With MobiBLU A7, the dry spell has ended and a good low-end digital audio player (DAP) has finally hit the shelves. Contending with the established players from Aigo, Philips, Transcend and Creative, will the new MobiBLU make the cut?
The MobiBLU A7 is a very good looking MP3 player and reminds me of the Philips GoGear SA1355. Like the SA1355, the A7 has a classy reflective front with a series of navigation keys that are vertically arranged. The 1.1-inch monochrome OLED display is large and clear enough to display all the relevant options. The power switch is on one side and a mini USB port that doubles up as a charging port is on the other side. Right beside it is the standard 3.5 mm earphone socket.
The player weighs only 18 g, so it is quite portable. It also comes with a small strap so you can clip it on. There’s no neck strap though. The display seems like it could get scratched easily, but after using it for a week, there didn’t seem to be too many.
The interface is pretty standard as DAPs go. Nothing to write home about. Navigation takes a little getting used to, but give yourself five minutes of manoeuvring through the various features and settingsto get it down pat. The icons are large and comprehendable, as are the sub menu systems.
A five way navigation-pad would have made getting around a whole lot easier, as you need to switch between the skip keys that access the main menu to the volume keys to access the sub menus.
To use the radio, make sure you switch the region to USA or you won’t get anything but static. The reception is pretty good in most places except while you’re commuting. Sit near a window if you want to listen to the radio.
You can even record tracks from the radio. The files are stored on the memory in .WAV format. You’ll have to be sure that you’re in an area where the reception is crystal clear though, if you intend to do any recording.
The mobiBLU’s battery life is better than average. It ran for over 12 straight hours on a single charge. Although it requires a USB cable unlike the GoGear that has a built in connector, that’s hardly an issue if you look at that figure again: 12 hours.
On the whole the music quality is not bad at all. I could have done with a little more volume (which goes up to a weird number i.e. 32). It’s not a big deal though and it manages to help focus on something other than the city so it’ll do. There are EQ settings to choose from if you want to adjust the output according to your preferences and to further enhance that option, there is also a customisable 5 band graphic EQ setting. Sadly, you’ll have to navigate through the main system while playing audio if you want to change the EQ settings.
The music player’s interface is quite amusing though. It’s very animated. It seems like there’s a couple of ‘people’ dancing in the centre with music notes emitting from their legs. Track time, volume and the selected EQ option among other things are crammed on the top portion of the display. You won’t be able to use playlists in this DAP so you’ll have to settle for individual folders with your tastes segregated.
The MobiBLU A7 also has a couple of other features like voice recorder that records via the integrated microphone in .WAV format and an eBook reader that recognises Word files stored in a .TXT format. The display is bright and clear enough to read from but not for very long. You’ll only be able to read about three lines as the fourth is taken up by the name of the file.
This MP3 player is priced quite reasonably at Rs 3,250 (MRP) for a whopping 4 GB of space. It’s also possible that it’ll be available for a lot less as the market price in some places is about Rs 2, 750. Four GB will ensure that you have plenty of music, and the player will give you great battery life and pretty good audio quality o boot. At that price, I’d say you should consider it pretty seriously if you’re looking for a small, lightweight music player with plenty of space and features.