Olin Om200 miniPlayer (2GB)
- Large screen, highly customisable, lots of features, good-looking
- Couldn't get converted video to play, fingerprint-prone finish, dim screen, weak maximum volume
The Om200 is a great effort from the relatively-unknown Olin, taking elements of the iPod's design and improving on it with extra features.
Price$ 299.95 (AUD)
The Om200 is a 2GB portable media player that bears a more than passing resemblance to the first generation Apple iPod nano. In fact, its design is very similar, save for being slightly wider due to the larger screen and with a touchpad instead of a click wheel.
Where the iPod nano's feature set ends, however, the Om200 is just getting started. In addition to the expected music and photo playback, the Om200 crams in video playback, FM radio, voice recorder, text reader and games. All within an ultra-compact 78mm x 48mm x 9mm frame that weighs approximately 50g.
Its likeness to the iPod nano makes it a very attractive player, with clean, minimalist lines and a chic white and silver paintjob. Unfortunately, the Om200 has also inherited the nano's fingerprint-prone finish and easily-scratched exterior.
Unlike the iPod, the Om200 is designed to be used in landscape orientation. This works well with the generously-sized 2.4in LCD for watching movies, which boasts a 320 x 240 resolution and 260 thousands colours. It's not conducive to sharing movies though, as the viewing angles are limited. The backlight isn't particularly strong either, and direct sunlight washes the display out completely.
The touchpad uses a curious mix of touch-sensitive and mechanical buttons. Gliding a thumb up and down the pad scrolls vertically through the interface and tapping the middle area selects an item. The menu, back, rewind and skip buttons, on the other hand, are actual buttons that you need to press. This system works well on the whole, but the touchpad is too sensitive for our liking, and there's no option in the settings to adjust this.
The user interface is attractive and easy to use, with all of the features accessible from the main menu. The wallpaper can be customised to show any image from the photo library, and everything from the font colour and menu bar colour to the translucency of text over the background image can be changed in the settings.
The Om200 doesn't come with any software for transferring content; files are simply dropped into the relevant folders via Windows Explorer. It works with Windows Media Player too though, which is handy if you want to set up automatic syncing with your music library or set up playlists.
Music formats supported are MP3, WMA, WAV and Ogg Vorbis. Videos need to be converted to a proprietary format using the included Video Converter software, but this is a speedy process; a 700MB DivX file took 20 minutes to be converted, resulting in a much smaller 220MB file.
However we had difficulty getting the converted video to play. The desktop software had no problems with the conversion, but attempting to play it on the Om200 would cause the player to lock up. In lieu of a reset button, we had to drain the battery to get the Om200 operational again. The sample videos included on the player worked well, with smooth playback and clear picture quality.
Music playback presented no dramas, but having to select the 'Update library' option whenever new music is loaded is annoying. Maximum volume is loud enough for personal listening, but inadequate for connecting the player to external speakers via the player's 3.5mm earphone jack.
We had no complaints about the Om200's audio quality; the highs are slightly flat, but this is only noticeable when using high-end earphones. Something we don't see enough of in portable music players are customisable bass and treble levels - the Om200 throws this in along with a customisable equaliser and six presets. Worth noting is that album art isn't supported, nor are song ratings.
Battery life is rated at up to 20 hours, which is an impressive result for a small player. Included in the box are earphones, a mini-USB cable, cleaning cloth, lanyard strap, soft carry pouch and software CD.
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