After a long wait, I finally got my hands on this little MP3 player and got a good chance to try it out. (Edit: Now you can get one as well! We’re giving away two of these, as well as a Phillips 512MB MP3 player/voice recorder.)
This is the tiniest MP3 player I’ve gotten my hands on yet. It’s 53.67 x 35.34 x 12.82 mm, which translates into wicked small. It also weighs 25 grams or .0055 pounds in weight. This is tiny! Falling out of my pocket if I don’t get a case tiny.
In the box: The Zen Stone, ear buds and a 3” USB connector. It retails at $39.99
The Stone has about 1GB of capacity, and not only is it a music player but you can use it as a mass storage device as well, which translates into a 1GB thumb drive. It’s capable of playing MP3s, WMA and Audible files and connects to USB 1.1 or 2.0.
Sound quality is quite good. Taking on my self to be a guinea pig for you all, I loaded one of my favorite Sevendust songs onto it, and cranked it up until my office was shaking along with the music. Perhaps it wasn’t quite that loud, but it’s certainly loud enough for me, and then some.
The feature that I like best about this little player is actually the lack of a ‘feature’ I’ve found on most other players. That is, you don’t need any software to load music onto it or organize your tunes. All you need to do is treat it like any other thumb drive, and drop your music right into the Zen Stone. You can set up different folders to organize your tunes, and using a slide bar control on the Zen skip through your folders until you’re at the one you want. So there’s no software, but there’s no annoying hooks on how you organize your music. And best of all, I simply plug it into my Ubuntu laptop and start organizing tunes!
The controls, while small, are manageable. Play and pause are straight forward, and also act as the power button. Push the control disk to the left or right to skip backwards or forwards, up or down to raise or lower the volume. The unit is charged directly via the USB connection, although a separate USB charger is available for an extra cost.
The one control that is taking me a bit of time to get used to is the blinkenlight. There’s one LCD that flashes various colors to indicate the state of the Zen. Blinking green when connected to the computer means file transfer in progress. When not connected, it means it’s playing music. Red blinking means low battery. Red steady means paused and low battery. 3 blinks in red means battery depleted or no music files on board. If during playback, red blinking means a file format was encountered that the Zen Stone doesn’t know. If you get a red blinking light while turning it up, it means the max volume has been reached. Finally, Orange is the charge level. 1 blink means below 25%. 2 blinks means 25-75%. 3 blinks means 75-99% and steady means fully charged.
Phew! See what I mean? Perhaps there’s a better way to convey all of this information, but on a unit this small I’m not sure what that would be.
All in all I’m very taken with my Zen Stone. This little beauty holds roughly 250 songs, which is more than enough for me, and is the perfect size, so I don’t feel like I’m lugging along YAC (Yet Another Contraption).
If you’re into small size and great playback, then you’ll love this as much as I do.