At the side of the player is the afore mentioned mini jack connector for your headphones, USB and the supplied power charger. It also charges over USB. Next to this is an On/Off switch – but flicking this to On doesn’t actually switch on the player – to do this your have to hold down the Play/Pause button. But it doesn’t respond straight away, which means that you press it again – so that it comes on and then immediately turns off again. Once you have managed to turn it on, something that initially foxed everyone that picked it up, you hold down the EQ button to enable a soft key hold switch.
After the rigmarole or turning it on you’re confronted with a quite snazzy looked 3D style menu – with a music icon and the various functions available by scrolling left or right with the selection swivelling into view. Bizarrely though, you don’t access a given function by pressing the Play button in the centre as you would expect – instead you select the M labelled button at the top. If there’s an award for counter-intuitive interface design – this has got to be a contender.
As for the GUI – it looks as though whoever designed the chip inside got as far as the initial screen then either ran out of time or couldn’t be bothered. You instead get a very flat looking layout with basic angular text and too much information for such as small screen. You get the folder and beneath that the track playing. Above this you get the file format and the bit-rate, which flicks between numbers when playing Variable Bit-Rate files, the EQ setting and the time elapsed, and the total track time. At the bottom you get the date, the volume level and the battery remaining indicator. Really, it’s all too much for the one inch screen.
The display is OLED, which is used to fabulous effect in mono form on players like the iRiver N10 and the Sony NW-E507. Here however, in colour, it looks washed out and grainy. Not surprisingly photos don’t exactly look their best, though I’m not sure why you’d want to view photos on a screen with a one inch diagonal.
If that’s true of photos, how much more so for video? Remarkably, and largely pointlessly, MSI has squeezed this in too. It plays a format called AMV and a converter is supplied on the CD. It works, converting a short DIVX file without issue but really – the screen on this thing will make the one on your mobile seem like the Odeon Leicester Square.