The two first reasons for why MP3 players are selling so good is that they often are very small if you compare them to a regular CD-freestyle and the other reason is because of the invasion of broadband. Even if it’s (in the most cases) illegal, more music than ever is being downloaded from the internet. The price of the MP3 players also has a finger in the pie since you find decent players below 1000 SEK and for a top-end player you have to pay around 3500 SEK. For that amount of money you can have a player with about 5 gigabytes of space. Today there are also even larger players available, some with space up to 40GB, but these models are obviously even more expensive.

I can hardly believe that someone in the western world hasn’t noticed the new trend, the MP3 player.
During the past two years this little machine has sold incredibly well to all kinds of people in all different ages. You see them everywhere, in gyms, on the train, on the city’s roads and in school, you name it.

The two first reasons for why MP3 players are selling so good is that they often are very small if you compare them to a regular CD-freestyle and the other reason is because of the invasion of broadband. Even if it’s (in the most cases) illegal, more music than ever is being downloaded from the internet. The price of the MP3 players also has a finger in the pie since you find decent players below 1000 SEK and for a top-end player you have to pay around 3500 SEK. For that amount of money you can have a player with about 5 gigabytes of space. Today there are also even larger players available, some with space up to 40GB, but these models are obviously even more expensive.

As a faithful CD-freestyle user the tendency of music ”jumping” is an everlasting curse and you can really become crazy if you are out jogging or cycling. Sure, there are some more or less good techniques preventing this, but with an MP3 player you avoid this completely since there are no moving parts in it.
Another advantage compare to a CD-freestyle is that you generally can load more music on a digital memory then on a CD-disc. It’s true that the music is compressed to MP3, but the quality of the headphones included in portable music players there is no direct difference for the ones who consumes music on a reasonable level (i.e. not the undersigned).
A regular MP3 player uses the all-round USB port which is standard on almost all computers since the time of Windows 98. On some models you can also charge the batteries with the USB port which means that you have yet another thing less to take care of. The USB port does not necessarily look as it does on the back of your computer; a lot of different mini variants have come out lately. These mini variants suit MP3 players better in such way that it makes it possible to really decrease the size of the players.

I think that a MP3 player sold today shouldn’t have anything less then 128MB storage capacity. That is around 30-35 tracks with regular MP3 encoding (128-192 kbps, CBR). Observe that the memory can store a lot more than only music; it can store files just like your hard drive can, like a large floppy disc. So if you tend to bring a lot of work home from your work/school it’s a lot simpler to put it on the MP3 player instead of using an ancient floppy disc or burning it on a CD. To guide you through the jungle of strange stuff, NordicHardware will review an MP3 player for the first time, but we can guarantee that it won’t be the last player which makes a visit in our test lab.

We’ve got a 128MB player from Eksitdata which costs 1495 SEK in the moment of writing. It is in the most sold class of players, hence the competition between most of the manufacturers.

Let’s begin with the review by clicking on the link below to go further.


Eksitdata has given us some time to look at their newest MP3-player from the Korean manufacturer Hyun Won INC. For those of you who have not heard of Hyun Won INC before, I can inform you that they were under the name M.any before the switch and they have a lot of nice looking and innovative players on their conscience. DAH-900 is said to be extremely filled with new details and should be able to do just about anything you can imagine.

mobiBLU DAH-900: Specifications

Format support:
MP3 8-320 Kbps
VBR 8-320 Kbps
WMA 32-160 Kbps
Memory capacity:
128 Mb
Frequency response, Radio:
87,5-108 MHz
Signal to Noise Ratio, Radio:
50 dB
Signal strength:
16 Ohm, 7mW
Frequency response:
20Hz-20KHz
Signal to Noise Ratio, MP3:
90 dB
Interface to computer:
USB 1.1
Transfer speed from computer:
Max 4 Mbps
Power supply:
2x 1.5 volt batteries 
Life span of battery:
26 hours with Vol20, MP3 (128 Kbps)
Dimensions BxHxT:
60mm x 86mm x 15mm 
Weight:
37 grams (without batteries)
System requirements:
Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP
At least 200 MHz CPU 
32 MB RAM memory
30 MB of harddrive space
CD-ROM-player
USB-port
Internet connection (for updates) 
Price:
1495 SEK

 

Design and quality

The specifications for the DAH-900 are not very ordinary but how does the interior look? I am getting flashbacks from the summer of 1999 when I bought my first MP3-player, a Rio PMP300 with 32 MB of memory. The big button (that is also on the mentioned Rio-player) in the middle of the summer does not feel very 2004 but more like July 1999. Ok, it is functional and even a person with serious vision problems can see what the buttons mean, but is it good-looking? No, absolutely not. A positive thing is that it is made in a durable and button-friendly rubber-like material. The feeling of pushing the buttons also feels very thorough which I think is important for the total quality feeling. Apart from the big button in the middle, there are two small round buttons placed pretty badly below the display that controls the menu and the recording functions.


The front with the big ugly button.

If we go a few millimeters up we come to a real masterpiece. The display. It is not just big but it is also very clear with a harmonic blue light. Everything feels very logically layed out and you get a grip on what all the icons do pretty fast. Since you can set the contrast at ten different settings, you can customize the display after your own thoughts and taste. The fact that it is very bright and clear makes it even better. If we turn the player, there is a very ordinary back you meet; technical specifications and the battery door. The first time I opened the battery door I thought it was broken, but when I looked closer you could see that it was supposed to be that badly fastened. It is hanging in teeny weeny plastic beam that almost can be broken by a little blow of air, which means that you have to put your silk mittens on when it is time to change the batteries.

The sides are made in a bit more rough material, which is the same as the buttons. It feels very pleasant to hold on to and you will not loose the grip in the first place. At the top of the side you can see the minimal USB-port hidden behind a little rubber door, and on the other side you have the headphone input and a socket for a remote if you have one (can be bought as an accessory)


Note the lanky battery door at the back of the DAH-900

The quality is thoroughly good apart from the incident with the battery door. It is a bit odd that they have done this type of construction when everything else is genuine and good. Concerning the size it is pretty large and wide but this is corrected by its low height. The advantage of it being low and wide instead of looking cubic like an iRiver is that it is not visible beneath your sweater or in your shirt pocket. I am a lot more friendly with the low and wide players than I am with the cubic ones, but it is really a matter of taste. If you look at the design of the player in general it looks very unimaginative and almost made from a template. Everything is symmetrical and Huyn Won INC have not been very innovative anywhere if you ask me. The colors are not very innovative either; metallic gray and dark blue.

The design is simply functional but not very good-looking.

Now it is time to look closer at the player’s functions and characteristics but also a bit more information about its LCD display.


mobiBLU’s goal with DAH-900 has probably been to implement as many features as possible and also being able to keep the price down at a reasonable level, I must say they have succeeded very good with this. Apart from the ordinary MP3 player it has also got radio and voice memory. The MP3 player function works flawlessly and even the most untechnical person should be able to use it.

If you have so called ID3 tags (digital label) on your music it rolls on the display, observe rolls, it does not stutter as it does on some other players with such a system. You can forward and rewind, change the volume, pause and use different repeating settings, in other words it’s just as any portable music player this far.
It is not until you look in the menu that the DAH-900 starts to express itself. Apart from a nice five-band equalizer with memory for two different presets there are settings for display contrast, repeat adjustments, the speed of the rewind/forwarding, the display light, power saving settings, system information and erasing. In short a lot of stuff that no person would need really, except for the equalizer of course.
Apart from the fact that you can save two of your own equalizer presets there are 5 pre-set presets, normal, rock, jazz, classical and pop. It works OK and there’s a big difference between the different presets, though they are a bit mediocre for each genre but you shouldn’t complain since it’s only a five-band equalizer we have to deal with.

MP3-mode
The menu system
Radio mode

Hyun Won INC hasn’t satisfied us with only two different audio tweakings, but has also added SRS and Trubass, all this under the name WOW effects. Trubass is not hard to figure out what it is, it works real bad with the headphones you get but when I used my own headphones (Koss the plug) it sounded pretty good and the bass was about as heavy as you can get out of a normal MP3.
SRS tries with help from echo effects and other jibberish with the art of creating the sought-after room feeling. Personally I felt that the sound got much worse and distorted, I don’t give much for artificial room feeling but on the other hand I’m picky with the audio sounding real.

Apart from an MP3 player the DAH-900 also contains an ordinary FM-radio and a voice memory. The radio is very easy to control and it’s simple to get started quickly, in other words; just as it’s supposed to be. With the ff/rw buttons you can set what radio station you want, the scale begins at 87.5 and ends at 108 MHz just as any other radio. I had a bad time trying to get a good signal though, in the city it was completely acceptable but out in the forest I got no reception at all. I might add that my car stereo had a very good reception at the places where the MP3 player failed. In short the radio is easily managed but has got a lousy reception.
A small thing that I did not notice in the beginning was that you could record what was played on the radio, but if it’s of any use to anyone is another matter. The voice memory is in my opinion a pretty useless function that I won’t use in any greater extent. Anyways, the voice record is as simple to control as any of the other functions on the DAH-900, just press REC for record and then Stop to logically stop the recording. The quality of the recording is surprisingly enough very high and should be enough for shopping lists or ”to do”-messages which I can think the voice memory should be useful for. If you of any reason would have a complete empty memory on the MP3 player you can record up to 9 hours of voice memory, this is also the case if you ”rip” from the radio.


The box didn’t just contain the player, which is pretty obvious of course since then you wouldn’t have much use of it without a couple of headphones or the USB cable. Hyun Won INC has been generous with enclosing the documentation I must say, at least for such a cheap player. Except a 4-color manual in english Eksitdata (which is the Swedish importer) has also sent an excellent ”quickstart” manual in Swedish, also in color. The manual which is enclosed describes everything you might wonder about your player so I can’t think of anything else than to give the highest grade to the documentation. 

The MP3 player works without any drivers but it comes with a CD-R disc with tools for formatting and download of new updates to the operating system. I had to use the update tool directly since I for some reason lacked the WOW effects. Then you might wonder why they’ve put everything on a CD-R, it feels unprofessional but there is probably some economical aspects which chooses the CD-R in front of pressed discs. 

A real pair of headphones is a must, often the headphones is the bottleneck when you buy an MP3 player. The manufacturers has a tendency to enclose real low quality headphones which don’t match the rest of the player at all, is Hyun Won INC following the current or have they for once achieved to manufacture a good pair of headphones? The answer is a clear no, it smells low budget plastic a long way and the ergonomics is anything else but good.
The sound keeps an average class but doesn’t justify the rest of the player. The most annoying part with the headphones is the metal grid which is in front of the membrane, especially when the temperature drops to minus degrees (Celsius). If you then remove earplugs from the ears the metal gets really cold and it’s a nasty story to put them back in, why not stick to the plastic? My advice to all of you who are thinking of investing in a DAH-900 is to add a couple of other headphones in the order which can justify the player.

DAH-900 in the protection
Large against small USB

For you who keep the cell phone together with all the coins and keys in the pocket don’t know that it doesn’t take long until the cell phone is covered with scratches. An MP3 player also has a tendency to end up in the pocket too and therefore face the same destiny. Hyun Won INC has taken care of this though and they’ve enclosed a small bag to keep it in, made of a material with a silicon feeling which protects the display and great parts of the front/rear of the player, I was surprised how it wasn’t affected by daily usage. I tried to scratch it pretty hard with a key without success, in other words two thumbs up. As if it wasn’t enough where was also the option to attach a necklace to the silicon bag so you could have it around your neck. The necklace is made of a silver colored band of cloth which is covered with the same silicon as the bag is made of which makes it very strong.

To be able to transfer files to the computer you need an USB cable, an approx. 1m long cable comes with this player which should be enough if you haven’t hid the computer too far away. Personally I don’t find it very smooth with a cable though, there are players which has an USB contact built-in the player it self and you don’t have to drag around the cable. Imagine that you use the MP3 player for downloading some work that has to be done at home, then you have to take the cable with you wherever you go and it’s not that tempting for me. The risk of forgetting the cable at work/in school is also there, at least for me who doesn’t have the world’s best memory. The MP3 player looses some of it’s mobility so to speak. I therefore encourage all the manufacturers to manufacture their MP3 players with an USB contact build-in the player itself in the future.


I could imagine that Hyon Won INC’s main priority was to put as many gadget as possible into an MP3 player, and without a doubt, they have succeeded. However, if all the functions are really useful is another question.
From the economical point of view the mobiBLU 900 is a fairly cheap MP3 player that costs less than a branded one, but more than the cheapest noname MP3 player. The price of technical stuff tends to swing as often I change underwear, which means that in a couple of weeks the mobiBLU 900 have dropped a little and most likely there is a new version and hopefully a better looking player for the same price.
The DAH-900 price feels rather humane at 1495 SEK. If you are really a trendy person I cannot recommend the above as the design is quite far away from hot. On the other hand, if looks don’t matter that much to you the DAH-900 is a good option, as long as you get yourself a nice pair of headphones.

mobiBLU DAH-900

Pros:
+ Technically completed
+ Good documentation
+ Good bag and neck strap
+ Price-quality ratio
+ Battery time
+ Weight, only 36 grams w/o batteries
+ The display

Cons:
– Bad headphones
– The looks
– USB cable instead of a plug directly on the player

We bow to Eksitdata for supplying us with this superb MP3 player. If there is a good response to this article we will continue reviewing MP3 players, and a way to show you interest is to post a few lines about it in the forum.

Annons

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