"iAudio 7 not for everyone"1.5 starson by Sirocco777
Pros: 8 gig capacity
Cons: Tiny display, hard to use interface.
Summary: I had to return my iAudio7 a few days after receiving it. I waited over 2 weeks to receive it in the mail! Of course my "initial" impression was good, and I don't buy these things without extensive research and study. I'm not biased in favor of iPods - I don't own one. I do own a Samsung YP-T8 and Pogo, which only have 1 gig and 512MB respectively, so I’ve been waiting patiently for something with more capacity.
So, regarding the iAudio 7:
1) The sound options are, quite frankly, overly complex. Anybody who tends to fuss will be driven crazy by the options. Why not just 2 knobs for treble and bass? Remember them?
2) The fonts used in the display, though colorful, are WAY TOO SMALL! It not really scaled for human eyes. There’s some verbiage above one graphic that I didn’t even realize was text at first. High contrast isn’t enough! The fonts are at the threshold of human sight. The fonts are smaller than newsprint, and impossible to read while driving, which is, quite frankly, a fatal flaw, since people use these things while driving, biking, jogging, etc, since in their homes most people use their regular stereos. Even under ideal circumstances the display is *hard to read*.
3) It does have a bookmark feature, something which I absolutely need for listening to long recorded radio programs. But it’s unuseable. Bookmarks need to indicate both the relative and absolute position of a file (such as “1:22:54 DM show”). With relative position you know where the last bookmark is in a file, where there are several bookmarks for that file, so you can either go to that point, or delete the others. The absolute position tells you where the bookmark is in the file. If there are 5 bookmarks for a file, in the iAudio 7 they all say “DM show” (as per my earlier example), so it’s impossible to know which is first, last or the position it marks. The user manual states that when you create a bookmark, existing ones for that file are deleted. If this were true, you wouldn’t have the “relative position” issue. But existing bookmarks AREN’T deleted as advertised, and this creates the “relative position” issue. So it’s impossible to manage bookmarks. Another fatal flaw.
4) The slider bar is hard to use, it’s hard to zero in on items in a list. It’s hard to calibrate your finger to the slider mechanism – that’s the problem with these “slider” interfaces, also found on the iPhone. It’s so sensitive that it responded to my finger even when it was suspended ABOVE the plastic! For a moment I thought I had supernatural powers! Fortunately users can adjust this sensitivity.
4) a minor gripe is it’s “brick” form factor, which makes it a little awkward to simply put in your pocket. Though not a deal breaker, I doubt anybody will love this feature. It should be less deep, but wider and longer, so the display is bigger, and fit in the pocket better.
Perceived “pluses” are it’s 60 hr battery life and sound quality. It has a few other nice features like FM radio, which has good reception (a high S/N ratio, which is good).
Speaking of font sizes, I noticed the iPod displays are, at least, easy to read. So I bought one! The Nano 2nd gen, 8 gig. The all aluminum black case is nice. OK, that’s just an initial impression, which can be misleading. I don’t really need FM, but it does record voice with the separately purchased mic accessory, which in turn has a line-in jack (I have to study this further). There’s even something called “iFill” that fills the iPod with free internet radio! The “Quick Search”, new on the 2nd gen Nano, is *real nice*. It also has a new artist/album search feature that has a virtual keyboard. Enter “mon” and every album, artist, or track that has that character string is displayed. Cool. I’m breaking it in now, but the sound is good for both music and recorded radio show files (196 and 96 kbps respectively) using it’s 27 presets, which is “nice and simple”. Files in the “Audiobooks” folder can be bookmarked (con: they have to be converted to a certain file type first) but I don’t know if this feature will be as convenient as the bookmark feature with my Samsung YP-T8, so I might actually keep the YP for my recorded radio shows. I also considered the Zen Vision M, but portable devices with hard drives spook me – a little too fragile, possibly.
On the other hand, if you don’t need bookmarks, like to fuss endlessly with sound controls, and like to read very tiny print while driving or biking with a bulge in your pocket, you just might like the iAudio 7.