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Digitalway MPIO FL100 128 MB MP3 Player Review

(My very first MP3 Player!!)

At the end of August 2003, I bought a nice, brand new Digitalway MPIO FL100 128 MB MP3 Player from Amazon.com for $124.99. I was excited because I saved $15 from the regular $139.99. Well, the next day it went down to $114.99!

I have been using it mainly for running, but also for some long car rides, sitting around, and other boring work.

I use a PC running Windows XP, and that seems to work out fine.

The player's manual is a little hard to understand since it was translated to English, but I could figure most stuff out no problem.

Let's look at it along the guidelines from the buying guide:

weight and size

No problems here. The weight and size don't bother me at all. I really don�t even notice the thing while I'm running.

Claimed weight: 41.5 grams w/o battery

Size: 40 x 79.5 x 14.2mm

audio formats supported

The FL100 supports mp3 and wma formats, and I guess it also supports mp2, mp2.5 and some other one I can't remember.

memory capacity and format

Internal memory is 128 MB, but that's expandable to 384 MB with a Secure Digital/Multi Media Card (SD/MMC) memory card.

You can get about 2 hours of music on 128 MB. (And add another 4 if you get a memory card like the one below.)

battery type and life

It uses a single AAA battery. I use NiMH rechargeable ones so I don't have to keep buying new batteries. (Batteries available online at batteries.com)

Claimed battery life: 11 hours

Battery life I got: 9 hours, on a single NiMH, volume fairly low (but you might get longer life using a standard lithium ion battery)

One problem that stands out, although it could just be my imagination, is with battery life indicator. It seems to stay at "full" for most of the battery's life, and then it won't last very long at all once it dips to 2/3 and then to 1/3 power.

displays and appearance

The appearance is very nice. It's shiny and has an easy to read display. Plenty of "bling bling" here.

interfaces and transfer

The FL100 uses a USB 2.0 interface for the fastest transfer rates possible.

Sometimes I have problems randomly when I'm trying to connect to the computer. Even when following the instructions for connecting, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. A small price to pay for an otherwise awesome mp3 player.

software

MPIO Manager 2 is the included software. It's very simple to work with, just drag and drop files and select them for download or upload.

extras:

fm tuner: It works alright. Can't complain.

voice recording: Don�t actually record live music with it, but it works out fine for lectures and the like. You can record from the fm radio too.

random play: It�s there if you want it.

hand/wrist strap: It's useless in my opinion, but you might use it for something.

leather case with belt clip: Preferred to an arm band; it�s secure and out of the way. It doesn�t look as nice as player though.

earbuds: Pretty comfortable, but they easily fall out when running if they get wet (either rain or sweat.) If you're sitting on a stationary bike or just moving slowly they�re alright.

7 pre-configured equalizer modes: I haven't messed with them, but they're there.

the verdict

Buy it!

 

July 2005 update:

It's been about two years now, and I've put this player through some abuse. Lots of running, working out, and landscaping have tried to beat it up, but it looks like new.

However, I've had some problems in the last few weeks. Every so often, there will be some little quirk. Like a couple days ago, the volume would just keep going back to 0 no matter where you set it. I left it for a week or so, then when I tried it again... it worked like normal!

So I'm going to stick with it.

 

January 2006 Update:

The LCD screen on my Digitalway seems to have died, so I decided to sell it for parts. I hate to part with it, but this gives me a chance to try something new.

My plan is to get an iAudio U2 1 GB. It looks sweet!

 

October 2006 Update:

I found a Sandisk MP3 player on sale so cheap I had to pick it up. Best thing is, it's awesome!