Big pond, small fish
In the portable media player market, well-known brands aren’t the only choice you have. Sometimes, it pays to search for the unknown ones
There are plenty of PMP options, including some big brands. But that doesn't mean you should write off relatively lesser known ones either. Take, for instance, the Enter E-M500, which, as we discovered, was quite a find.
The Enter MP4 player has a 2.4-inch TFT LCD that sports 16 million colours and a 480x240 resolution. It's small and portable. The 2 GB player has a microSD card slot that expands its memory up to 4 GB. On the same side is a 3.5 mm earphone socket and a standard mini USB port for PC connectivity and charging. The controls are on the top but it will take you a little while to get used to them.
I am not too happy with the button placement. An on-and-off slider switch is located at the bottom. The in-ear earphones are not my thing but people who use them should find no reason to complain.
It also has a small built-in speaker. The player looks quite funky and could fit right in as a Nokia Xpressmusic accessory what with its red bands and all.
The UI is quite colourful and simple to navigate once you've understood the controls. It's smooth and relatively fast.
Accessing files on the memory card, however, is somewhat roundabout. While the display is clear enough, its brightness is too low, so images, videos, etc look dull.
The decibel level is extremely high, but the sound quality isn't great. I don't recommend turning up the volume more than three-quarters of the maximum. You can pull up the audio settings menu — which includes EQ presets and a 3D sound selector — right from the 'Now Playing' screen, which is really convenient. Playlists can be created on the player itself. One issue is that the player doesn't automatically find all the music on the card and drive when you go to the 'All Songs' option; you'll have to manually find the directories the files are stored in.
Radio reception is not too great in most places, and this is quite a drawback. The autoscan in an area with decent reception located 16 channels with just static. You'll have to manually search and save. But it's a one-time thing; the FM recorder allows you to record live radio in MP3 or WAV formats.
The built-in microphone has a range of about two feet if you want clear enough voice recording. It's not great but if you want to leave voice memos you'll have to keep the player in that radius. Well, to be more precise, you'll have to position it at a distance of two feet from your mouth.
The device comes equipped with plenty of video codec support, much as it is supposed to. The manual says the player supports AVI, 3GP, MOV, FLV, MPEG4, RM and RMVB, but the video player didn't seem to play or locate any of our test files. However, all formats will play quite well when opened from the 'File Manager' option.
You can opt to change the playback's display by stretching the image to fit the screen or just watching it in native if it's in the 16:9 format.
The Image viewer, too, didn't locate the image files on the card. I had to go to the file manager and scan through the images to view them.
The player comes with a couple of games and an E-book reader that reads TXT files. Although the device formats the text to suit the screen quite well, the dull display makes reading the text an issue. A calendar and World clock also add to the devices feature set.
The device has a pretty decent battery life. It averaged in the 11 to 12-hour slot for audio but didn't do too well for video. You'll be able to watch a full length movie (though the low brightness will get annoying after a while) and still have about 15 minutes of additional video time left before the battery wheezes and chokes to an end.