Based on previous experiences with Linophir products, we were a little reluctant when reviewing the 256MB BC-644, but found that generally it offered respectable performance, securing a stable place in the low-budget MP3 player market.
- It's cheap
- Incredibly poor and unresponsive interface
An incredibly cheap MP3 player, the Linophir's design and performance reflect this. If you can spare an extra couple of dollars, don't bother with this player.
Price$ 80.00 (AUD)
The player's biggest draw card is its price. In a market where the top players sell for several hundred dollars, a two figure RRP is quite an advantage. However, the phrase "you get what you pay for" rings quite true in this scenario, and ultimately, the BC-644 falls short of the top-end players. MP3 playback and other functions are of an acceptable quality, but the player is severely let down by a slow, sub-standard interface.
Controlling the Linophir proved to be an exercise in extreme frustration. The on/off button lacks any form of marking, leaving users to guess at whether the player is off, on, out of batteries, in power save mode, etc. A five-button navigation pad provides control over all of the player's functions. As with other Linophir products that we've reviewed, button functions seem to be quite random. Holding down a button for too long will cause it to do something else entirely, while not long enough, or at the wrong angle, or not hard enough will elicit no response at all. Button presses actually have to be excessively deliberate in order to control the device, a fact further hindered by a one to two second delay which occurs at almost every press.
The on-screen navigation, even when expertly operated (it took us several days of practice to get used to Linophir's obscure controls), is poorly designed and quite disjointed. Track selection is entirely linear, so the more songs you have on there, the longer it's going to take to find the one you want. Some settings are changed by bringing up a menu whilst performing a specific function, others are only available from the central system menu. Which menu a setting belongs to appears to have been determined entirely at random. For example, volume has its own key which, when pressed, allows for adjustments, while changes to the equalisation are made by hitting the "mode" key while using the music function, and repeat settings are found in the central system settings menu.
The various functions on the player were all decidedly average. Functional, but not especially great by any stretch of the imagination. Sound quality is quite plain, without any really distinguishing features at all. An inbuilt equaliser offers seven presets, none of which are particularly distinct from the others. Voice recording, FM radio, e-books - all these work as would be expected, but fail to achieve anything beyond a satisfactory level of performance.
Overall, Linophir's BC-644 is a fairly poor product. With nothing to recommend it beyond its price, and a seriously flawed interface, users who are able to push their budget an extra couple of dollars further would find themselves better served by other products. Those after nothing beyond MP3 playback, however, may find that the Linophir offers an effective and inexpensive answer.
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