So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
- A glossy reflective screen, no cables or drivers or extra batteries required, voice and FM radio recording
- The screen can't be seen in strong sunlight, only USB 1.1, poor manual
With a plethora of features packed into an ultra-compact case, the Toplux is an astute purchase for the fashion conscious.
Price$ 229.00 (AUD)
With its glossy mirror-like reflective screen, the 256MB Toplux M260 MP3 player is as much a fashion accessory as a music player. But looks aren't everything, and this feature-packed player is designed with convenience in mind.
Weighing just 43g and measuring 79.5 x 31 x 14.8mm, portability will never be a problem with this ultra compact player. It slips easily into a small pocket. With 256MB of included memory, the M260 can store around 50 MP3 songs (roughly four hours of music).
The big selling point of the M260 is the undoubtedly the 96 x 64 dot blue/orange OLED display, which is a reflective mirror-like surface when the device is turned off. While this scores points for looks, the screen is almost completely unreadable outdoors in daylight, let alone in direct sunlight. We had to shield the device with our hands in order to actually read the display outdoors. The glossy surface also tends to smudge quickly and we recommend always using the included case to prevent the player getting scratched.
The front of the unit is remarkably uncluttered, with a small five-way joystick on the front panel and four small buttons on the top of the player. We found the controls relatively easy to use, although at the times the joystick was a bit fiddly. A comprehensive user manual would be essential to determine how to use some features (such as the playlist), but unfortunately this unit isn't shipped with a good one.
The audio quality of the player was excellent and no sound distortion could be detected even at high volumes. The M260 includes an equaliser and supports audio enhancements such as SRS WOW and TruBass. However, the included headphones were none too comfortable and for better sound results (and more comfort), it would be best to purchase another pair. MP3 files, WMA files as well as the OGG file format are supported and the unit can also double as a USB pen drive to store other files.
To connect to a PC, many MP3 players require users to carry around extra cables, docks or software, but with the M260 what you see is what you get. A small USB connector is cleverly hidden at the back of the device. It flips out 180 degrees when it's needed, eliminating the need for any cables. The player is automatically recognised on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms without the need to install any drivers or software.
We found the M260 transferred files relatively fast using its USB 1.1 connection--but most newer players support the much faster USB 2.0 standard.
A 520mAh lithium ion rechargeable battery is built in to the device, and the unit automatically charges as soon as it's plugged into your PC, meaning the battery is being charged as you are transferring files.
One feature we particularly liked was the high degree of customisation available. On the display, for example, the contrast levels can be changed, a screen saver displayed, track details customised and a time preset for the OLED to automatically turn off to save power. The front display provides useful information, including track details, sound enhancement functions and most importantly--remaining battery life. Charging the unit for two hours resulted in approximately 16 hours of play life.
In addition to being a music player, the M260 features an FM tuner, FM recorder, clock/alarm clock functions and voice recorder. We found the voice recording quality excellent overall and users can preset the quality of voice recordings (in Kbps) to conserve space. But be warned: although the player promises 72 hours of voice recording, this is at the lowest quality possible (8Kbps). The M260 also supports direct encoding which enables you to encode direct from any music source without using a PC.
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