The Transcend JetFlash MP3 is definitely a slick little audio player. The overall shape and design is just like any other thumb drive, and its size is demonstrated again in our traditional golf ball size comparison. With the other JetFlash products, we had seen much more silver than what is present with the MP3 model. The top portion of the device is colored in a very light baby blue while only the bottom half is silver. On the right side of the device, is a small joystick for toggling the different commands including forward, back, increase, and decrease. This joystick is a bit small, but is easy enough to be controlled by your thumb. To the lower left hand corner of the joystick is the on/off button, which also doubles as the play button. For a while after the device is turned on, the LEDs on the underside of the button glow a nice bright blue, which matches with the blue backlight on the LCD display. Towards the top of the device, and offset to the left a little bit, is the small LCD display. On the right hand side of the device is the microphone for the onboard voice recorder.
Moving onto the top and bottom sides of the device, are several more buttons and items of interest. On the bottom side is the A-B button for enabling a certain portion of the audio track to be continually repeated. On the top side of the device, are the earphone jack and USB connector. Flipping the device over onto its back is the hold switch, battery slot, and eyehole for the lanyard.
After popping in the AAA battery, we first hooked up the Transcend JetFlash MP3 128MB player to one of our computers. As we were using FedoraCore3 with a 2.6.10-1.770 Linux kernel, it had no troubles at all recognizing the device and automatically mounting the USB disk. Opening up the drive in Nautilus we found a settings.dat file (picture below with a couple of songs), which unfortunately was CHMODed out although it just carried the MP3/WMA settings for the device. We proceeded to transfer some of our MP3s and even a couple of WMA tracks over to the device. Once we reached near capacity, we were ready to see the Transcend menus that awaited us along with the actual listening/recording process.
Once the device was fully turned on, a number of different icons lined the top row of the LCD display. These icons were for hold, battery status; operate mode, EQ mode, A-B repeat, repeat mode, and volume. On the second row of the display, the track information was displayed. While on the third and final row was the length of the track and time played. Operating the device for a while and going through all of the different menus, we found it quite easy to play different tracks, fast forward, and A-B repeat for the audio listening sides of things. We also tried using the FM radio functions, and were successful with all of the attempts at tuning different radio stations. The JetFlash MP3 allows up to 10 preset channels and to record an FM channel at 8, 16, and 32 KHz sample rates. The voice recording was very easy to use, as with the other controls for the device. The voice recorder is also able to record at 8, 16, and 32 KHz rates to allow between 2 and 8 hours of recording time on the 128MB flash memory. Listening back to the previously recorded audio, we found it to be clean of any distortions but when listening to audio that was recorded at longer distances away, the audio quality did drop which was due to the small microphone. Overall, the recording and listening qualities were reasonable for a device of this size.
Although the large MP3 players from Apple, I-River, and Creative Labs have taken much of the spotlight off these smaller MP3 players, these audio players continue to be functional even while lacking the storage larger capacity. The JetFlash MP3 can very easily fit in a coat or shirt pocket and with the voice recording, FM channel recording/playing; Transcend has definitely scored with this device. At only $71 for the 128MB model, the JetFlash MP3 is definitely economically priced. The 256MB, 512MB, and 1GB models cost $83, $108, and $147, respectively. The Transcend JetFlash MP3 series is definitely one of the best economically priced audio players/recorders we've seen to date.
· Small & Light weight
· Easy to use
· Good sound/record quality
· EQ Settings
· FM Recording/Playing
· Voice Recording
· Storage capacity may be weak for some users
· Included ear buds aren't the best
· AAA battery rather than a rechargeable Li-ON battery
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Phoronix Product Rating: 8 / 10