The HisoundAudio Rocoo-A is aiming to capitalise on that subset of digital audio player (DAP) buyers who actually care about the quality of the music played back by their device, not just how funky they look dancing in silhouette with it. It may not be a massive market, as the iPod's market share shows, but it exists.
The first sign that HisoundAudio has geared its Rocoo-A towards quality reproduction is the use of a Class A amplifier. Generally these aren't seen in DAPs because of their terrible inefficiency. However, HiSoundAudio reckons that it's mitigated that problem to manageable levels in the Rocoo-A.
This high power-draw amp does seem to directly affect battery life, though. HisoundAudio claims 10-hours of battery life, which isn't exactly class-leading - the likes of the Apple iPod nano and the Sony NWZ-E443 will easily manage double that. Nonetheless, we managed to get two day's use while in the office out of the Rocoo-A before a re-charge was required, which will prove good enough for most.
The Rocoo-A has 4GB of internal memory, but that's not the limit of its capacity. There's also an SDHC card reader at the device's end, which will accept cards up to 16GB in capacity. In theory, therefore you can actually listen to as much music as you can carry with you on memory cards. That's a level of flexibility we wish other manufacturers would adopt, so kudos to the Rocoo-A on that front.
What's particularly nifty is that the Rocoo-A also serves as a card reader for any media inside it. Connecting the player via its mini-USB connection, which is also used to charge it, gives access to both the internal memory and any inserted card separately. It's a small detail, perhaps, but one that makes managing your portable media collection a little bit easier.