Transcend has introduced their latest PMP in the market i.e. the MP870. Available in two colors; black (4GB) and white (8GB), the Transcend MP870 focuses on providing an enjoyable audio experience to the user. Then again that's pretty much what any portable media player manufacturer aims to do. A definite improvement from the earlier MP330 model, here’s the review to help you decide if the Transcend MP870 is worth your time and money.
The MP870 sports a 2.4-inch QVGA TFT screen with a 240 x 320 pixel resolution. A directional pad and a return key are situated below the screen while a singular speaker is located at the back. The PMP needs to be placed with its screen facing down, for the sound to be audible. The mini-USB, line-in and 3.5mm headphone jack are located at the bottom of the device and the option key, rather strangely, rests on the right hand side of the device above the lock key. A rather peculiar button placement, I’d say, because it's difficult to get your thumb to switch between the return key and the option button. They're not exactly close together. The player comes with a rather flimsy pair of headphones, with poor build quality which don’t sit very well in your ears either. However, at 62 grams (without the bundled silicone cover), this does seem like a seriously light-weight piece of hardware.
The UI is nothing to write home about, with the usual icons representing, music, video, photos et al neatly arranged on the home page but looking quite generic in design. The music player interface seems identical to an iPod's with similar placements and color schemes. The device does have a few ‘Menu Animations’ which are the only available customizations for users. Navigation is an issue though as there's quite a bit of lag while switching screens i.e. transitions between menus is slow.
Option key on the side along with the lock
This device, for the price it is at, offers exceptionally clear sound clarity. To fully maximize its potential, it would be beneficial to get a pair of high-end headphones as the ones bundled with the unit are pretty ordinary and offer no sound isolation at all. The inbuilt 4GB memory allows storage of around 1000 songs with an expansion slot for MicroSDHC cards up to 16GB. It supports a wide range of audio codecs, viz, MP3, WMA, WMA-DRM10, OGG, FLAC and WAV. It also plays MPEG4 SP (Xvid), FLV, RM and RMVB video files; still, keeping this device for video playback seems a bit absurd, with the small screen size taken into account.
Micro USB, Line-in and Headphone jack
There are 11 available preset equalizers with additional user customizable presets. The Bass Boost preset, in particular, feels awesome with just the right level of boom and thump. One particular flaw I noticed was that while switching between songs, there seems to be a noticeable lag/ loading time. It did however, dish out a decent playback time of 16 hours 10 minutes on a single charge while playing audio while video playback lasted for 4 hours nonstop. The loudspeaker was considerably clear and loud while playing music, but I was quite surprised as there was no option to play FM via the loudspeaker, even after connecting the headphones! Another downer – there is no way to stop the FM Radio, only mute it. You can then go back to the main menu, start playing a song and then stop it.
Display on the small screen.
An interesting feature is the player having line-in support. That sounds like good news for singers, guitarists, artists or for anyone interested in high quality recording. The inbuilt microphone records in .WAV format which is definitely better than the .AMR as used by other low end PMPs. Also, there is an additional option to record whatever is playing on the Radio. The MP870 also has an E-book reader, that supports only .TXT formats and offers three different font sizes. However, with such a small screen it's quite cumbersome trying to read and scroll through text.
Speaker's situated at the back
Apart from the time taken to transfer files and the headphones, the MP870 delivers decent performance as far as audio is concerned. Video playback, whilst being clear, is laggy at times and uncomfortable to view on the small 2.4-inch screen. The FM Radio is fairly good with barely any noticeable distortion in picking up signals even while in a moving train. The device provides a playback time of 16 hours, which is quite decent as well. The tiny screen does display all relevant information in an easy to read format and was bright enough to display content while used in sunlight.
The MP870 is priced at Rs. 4,150 (MRP) for the 4GB version and Rs. 4,850 (MRP) for the 8GB version. For that money, the only decent feature it provides is music playback. There are a few other options with similar features that might appeal to potential buyers like the Philips GoGear Spark priced at Rs. 2,697, and the Creative M300 priced at Rs. 3,499 with Bluetooth as an added feature. A mobile phone could be another alternative for those who want added functionality along with music. Offering a solo function, the MP870 might just prove to be a slightly costly affair.
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