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Old 06-14-2007, 07:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 8830 Media Player Review

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I have spent the last month using the BB as my only MP3 player. While it is clearly not as robust as most dedicated MP3 players, I find the tradeoff of always having it clipped to my belt well worth it. Overall, it pretty much works as intended, but I have found some specific problems. Iím hoping that a future software release will iron these out.

Problems with the media player when used for MP3 playback:
  • There is a distinct popping sound when switching tracks. This is really only noticeable if you have it connected to something and are playing it loud. The pop seems more pronounced if you manually switch tracks, and is much smaller if it switches tracks on its own.
  • Sometimes, when you receive a message while the media player is playing it will get an error playing media file and then skip to the next track. This is not consistent though.
  • If your profile is set to vibrate and you pause the media player, when you receive a message, the media player will un-pause itself and begin playing the next track. This can be embarrassing in a meeting. Several times now Iíve received a message (vibrate) and pulled my BB out of the holster only to have it blare something from my now playing list. I now make it habit to close now playing before going into the office. The only problem with this is it makes me loose my place in what I was playing. This problem may be related to the media player error when receiving a message because both will begin playing the next track, not the current track.
  • It takes the unit a while to build the list of media whenever you connect it to your computer and make any changes. I havenít completely figured out what causes it to rebuild its media list. Sometimes just connecting it forces what appears to be a complete rebuild and other times I can add music and it seems to only have to rebuild the new stuff. Several times now I have added whole albums and they never showed up on the BB. I connected it back to the computer and deleted all the BB.DAT files (I donít know if this had any effect) and then let it rebuild the list again and they showed up.
  • For some reason not all of my music displays the album name on the now playing screen. It should display the song title, artist, and album name. Some only displays the title & artist. Iíve examined the MP3 tags, both v1 & v2 and they seem consistent on all of my music, yet are displayed differently in now playing. The album view of media player clearly shows all of the offending album names correctly, so I know the BB can read those album names.

Complaints about the design & functionality:
  • It would be really nice if there were external controls at least to advance to the next track.
  • The mute button is used to pause the media player and its location makes it too easy to accidentally hit it when holstering the device, causing it to start playing sometimes when you donít expect it.
  • The ĎNí & ĎPí keys can be used to go the next and previous tracks when in media player, but those arenít exactly the most convenient keys to hit especially while driving. Also, if the BB has blanked its screen, you have to hit a key to un-blank the screen, then hit ĎNí to go to the next track.
  • Downloading files to the device seems much slower than it should be. I wonder if it is using USB2, or if the memory card is slow?

All of my testing was done using pure MP3 files with either fixed 192K or variable 192K setting using LAME encoder. I also tested moving several video files to the BB and had no problems there, but I havenít really done much with video beyond just getting it to work. The Roxio software included with the desktop manager seems to do a fair job of converting to the optimal format, at least for the files that Iíve tried it with.

Iím currently running 4.2.2.66 Platform 3.0.0.45 which is current from the Verizon download site.

Again, Iím pretty happy overall just to have one device to lug around. Iíll still keep my main MP3 player with lots more storage around for occasional use, but will stick it out with the 8830 for my daily use and hope that at least a few of the bugs will be addressed in the next software release.

I would be interested to learn if any 8800 users have any of the above mentioned problems.
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Old 06-14-2007, 07:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Micro SD cards aren't very fast, so that may explain your long transfer speeds. Mine seemed to take forever to transfer 2gb over as well, so you're not alone. I like how it will display the album cover if you have it attached to the mp3, a la iTunes. I don't like that it really doesn't get very loud, and that I had to buy an adapter to plug in headphones. The volume issue may have to do with the impedance of the headphones I'm using though, I'll have to check a few other pairs.

I love the fact that it will play 320kbps mp3 files though! I had to down convert files to play them on my old Motorola.
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Old 06-14-2007, 07:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It will also display the album art if you use Windows Media and copy the various JPG files over. I don't do this and attach the image to the MP3 tag, but both appear to work.
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