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Aigo is still a relatively new entrant in the portable media space. Though the company's last few attempts have done quite well in the market, I’m afraid its latest offering – the Aigo F820 – may not fare as well. But I'm getting ahead of myself; let me clue you in on the device.
The F820’s design is certainly remarkable. It’s lightweight and easy on the eye. But though the keys are well-placed and seem simple to use, the actual navigation is quite another story.
To start with, the dual-color OLED is decently large. A jog dial on the side is handy for scrolling and skipping tracks, and it can also be depressed to enter certain menus (not all). But I’ll get to that later. A standard 3.5mm earphone kick is located just above the jog dial.
A mini-USB port and Hold slider (to lock the keys) are located on the other side of the player. Under the display are the volume keys, a loop A-B key, and a play/pause button. I had absolutely no issue with the product design. It’s easy to tote around and the button placements seem well thought out.
Features and Performance
While the Aigo F820 scores in design, its functionality leaves a lot to be desired. The display appears too cluttered when a track is playing. There are too many details on screen. Audio quality is fairly decent though. It’s loud but tends to be a mite sharp at times. The six EQ presets do make a difference. You might want to look at another pair of headphones – the bundled set is okay, but not good enough to do full justice to the audio.
The interface is simple and easy to navigate, if not quite consistent. The keys tend to have multiple functions, which can be quite confusing at times. You can store files in folders on the drive that can be accessed very easily from the player’s 2GB storage, and although it’s an easy job to scroll through them using the jog dial, you can also select files by depressing the same. Press the Play/Pause key and you’ll then be given an option to ‘Play’ or ‘Exit’. I’m not sure why, considering the reason I navigated to that track was to play it. D-uh!
The player seems to have a generic flaw in the firmware. I copy-pasted three folders on to the drive and tried to access the files from the player. Mysteriously, the files vanished and only a random folder remained. I then formatted the drive and copy-pasted some new music folders, but had the same problem. I even tried this with two out-of-the-box players, just to be sure, but the problem persisted.
The odd thing is that sometimes only one folder remained, but it was never the same one. The player simply picked the music it liked, I guess. The files also disappear from the drive itself, in case you’re wondering, and are not hidden.
The FM radio was definitely one of the better ones I’ve tested in this segment. I was able to get better than decent reception; in fact it was pretty darn good, especially on commutes. The player also has an FM radio recorder and a separate voice recorder. It even has an e-book reader that’s not easy to read because of the display size. I wonder why small DAPs with tiny screens come with e-book readers in the first place; it’s a tremendous strain on your eyes.
The player is able to churn out about 16 hours of nonstop playback, which is brilliant for a device in this category. It can be charged through the PC via USB.
The Aigo F820 is priced Rs 2, 750 for 2GB, which is too high, all things considered. There are plenty of options at that price that perform better, especially since you’re guaranteed that the files you load on to the drive will not just vanish! This is the biggest issue with the player.
What's the use of a player that looks good, sounds good and comes with superb FM radio reception but can’t seem to hold your files? If you already own the player and don’t face a problem, that's great, but in case you’re considering buying it, do request a thorough demo.