"great concept --- so-so implementation"3.0 starson by e724979
Pros: low price; uses thumb drive you may already have; drag and drop from windows
Cons: ZERO documentation; cheapish construction; confounding errors
Summary: I was searching the web for an inexpensive mp3 player and I stumbled upon the Cruzer Micro MP3 Companion. I saw the price and checked it out.
I was lucky enough to have received a free Micro Cruzer 256Mb flash drive as store promotion a month ago, so I figured I'd go ahead and get the Companion and save a few dollars.
-I don't like to spend a lot of money on toys so the low cost sold me. My wife bought me an IPod for Christmas, but I returned it because I didn't think I'd get $350 of value from it. It was overkill for my needs. I don't feel the need to walk around with my entire CD library on my hip. I just want the ability to play some tunes if I'm bored at work or if I'm working in the yard, etc.
-Can easily use the flash drive for data if I have to. Flexibility is always good.
-Can drag and drop songs from my PC without using additional software. I just like to keep things simple and I appreciate not having to use somebody's software to move the songs onto the player.
-Lack of documentation. This is pretty inexcusable, I think. They show you how to put in a battery, but provide no instructions for operating the player! The only way I knew how to turn the thing on was somebody else's review instructing that you need to hold the play button for four seconds to turn it on and off. I've figured out FF/Next and REW/Prev, but other folks have mentioned EQ settings that I haven't managed to find.
-Construction: The battery door will become disconnected if you are not careful. I think you will still be able to use it if that happens, at least I hope so. The belt clip must be pulled off to access the battery door, which is a little annoying. I don't think the clip is sturdy enough to hold onto your belt or waistband if you are jogging/exercising. A lanyard attachment might have been helpful. (You can use the lanyard on the flash drive, but that seems like inviting trouble to me.) I have not experienced a lot of scratching like one reviewer mentioned, but I grabbed an old backup tape case and put the Companion in that before I throw it in my computer bag. This also helps keeping the earbuds from getting tangled, which they seem to have a proclivity to do. (BTW, as one reviewer points out, the left earbud is on a shorter wire than the right. I've had other earbuds with the same design before, so I don't consider that as a detraction.)
-I got an "FAT Error" the other day and I assumed my flash drive got damaged. So I double checked it on my PC and a co-worker's and it checked out ok. It turns out that this error is displayed some times when when the battery runs low. Quirky error messages don't give me a warm, fuzzy feeling.
-The battery life seems fine to me. I just picked up some rechargeable NiMH batteries, so that should prevent having to buy lots of disposable batteries.
-The sound seems quite satisfactory to me. (And I haven't found the EQ settings even!)
-Would have liked FM and more features, but I can't complain since I bought the cheapest model available.
My advise is if you want to keep costs down, especially if you have a Micro Cruzer flash drive already, then this is a pretty safe purchase.