Now I’m a bloke who loves his music. Admittedly, I haven’t been a big fan of portable music, simply because I don’t think any player can substitute for the aural experience a set of Sennheisers will provide. Well, my editor decided to cure me of my scepticism, getting me into what he calls the “portable entertainment” experience. Needless to say, it was up to the MPL 1003 to mend my ways…
The MPL 1003 is compact, with a surprising amount of functionality accessible through just the six buttons adorning it. One observation-except for the menu button, the others are super-hard to press.
I notice what seems to be a dead pixel on the left corner of the screen. Funny-a few hours later it wasn't there. Though the LCD is small, it's surprisingly crisp. It did take some time to copy a few MP3s and photos to the player-20 to 30 per cent slower than a Flash drive the same size. The fact that the player stores all files, movies, still, or music in the same root folder is convenient, though browsing through the folder can be a pain.
Mitashi states in the manual that the player can only browse JPEG files. This statement had me stumped-because the player not only displays BMP images as well, the treatment of both (JPEG and non-JPEG) images is the same. I took the time to read through the entire user manual at last. Lots of ambiguity, and certain parts were really hard to follow.
Copied some more MP3s to the MPL 1003 and actually played them this time! Sound quality is decent, but the player seems to have some inherent background noise that's noticeable if you listen carefully, particularly at the higher volumes. Incidentally, dB levels are more than satisfactory with the bundled headphones. I viewed a couple of dozen photos-respectable, but this is no photo iPod!
Finally got down to using the inbuilt voice recorder. It works well, and the 1 GB of inbuilt memory provides ample recording space. Playback quality of the recorded content is good, but once again, it's not to be compared with a dedicated recorder.
Upgraded the firmware. It's easily accomplished, really. The interface is very easy to work with, unlike so many other multimedia players around. This is an important and oft-missed feature. Battery life isn't too good… around five hours under regular use. The bundled 2-pin power adapter to USB accessory is useful if you need to charge the player without a USB port handy.
A few friends come over. The ladies went "oh…how cute, it's so small," the guys went "YOU went in for a portable player? What's up with that?" They played around with the device. Reactions ranged from "video quality isn't good" and "MP3s are decent," to "look, it's got FM and a voice recorder too" and "slim… looks hot actually!"
Well that was that. I dutifully returned the player to my editor. He threw an enquiring look at me. I shook my head. A decent product simply for the great value it brings via the features integrated, but ultimately, it's a jack-of-all-trades thing. I'll look elsewhere for my acoustic kicks, thank you very much!