Digitalway MPIO FD100 128MB: test and review

With MPIO FD100, Digitalway offer a marvel. The manufacturer has met the robust feature set of the FL100 in the FD100. Although the FD100 is more imposing, its wired remote control, its pleasant headphones and longer range make it more interesting for fans of MP3 that will not only emphasize compactness.

The FD100 housing measuring 6.6 x 6.6 x 1.9 cm and is available in shades of red, silver, light blue or green. A backlit four-line occupies the center and the wheel forward and rewind, playback / pause and recording, as well as the multifunction button are on two sides. A third side features the USB port protected by a cover, the lock button and memory card slot.

Digitalway includes a wired remote control about the size of a finger to control all basic playback functions. Unlike most remote controls for MP3 players, one of the FD100 has a screen (LCD backlight of a line). The wire 76 cm on the remote ends with a standard mini jack socket, so it is possible to connect a pair of headphones while continuing to use the remote control.

The FD100 has a slot to accommodate a SmartMedia memory card format, which gives it the ability to play music and more hours, it supports cards of 16 MB to 128 MB If no memory card, a replica plastic keeps the connector free of dust. The player also comes with a transparent plastic casing with a handy belt clip.

Remote with a screen

The FD100 brings the same arsenal of features as its big brother, the FL100: voice message recording, FM tuner and MP3 playback, WMA and ASF. Although it does not support playlists, it creates several files in which it is possible to group songs by artist, album or genre.

The FD100 also includes seven equalizer presets (EQ) EQ plus a custom mode with a five band equalizer. Backlight time of the LCD, automatic recovery function, title display, standby mode, the menu language and other settings crowd can be changed with a few clicks of the button controls.

An integrated microphone records voice messages as WAV files downloaded from a PC or Mac with the included MPIO Manager software (for Windows or Mac OS 9.x). The FD100 also has an FM tuner and can record radio broadcasts. MPIO Manager adds the station name or other text to twenty tuner presets. The recording time is limited only by the available memory and the unit includes counters displaying the recorded time and the remaining time. If lack of space while recording, deleting files is done simply without having to connect to a computer.

Following RealOne media is included on the CD, as a small companion module that enables Windows Media Player to load music files on the FD100. The management of more advanced file (folder creation and firmware upgrades) requires the installation of MPIO Manager. Macintosh users will appreciate that the software supports all recent versions of Apple Mac OS, iTunes companion module is compatible with OS X and OS 9.x with MPIO Manager

Unlike some MP3 players competitors such as Creative MuVo, it is not possible to directly access the FD100 as a data unit. However, non-music files can be downloaded to and from the unit with MPIO Manager. All other audio files remain confined to the device and can not be downloaded to a second computer, even if it runs MPIO Manager.

very tough

The navigation button five-way sensitivity (joystick type) of the wired remote lets you control volume, forward and rewind, playback and pause and start / stop. Given that manages all these functions, you must learn to have a light hand to use it well. Even with practice, it is easy to turn off the device by mistake while trying to lower the volume. Nevertheless, this remote is better than that provided on most MP3 players: the screen allows a line to let the player indefinitely tucked in your pocket or backpack.

The sound quality of FD100 was pretty good, with a signal / noise respectable 85 dB. However, we wished that the pure signal can be more powerful. Volume levels were adequate in most cases with standard Sennheiser HD-280PRO headphones to 64 ohms, but the low output level (6 mW per channel) could in no way compete with noisy areas such as docks Metro New York. In addition, 6 mW are not enough to get big headphones “house” of 32 ohms at high volumes. Users who like to push the very high volume may find FD100 a bit feeble.

The manufacturer promises an amazing battery life of 24 hours, after 19 hours, the battery still worked. The speed of file transfer was 0.51 MB per second, so it takes nearly 4 minutes 30 to fill 128 MB, which is not incredibly slow or incredibly fast. In addition, the file transfer software is sometimes blocked or added noise on the audio files, especially during large transfers.