When I was asked to write this review of MSI Digi Player 600 my Editor challenged me to do so without using the word derivative. Well, it looks like I failed on that score. What he was of course referring to is the fact that the Digi Player’s design is clearly reminiscent of Apple’s iPod shuffle, with a similar shape and white livery. It also sports a similar looking control button arrangement and at 29g it’s about the same weight – only 7g heavier.
At 1GB it matches the iPod shuffle’s capacity but the main difference is that it offers a display, the lack of one being the biggest criticisms of the iPod shuffle. Not only that the display is colour. But not only can the Digi Player display photos, but it can also play video. It handles both MP3 and WMA, sports an FM radio and a microphone. Basically then, the MSI Digi Player 600 slays that iPod shuffle for features, yet costs £20 less. So why wouldn’t I touch it with a barge pole? Let me explain.
The MSI looks reasonable enough in its white livery and it feels perfectly fine in the hand but it undeniably looks cheaper than the iPod. As you can see from the picture, while the MSI logo appear vertically, the player is actually designed to be held horizontally – that’s the way the playback buttons and screen is aligned. In the corner next to the screen is a small microphone and to the right, the playback buttons, which have a poor feel to them. They are also slightly too close together, which means that you can press one at the same time as you press another. On the top edge are three buttons for controlling repeat functions, for accessing menus and for switching between equalizer modes.
The player connects to the player via USB 2.0. However, unlike the iPod shuffle there’s no built in USB connector. Instead you have to attach an external USB dongle via the multi purpose mini jack connector. This then plugs into a supplied USB cable, which you in turn plug into your PC. It’s a clumsy method and knocks on the head any ideas of using this as portable storage without carrying all the cables with you.