:
One of the features we
really found useful was line in recording. As
an example, if there is a file or audio stream
which the player doesn't support natively, we
can plug in the line in/out cable to the speaker
port on the PC, select line in from the players
menu and hit record. This creates an MP3 with
the streams content. We found it most useful for
radio streams being listened to online, recording
them to playback later was a breeze.
The Super Talent Mega Screen
Mp3 player isn't flawless, (it’s rare to
find a device which is though) and when we were
using the device we found a few minor niggles.
The first is that you cannot change the volume
when the player is not in play mode. So if listening
to a MP3 which is relatively old/quiet and you
turn the volume up if you then stop the album,
select a newer track which has a higher default
volume you end up getting your ears blasted off
for a few seconds whilst you scramble to turn
down the volume. As long as you remember to reduce
the volume before stopping it isn't a big problem,
The second issue we had
in daily use was that the player can take a long
time to charge (4 hours) via USB. Be very careful
not to leave the screen active or it will take
even longer. Another power related issue is that
if you don't use the screensaver function and
leave the screen on at all times you will be lucky
to get 4 hours of music playback from the device.
Setting the screensaver to turn on after a few
seconds of inactivity fixed this issue and battery
life increases to over 8 hours. (The screensaver
brings up the time on the screen, orange text/black
TechHeaven design based on BlackTeal
adapted by craig5320 & Zardon.
Review coding Zardon.
DH logo & Artwork may NOT be used without express permission of
the Administration Team, protected under Copyright Law.