Pros Expandability and AAA battery
Cons Dot matrix screen, limited configuration options, odd controls
Summary I have been on the hunt for an mp3/video player which ran on a AAA battery. They do exist but aren't good quality. I settled to buy the Pearl instead. Here's what guided me in buying and some of my opinions.
I don't think that the editor's review gives much credit to this device. It isn't a Stone Age artifact if it uses a AAA battery. In fact, if you have a fast NIMH charger (and batteries), you can have a fresh battery charged from any time under 30 minutes. You don't have to waste your money on a USB wall adapter or leave your mp3 player plugged into a USB hub or your computer overnight for charging. There's some savings!
The interface is a little bit odd at first glance but for it to be compact, I suppose the buttons had to be laid out the way they are. The volume button scrolls vertically and the track search horizontally (in the menu). The navigation menu is limited to three lines. It isn't the worst navigation layout I have seen. One thing I do wish was in effect was the ability to flip the screen through the settings.
The size probably isn't much larger than the size of a small package of Juicy Fruit. It's not the most compact but isn't much of a turn off for me.
I purchased a SanDisk 2GB Micro SD card previously in anticipation of purchasing a compatible device on sale for $60. I have it completely loaded with 600 songs and they are all supported and detected. Some other expandable mp3 players limit you to how much you can add or the number of supported songs. Some previous Lyra models had this flaw.
The sound is fantastic to say the least. I drive with an FM tuner and every device needs to have its volume boosted for an effective signal. I definitely have that with this device! There isn't any cracking when the volume is pushed to the max!
Data transfer is a little bit sluggish but for how often the files may be added or removed, it doesn't matter much.
There isn't an FM receiver but if you have the right songs, who really cares (unless if you listen to the news or something, that's a different story). Most mp3 players get poor reception anyways.
Voice recording isn't as easy as pressing a button but it records in Mono WAV at 8,000 Hz. It probably wouldn't be as great for a concert bootleg but one could give it a try. It's probably best used for voice only.
This mp3 player is overall a great value! It meets all of my needs so check it out!Updated
I would like to add that the software which is included is/features Yahoo! so they're looking to get you to sign up for their services (almost as bad as buying a Dell and getting their trial programs installed). You aren't limited to using their software to add music but can through Windows Explorer.
The MicroSD card does not eject when you push on it, you have to pull it out.
If you don't create play lists (through their software), you are limited to playing from folders. The files are only displayed by a numeric order, not alphabetical. I'll have to add a number to the beginning of each file name (using a utility program) to have the files play in the right order. ID3 Tags have no effect with this problem.
Pros Wonderful, I have the original Pearl.
Love being about to delete songs on a fly.
Gets very loud <when music is of good quality.
Easy to fix!
Love the AAA batteries 30sec switch.
Almost Indestructable! <washing doesn't hurt it ;)
Cons Headphone jack, broke but a quick resoilder and all was good!
Takes a while to load when adding new songs and navigation is a bit slow especially when battey low.
cheap plastic Belt clip sucks!
Summary All in all, I love this player, for $30 I hit the jackpot!Rechargeables are good friends to have since I got through 3 a day, yes I listen to it ALOT! This is a great device to have its small and can take anything you throw at it or throwing it. If the old one was great the newer should be better. This is my 6 player and my last, none of the ones I had before worked so well, I have the 2gig internal memory only cause I got tired of the cards getting corrupted by the x-rays, walmart and being josuled< shakened up. Note you can x-ray this and it will still work <new machine and We were curious what would happened. ;) I hope it last me many more years to come. ;)Oh, no comment on the AM/FM reciver, I don't use it. BTW I use WinAmp Pro to transfer files, My playlist are sorted by albums which makes it quicker to navigate and play! I have loaded e-books on to my player after I converted it an placed it into the right folder< if you don't see a folder create one. It worked great though it takes a while to jog through the entire file, so break it up into chapeters if you can. So to get the best out of this player you may need to have more than basic computer skills. It can do more than you think! ;) Enjoy! ;)
Oh, you can take it apart easily and customize the case for your needs, I drilled an extra hole to have it as a necklace and re painted it. ;) (warning becareful doing it though the screen is attached oddly to the board) Ipod can't touch this! LOL!
Pros - miniSD slot
-AAA battery powered, could be either way
Cons -it corrupted a few times
Summary well i had this little sucker for 3 years, it lasted countless drops runs through the wash and being thrown at a wall keeping its music most of the time, the main issue i had was from it corrupting itself when the battery lead started losing contact with the battery, but this didn't happen until the last couple of months of its life. other than that this was the mp3 i went back to over and over again.
Pros AAA Battery run (no need to worry about li-ion running low, but I use rechargeable anyways so I get best of both worlds!)
-MP3... screw the I-pod!
- Voice Recorder
-VERY STURDY (I washed the sucker and it still works!)
-Micro SD slot
Cons - volume control is a bit low.
- no AM radio
- if you chance the music files on the card or internal memory it has a long load time
-navigation is (obviously) not the best, but extremly functional
-"random" play is not really random
Summary Just a great thing. Wnet to walmart to buy a voice recorder and saw that this little baby was about the same price as a full on voice recorder. and I have used it, and it works GREAT! I have recorded music over the radio, I have uploaded talks, and books, recorded conversations, listend to radio, have my music, and ON TOP of that, I inserted a 4gb Micro SD card and expanded the whole thing, now I have a large amonut of memory to listen to music! just really good job RCA, love the thing!
Pros You can use rechargeable or non-rechargeable AAA batteries which you can get pretty much anywhere there is a civilization.
Cons AAA batteries make a player a little thick. If you want a stylish wafer thin player, this is probably not for you.
Summary I am not sure why the editorial reviewer would say you'll have to keep replacing the playe'rs AAA batteries. You can buy a recharger and rechargeable AAA batteries. You get the best of both worlds. When your battery goes dead, swap it out for one you keep in the recharger. If you are in Timbuktu without your recharger, you buy a regular AAA at the nearest 711 store. Also, in my experience, the AAA batteries have a pretty good lifetime.