Above the display is a Play/Pause button that doubles up as a power button, while to the left of it is the SRS/EQ button that switches between the various presets. On the top edge of the unit is a moderately chunky Hold button, and on either side are two 3.5mm headphone sockets.
Of all the features, these are probably the most useful as they enable you to plug in two sets of headphones for easy sharing. The Blade also comes with a set of neck strap earphones that utilise both the sockets. This means you can carry the player hung around your neck, and it’s light enough to wear this way quite comfortably.
Unfortunately, the provided earphones are woefully poor and anyone with any sense would rather use a better set of third party earphones. Moreover, if one were to buy a third party set of neck strap earphones you wouldn’t be able to use them in the same way since you’re very unlikely to find another set with two 3.5mm plugs. As a result you’d have to hang the player slightly sideways, which rather negates the point of the design.
To add insult to injury the design of the The Blade means that, when wearing the player this way, you have operate it upside down – or twist it around to view it correctly. Since this is meant to be a key feature it seems incongruous that MPMan didn’t design it the other way around, putting the 3.5mm connections on the bottom of the unit rather than the top – just like the iPod nano in fact.