mpio HD200 – MP3 Player Review - mpio HD200 Review

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Transferring music onto the HD200 couldn’t be easier as it is detected as a removable hard drive by Windows and you simply drag and drop the files across. It should also work with Mac OS 9.04 and later, although I did not have the opportunity to test this. The HD200 also comes with a plug-in for Media Player 10 so you can sync your playlists with the HD200, while the USB 2.0 interface makes files transfers quick and hassle free.


The only problem is that if you’re trying to sync MP3 files Media Player 10 converts them to WMA. The HD200 can play MP3, WMA, OGG and ASF files, which is quite an impressive range. For anyone that’s concerned with sound quality, the OGG support will be an attractive feature. We tried playing tracks encoded at different bit rates, with some encoded at variable bit rate and the HD200 had no problem playing them all back.


The only real gripe I had with the player is the way the navigation and menus work. The jog dial isn’t the easiest to use and it’s not quite clear – without reading the manual – that the record button also acts as a back button in the menus.


You can’t create playlists on the device and if you want to use the playlist or genre options in the menu, you have to enter the information manually. Standard Winamp playlists work fine, but this is not the easiest way of doing things.


The sound quality is however very impressive and the HD200 is almost on a par with the iRiver players – thought by the TrustedReviews staff to offer the best sound quality out there. The HD200 supports SRS 3D sound as well as SRS WOW which adds a very rich bass sound. There is a wide range of preset equalizer settings as well as a manual option. The only complaint is that the supplied headphones are far from impressive, but to be fair, that complaint could be levelled at almost every digital music player out there.


You don’t get much in terms of accessories in the box – there’s a charger, a USB 2.0 cable and a 3.5mm stereo cable for the direct encoding functionality. This is done via the line in connector at the bottom of the player and the player encodes in MP3.


The mpio HD200 is cheaper than both the Zen Micro and the iRiver H10. It equals both in terms of features, with the exception of screen quality. But the navigation is nowhere near as slick as either the Zen Micro or the H10, both of which use a touch sensitive slider. The HD200 is priced lower than its two competitors, but not enough to make it the better choice.


At £159.95 it is one of the cheapest 5GB hard drive players you can buy, but if you dig a bit deeper you can have the Zen Micro, which is smaller, has a better display, is easier to use and has a removable battery.


”’Verdict”’


The mpio HD200 can playback an impressive range of music formats and it’s cheaper than its competitors, but ultimately, the navigation system lets it down. That said, if you’re really strapped for cash, or desperately need OGG support it might be worth considering.

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