Pros: Best quality I've ever heard on an MP3 player!
Cons: Bad accessories, horrible and slow software
MP3-players are getting smaller and smaller, and the latest trend is to integrate them into your clothes. The Panasonic e-wear series is a nice example of that? but do they work as well as other players?
It?s so cute!
The Panasonic SV-SD75 e-wear is the smallest MP3-player I?ve ever seen, and it weighs next to nothing. It?s beautifully designed and you hardly feel you have it with you. You can even hang it around your neck with the accompanying string. More than half of the front of the device is taken up by the screen, consisting of a black background with light letters. A backlight would have been useful, though I have to admit these things eat batteries anyway. The AAA battery is wonderfully worked into the design, and at the bottom there?s a selector that gives you access to the SV-SD75?s limited options.
Does size matter?
The options are indeed quite limited, but that?s understandable when you take a look at the player?s small dimensions. It has a couple though; besides the obligatory Play, Fast Forward, Rewind and Stop button, there?s a volume control at the side and a lever that lets you choose between Normal, XBass or Train mode. Xbass suppresses heavy bass sounds, and the Train mode makes sure the other people on the train don?t bash in your skull because they?re irritated by the loud drum and bass escaping from your headset. Those are all the available options ? no equalizer.
No pirates please
The SV-SD75 has a standard 64 MB (Megabyte) flashcard. Panasonic uses their own SD-cards - SD standing for ?Secure Digital? ? which are compatible with the SDMI (Secure Digital Music Initiative) that could stop illegal copying and spreading of music in the long run. Don?t get me wrong, you can still upload copied music, but it?s possible that this might not be possible in the future.
Real Jukebox, a real pain!
The accompanying software consists of the Real Jukebox package. And this is anything but ideal. In true Real-tradition this program clutters your desktop and system tray with icons. Recording and transferring MP3s sometimes seemed like our famous ?Echternach procession? (where you take two steps forward and one step back). You can only rip discs at a maximum of 96 kbps (kilobytes per second), so less than cd-quality ? unless you use the AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) format, which allows you to go up to 128 kbps. But I want my standard 128 kbps MP3s! This is the standard and I have no idea why the dweebs at Real didn?t put this into their program. I advise you to use a different ripper (Creative?s Playcenter 2 for example) and only use the Real Jukebox software to cram the MP3s onto the player. Oh, and don?t try using the software on a computer that has Windows 2000 installed?
Upload speed, or rather ?upload slowness?
In order to load music onto the SV-SD75, you have to take the SD card out and plugged it into the USB cradle that comes with the player. So you?re not loading your player directly, like you do with the Rio 500. Even though the device uses USB, the upload speed was a serious disappointment. Putting 60 MB of music took about as long as uploading 150 MB onto the Creative Jukebox. Luckily it still doesn?t take all that long and is only mildly annoying.
It always pays to accessorize? or does it?
I wasn?t too thrilled with the accessories that came with the player. The plastic wrist band that you can use to carry the Panasonic around your wrist, feels much too fragile. And you look like a complete idiot wearing it. The ear plugs are, frankly, of an embarrassingly low quality. The sound is ?blunt?, and more escapes from the sides than what goes into your ears. If you buy this player, do buy a good headset to go with it.
But where quality of sound is concerned, the Panasonic excels in all areas. Both AAC and MP3 files are presented pure and clearly, and it rocks! This e-wear leaves all other MP3-players I?ve known trailing far behind if you look at sound quality alone ? if you get a good headset, of course. Even the Creative Jukebox, that sports a whole EAX system, has to make way for the SV-SD75. Sound gets an A+
This beautifully shaped gadget comes with a hefty price tag attached, though it?s not much more expensive than other excellent players. It will be hard to outshine the Panasonic SV-SD75 e-wear in music sensation, but the shortcomings in the accessories and the software are too many to make this player a classic.