It was way back in September 2003 (when TR was just a teeny, ickle baby) that we reviewed the first Mega Stick and rather liked it. The Mega name that MSI attaches to all its products does tend to set it up for a fall, but so far it seems to have successfully avoided any major pitfalls.
The latest Mega Stick, the 528, looks set to continue this trend. Available in 512MB and 1GB sizes, these flash memory based players now include direct MP3 encoding so users will be able to rip CDs into MP3, a massive 18 hours of playback time off a single AAA battery and USB2.0 for high speed transfers. There’s also seven different backlit screens so you can match your player to your clothes, hair or lipstick, depending on your level of vanity.
Carried over from previous models is the trusty FM radio which can record broadcasts straight to WMA and has 15 station presets, as well as SRS WOW sound technology which performs 3D effect algorithms to enhance bass and dynamic range.
The killer feature of the new Mega Stick, however, is price. The 512MB version will sell for just £69 including VAT (less than an iPod Shuffle - which has no screen and cannot play tracks in any predefined order). Shipping will be in the next few weeks. UK pricing for the 1GB model has not yet been finalised but, it if all goes well, it should follow soon after.
Mega? Certainly Mega Value.