It’s a shame too because the lightness of the unit makes it perfect for jogging or going to the gym, where you could keep the player underneath a shirt. You can still use the player like this, but changing tracks or the volume is rather less intuitive than it could and ought to be.
Loading music onto the player is predictably simple, with The Blade acting as a removable drive. The player connects to the PC via a USB cable that plugs into one of the 3.5mm jacks – the device charges when connected to the PC too. Alternatively an AC Adapter is supplied with a USB socket, which is used in conjunction with the supplied cable.
Playing files is similarly uncomplicated, though it’s annoying that you have to go to an entirely different screen to change play modes. In general the interface isn’t the most attractive and easy to use either, taking a good deal of getting used to.
File support is fairly limited, though there is support for OGG audio files along with the ubiquitous MP3 and WMA formats. Of course, more formats could be added via firmware updates but it’s not a gamble worth taking.
Ultimately, it’s difficult to imagine why one would choose The Blade over more recognised players that are easier to use and better designed. You can get a 2GB iPod nano for the same price as the 2GB version, or an iPod Shuffle for the less than the 1GB version. Alternatively, there’s SanDisk’s Sansa range, which offers you a 2GB Sansa with a similar feature list for roughly the same price as the 1GB edition of The Blade.
The most that can be said about The Blade is that it does what it’s supposed to do; it plays music well enough and although the video and photo features are somewhat pointless they do at least work. Voice and radio recording add some other tempting features, but the overall design and price point of The Blade make it difficult to recommend.
Score in detail
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