"Spotty controls and odd audible artifacts = return desk"3.0 starson by lk335
Pros: The interface is great.
The screen is beautiful.
Sounds better than any iPod
Cons: Low end distorts early
Sound quality really isn't that great... but it's on the higher side of average
No dedicated volume button is a huge miss!
Summary: Seems like a great value for the money, but can be a bit disapointing if your really picky about your audio quality. The interface is great until you realize that there is no dedicated volume buttons. You can setup a programable button to bring up the volume 'menu' but thats still one more button press than should be required... a big downfall with the operation.
USB operation is slow compared to my Ipod's or Samsung P2. Not just slow...abysmally slow. It took over 3 hours for 200 songs to be loaded on via USB2.0 while my P2 was loaded completey with 7GB worth of tunes in less than an hour!
But my biggest complaint was the sound quality test. I used four different players for this test: Ipod Video, Ipod Touch gen1, Samsung P2, and of course the X-fi 8GB being reviewed here.
The speakers consisted of Sennheiser earbuds, Sennheiser studio headphones, Boss Companion III system, and my LG Home Theater system.
All EQ's are flat, and volumes running around 50%
The Xfi finished second to the P2.
Tool - Prison Sex:
Very simliar tone in all scenarios with all devices. This song is just mixed well and hides any artifacts from mixing well. The Ipods lost quite a bit of high end, and the low end was pretty lose as well. The Xfi had clear highs and lows, but the mid range seemed hollow and barren. The P2 had the most balanced sound, and even with MP3's sounded as close to the retail record as possible
Mad Caddies - Backyard:
This song seemed to bring out the best/worst in all the players. The Ipods and the Xfi have all delivered distortion in the low end. Especially durring the opening 'shots' of the song. The only speakers that did not reveal this were the LG HTIB system. The P2 was crystal clear with no distortion and clean, tight, punchy bass on all speaker systems
Jason Mraz - Song for a Friend:
A nice simple song with a lot of textures and volume changes. Not to mention needing a player with very clear mid-high end response. The Xfi responded quite nicely here, but there was distortion on all systems when the band kicks in, with or without the Xfi crystlizer active, and much more distortion with the 3D sound active! This song really showed off it's weak points. The Ipods didn't fair much better with a little hair on the mid-highs during the choral outro. The P2 did the best by providing instruments that are so far in the background you usually only hear them on the retail CD... none of the other players could you hear the squeak of the strings.
Overall an above average player, but still not worth my $150 Canadian dollars.