Monday, January 9, 2012

[Moon-dæg] The Coby MP828

Tonight the moon, if I could see it, would be full. As such, this review of Coby's personal audio player MP828 (8GB capacity) is going to be as balanced as I can make it.

The most important feature of any personal music player is the interface that it uses to upload media. The MP828 appears as an external drive when I plug it into my laptop (running Lubuntu) and all others that I've tried it on (running Windows), and so copying and pasting works fine for it. Even though this seems to work for only audio files, I regard this copy-paste upload method as a big plus. If ever I want to upload any other sort of file, I'll just install the software and drivers on a windows machine.

However, I'm not sure about its "Text" capacity. I know that this means books rather than texting since there is a folder in the MP828's root directory labeled "EBOOKS." I still have to find the proper file format for this, but the promise of being able to read some of my pdfs on it is a lovely thing.

I also really enjoy the interface of the MP828. I have the touch screen model, and though a stylus would be more stylish, my finger works just as well. Scanning through folders is easy, scrolling through menus is simple, and selecting things is straight forward.

The tight little cloth cover that it comes with is a nice bonus since it makes it easy to tote around. Though, being cloth, it doesn't offer much protection.

The other "extra" that comes with the MP828 is a pair of earbuds. After testing speakers and other headphones on it, I can say confidently that these earbuds are pretty terrible. The jack is picky and has to be twisted (almost tuned) to get volume in both ears, and dual audio is spotty at best. The MP828 makes up for this with solid playback speed and quality, though.

Since I'm already on my way there, now the bad about Coby's MP828.

In addition to the video needing special uploading with the software that comes with the player itself, the model only supports AVI and MPEG formats. And, either because the device is geared to Windows machines or is better at handling older versions of file types, it seems that the AVI and MPEG formats that it supports are those that it creates when things are uploaded via the included software.

Further, while there is a promise of being a very basic ereader, the MP828 also boasts a radio function. Maybe I'm not holding it high enough, or am living in more of a valley than I knew, but the reception is just plain awful. It seems like it only picks up one station per area, with any others that hint at coming in being left static-y and unclear.

The screen, though a medium for the simple interface, also makes me a little nervous. Since this is the first touch screen device I've ever used without a stylus I pressed firmly when I was initially trying it out. My firmness didn't do any damage, but I noticed that I was displacing the goop in the LCD screen and could see it reforming where my finger had just been after I removed it. So, being an off brand model, it's definitely a cheap screen. Of course, as long as you aren't running around jagged glass and holding it out towards those sharp edges, I don't think that there's much to worry about. The screen might not be as firm as that of a tablet or touchscreen phone, but its flexibility gives it strength.

And that is my assessment of the Coby MP828. For $40.00 before taxes, it's hard to go wrong with it if you're looking for a portable, personal music player. Just expect to invest some time in it if you want to use it for movies or ebooks - but that time is sure to be worth it in the end.

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