While it won't win any fashion awards with its low-quality plastic housing and dot matrix display, the thumbdrive-like Legend iVO 1GB gets the job done.
- Compact size, USB 2.0 support
- Poor recording options, dot matrix display
With its dot matrix display, FM tuner and basic recording options, the Legend iVO 1GB is an unexceptional USB-based digital audio player.
Price$ 220.00 (AUD)
Audio player screens are slowly becoming more advanced, but apart from a gimmicky seven-colour LED backlight change, Legend has outfitted the iVO with just a small 128 x 32 dot matrix display. While the screen was readable, and can be read at night with the LED backlight, it doesn't match some of the better colour screens we have seen. In Legend's defence, it was undoubtedly restricted by the tiny size of this player, which is only 102mm x 29mm 23mm and weighs just 30g.
Small as it is, the screen on the iVO displays a large amount of detailed information, such as ID3 tags, the file format and encoding standard of the song, the current repeat mode, song number, equaliser settings and battery level. All this information can be seen at once, without the need for scrolling through different screens. Since the display itself is so small, however, the result is a rather cluttered-looking screen, with some of the text too small to read.
The iVO is a USB pen device that plugs into the USB port on your computer and can be used to store files as well as play music. As soon as the iVO is connected to your computer, it is recognised as a removable shared drive and music files can be dragged and dropped onto the player using Windows Explorer. Transferring data is fast, as the iVO supports the USB 2.0 standard. The format of the iVO means that you have the convenience of not having to use any extra cables or software to transfer music files, such as with some of the Sony devices we have looked at.
Apart from playing music files in MP3, WMA, ASF and WAV formats, the iVO ships with an FM radio tuner. It supports up to 20 station presets. Full FM stereo is supported.
While Legends claims the iVO can record FM radio, we found the sound quality to be extremely poor. Radio can only be recorded at a low quality 8Kbps and only in the obscure .ACT file format, which we couldn't play back on our PC. The iVO's voice recording options were a little better, with files recorded in WAV format at 32Kbps.
For something so small, the player has a surprising number of customisation options, such as setting the backlight colour, changing the language, adjusting the contrast and upgrading the firmware. Users can also set the date/time and configure power modes to preserve battery life. Powered by a single AAA battery, we found the iVO lasted for about 20 hours in our tests. The use of a AAA battery is interesting, as many USB players, such as the Toplux M260, ship with inbuilt rechargeable batteries that charge while the device is plugged into your PC. The advantage of using a replaceable battery is that you don't need to be near a PC to charge the iVO, but you do have to continually spend money to purchase batteries. We had no complaints about the sound quality of the iVO--it was crisp and clear. Although a seven-band equaliser is included, those looking for advanced sound options should look elsewhere. The Legend iVO audio player is also available in 256MB and 512MB models.
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