Toshiba gigabeat F20
- Excellent screen; useful one-touch rip/record function
- Unnecessarily complicated to use
Taken purely as a player or picture viewer it's a good product at a good price but it's fatally hamstrung by poor software and complicated operation.
Price$ 439.00 (AUD)
After a brief period where medium-sized hard drive players such as iPod's Mini dominated the portable music player market, it now appears that players with large capacities are back in vogue. Toshiba's new Gigabeat F20 is 20GB model (also available in 40GB and 60GB versions) that could potentially challenge the iPod's supremacy.
The F20 is similar in physical size to a 20GB iPod, and therefore significantly larger than Sony's NW-HD5. A cross-shaped touch pad caters for basic controls such as volume and skip, while several backlit buttons along the spine provide access to menus and advanced functions, including 28 EQ settings. The Toshiba also has a useful programmable button that allows one-touch access to whatever takes your fancy, and it's good to see that the Gigabeat is compatible with tracks downloaded from the Coketunes and Digirama music sites.
The F20 has two great features that top those on rival players. The first of these is a 2.2-inch, 240 x 320 pixel QVGA colour LCD screen. It's the most impressive we've seen on any MP3 player and when used to view pictures easily surpasses the iPod Photo's onscreen display.
The second standout feature is the Gigabeat's one button 'RipRec' technology that lets you copy a CD directly to the player. It works well and is a very quick way of transferring your music: We loaded an entire 60-minute CD to the player in just 2 minutes 50 seconds. There's a downside to this, however. The Gigabeat's software only rips music to the player; you can't use it to save the files to your PC. This means you have to use Windows Media Player 9 or 10 to rip and store files. Windows Media Player does a good job, but why didn't Toshiba simply include its own rip-to-PC function, rather than requiring punters to use someone else's software?
And there's a catch here, too. Although the Gigabeat plays WMA files natively, it re-encodes them to a maximum of 192kbit/s. So while you can use Windows Media Player tracks the Gigabeat won't read them if they're encoded at a higher bit-rate. To listen to larger files you have to synchronise them first, which reduces the bit-rate. When we rip CDs with WMP, we do so at the highest quality possible. Not everyone wants this. We do. What we don't want is for a player - especially one with a large hard drive, where space is not such an issue - to drastically limit the sound quality.
Moreover, to synchronise WMA files from a PC, the player has to first be manually set to connect to Windows Media Player. It's fiddly and such messing about should be unnecessary. So involved is its operation that the F20 comes with two user manuals: one for the player and one for the software. Annoyingly, we were forever flicking between the two, as the player manual constantly required me to refer to the software manual and vice versa.
When you finally get everything working the F20 sounds excellent - even if the files have been downsized to 192kbit/s - with the fullest bass I've yet heard on a portable player. The earbuds provide good sound and in terms of audio quality are better than most earphones that come bundled with MP3 players. Unfortunately, they don't sit well in the ear and we were constantly pushing them back in, which we don't have to do with Apple's headsets or my favoured Sonys.
It's a shame that the Gigabeat F20 is so darned tricky to master. Taken purely as a player or picture viewer it's a good product at a good price, but it's fatally hamstrung by poor software and complicated operation. Listening to music on the move shouldn't be this difficult.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Apple TV will serve as hub for remotely controlling HomeKit devices
- Sony Smart B-Trainer headset gives runners vocal advice
- The iPod classic plays its last
- Apple iPod Touch pricing slashed by up to 25 per cent in Australia
- Apple shows off iPod touch, nano updates
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Jabra Elite Sport (2017) review
- How to download the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update right now
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTConsultant - Risk and Compliance StreamOther
- FTMid Level UX DesignerOther
- FTEAI DeveloperACT
- FTTechnical Support OfficerOther
- FTSoftware Developer - Delphi, VMS, FortranOther
- FTService Desk Level 2 Support ConsultantOther
- FTLean Agile CoachOther
- CCSAP HR / Payroll AnalystACT
- FTService Desktop TechnicianOther
- FTL1/L2 Helpdesk Technician - FIFOWA
- FTArchitect x 2 Roger WhiteOther
- FTProject OfficerOther
- TPProject ManagerQLD
- FTBusiness Analyst - Logistics/TransportOther
- CCSAP FICO ConsultantACT
- FTDigital Reporting AnalystVIC
- CCSAP CRM Functional Consultants - Multiple rolesQLD
- FTTest Analyst / Engineer (Cloud / O365 migration)Other
- CCClient-side Front End Developer (Angular 2)ACT
- FTPMO ManagerOther
- CCMobile DeveloperNSW
- TPChange ManagerVIC
- FTIT Audit ManagerNSW
- TPSoftware DeveloperSA
- FTBusiness AnalystOther