World's Smallest MP3 Player MobiBLU DAH-1500i

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The MobiBLU 1500 Series was just recently released in the United State and is being sold at Wal-Mart in several different colors and two different sizes- 512MB and 1GB. It sells for $100 and $130 respectively, so it priced right inline with the iPod Shuffle. However the 1500i is leaps and bounds ahead of the Shuffle with a bright OLED screen and tons of other features such as FM radio, FM recording, voice recording, EQ, and SRS WOW. The player supports MP3, WMA, and WMA DRM.

Please note that this is a review of the MobiBLU DAH-1500i, which is exclusively sold in the United States. If you are living in Europe and Asia you will want to read the MobiBLU DAH-1500 review (without the “i”), as there are some differences between the two.

Inside the Box

The 1500i comes with necklace earphones, USB charging/transfer cable, protective case, program CD, and manual. The player itself is a tiny 24 x 24 x 24 millimeters and weighs 18 grams or just under one square inch and about 0.64 ounces.

The Program CD

The only thing on the program CD is a universal mass storage driver for Windows 98 and a firmware update program. They were smart in leaving out the software to keep the cost down. Plus, there is really no need for another media player, as there are already many programs and utilities for free that will rip, burn, organize, and play your music.

Necklace Earphones

The player can be comfortably worn around your neck with the supplied necklace earphones which are incased in a fabric, making them very durable and comfortable. The quality of the earphones is not amazing but is slightly above what you would expect from stock earphones.

USB charging/transfer cable

There is only one input on the 1500i and it is the phono jack. Through this jack you will recharge, transfer and listen to music. It is a nice all in one solution and it keeps the clutter to a minimum, but one might complain that you cannot listen to the player and charge it at the same time.

Protective Case

The protective case is a nice touch. It is made of a flexible rubber which will protect the edges from getting dented or dinged and also gives it some shock protection when dropped.

Transferring Music On and Off

Loading up the player was as easy as it gets. It shows up as a universal mass storage, no drivers needed. This player demonstrates how all players should handle music and file transfers. The player is exemplary when it comes to loading and unloading your music.

The player is USB 2.0 but is relatively slow for being 2.0. I ran several disk benchmarks on it and it consistently got about 3 mbps. To give you a perspective it takes about 6-7 minutes to fill an entire 1GB player.

Navigation

The navigation of the 1500i is one of the player’s strong points. The navigation is handled by the directional and center button on the right side and a menu button on the left. The navigation is intuitive and simple; I took to it almost immediately. When you copy music onto the player, the folder structures stay intact. This makes it easy to navigate and find your music.

One of the major problems I have with this player is that it does not play the tracks alphabetically, nor will it determine the play order by looking at the track number in the tags. To me this is very annoying. I know for a fact that this can be corrected in future firmware updates because the Europe/Asian version the DAH-1500 version plays the tracks in order just fine. Hopefully they will fix this in the future.

A nice added feature to the US version is the playlist feature. This allows you to make an on-the-go playlist by simply highlighting the tracks with the press of a button.

FM Radio

The FM reception on the 1500i is good. While you may have trouble picking up some slightly faint stations, it plays the strong stations as you would expect.

Another cool feature is the FM recording which can be set to record at various bit rates up to 160 kbps. It does a great job recording, but you will still hear a hiss in the background because you are recording an FM signal. But it is none the less excellent for what it is.

Voice Recording

One of the features that they added for the US version of the player was voice recording. It will allow you to record at different bit rates up to 160 kbps. The gain can be set on the player to be able to pick up your voice in quiet or noisy environments.

Battery Life

The player is rated at a 10 hour max battery life. From what I have found under normal use it is more towards 8 hours and this will depend on how loud you play it and what EQ setting you have turned on.

DRM

The DRM is based on Microsoft “Janus” meaning that it will work with most services like Napster. Tracks can be purchased individually from various online music services, however it is limited in some ca
ses where it will not work with Napster To Go or other unlimited online services.

Performance

Even though the cube is tiny it packs a surprisingly good sound. I would rate the sound quality as slightly better than the average flash player. Like everyone I would like to see gapless playback. In between tracks there is a slightly larger than normal gap- about two seconds. This may be able to be fixed with an update to the firmware.

Conclusion

The players inability to play tracks in order must be fixed, this is what I consider to be the players major flaw (MobiBLU, please fix this!). In addition, it could improve on the track transition and possibly add gapless playback.

Other than that, MobiBLU has created a very nice MP3 player in a miniature package without sacrificing usability. The DAH-1500i is a great on-the-go player for its tiny size and necklace headphones. The screen is bright and the navigation is well thought out. Transferring music on and off of the player is a snap by simply dragging and dropping without the need of additional software.

At the present time I think that the MobiBLU DAH-1500i is one of the better flash players on the market and it is steps ahead of the iPod Shuffle, which is the same price as the MobiBLU. Shuffle Killer? Absolutely.[source]

Pros

It’s Tiny
Bright OLED Display
Recognized as Universal Storage Device
Easy to use menus
To the second resume
Cons

It’s Tiny
Does not play alphabetically!
No Gapless Playback

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