In my quest for some musical entertainment on those long boring stretches between the fun stuff; I decided that a nice MP3 player and a set of helmet speakers would suit my needs.
($179) is smaller than a credit card and about half the thickness of a deck of card. It really does weigh nothing and the picture below is just slightly larger
than it's actual size. It will play both MP3 and WMA formats and is able to fit more WMA files than MP3 because of their greater compression. The on board memory is 128mb and is about enough for 3 or 4 entire CD's at 128kbs and more than that depending on your sample rate. You can also expand the memory using the SD or MMC flash memory cards.
Battery life seems to be about 4 full hours of play between charges and has to be charged using a USB hookup at the computer. There is a separate AC adapter that can be purchased separately ($14.95).
It comes with a lot of accessories: backwrap headphones, 7 different colored face plates, a car cassette adapter, a neoprene carrying case, and software.
The software is the worst thing about the whole player, it's very flakey and not fully certified to anything other than Windows 98.
All around, it's a great product and could easily suit anyones needs. I bought the MP3 player last summer and since then there have been huge changes in the technology and new and better players are out now, but this one works just fine for me. IF I were to upgrade to a newer one, it'd have to be the optical drive kind. The iPod is nice, but costs WAY too much. In my research the new Nomad Zen
seems to be the way to go. With 20GB of storage, it could hold almost an entire CD collection and if that's not enough, there is a 60GB version coming down the road!
Overall I give it **** out of 5 and it looses one because of the crappy software.
Here's the quick version: SAVE YOUR MONEY
I bought the Mini Blaster Helmet Speakers
($34) from a company in Canada thru AeroStitch/Riderwearhouse a couple of weeks ago. The packaging is amusing as you can see from the picture and looks very much like a box of Snap Pops that you'd pick up around 4th of July time. They do have some really nice features; there is an intermediate cord that can be ran between your music device and the actual headphones that is handy for disconnecting the headphones so that you can remove your helmet with out unplugging the whole thing. Install is a piece of cake on a helmet with a removable liner. Using the supplied Velcro patches, they stuck right in behind the helmet lining and are thin enough to be unobtrusive. BUT the sound quality sucks. Plain and simple, S U C K S. Unless you know the songs by heart, you will not be able to recognize them at speed even with the volume turned up all the way. They (Collett) suggest things like overall helmet quietness could attribute to this and such, but even sitting at my desk, they were too quite. I contacted J&M
about their offerings and they were really helpful. They said no matter how much you try, you'll never get enough output from a Walkman type device to power any speakers. They went on to say that even if you could get enough power to them that the Mini Blasters wouldn't be able to handle enough to sound good. So it looks like to get sound you've got to either have in the ear headphones or pony up the money for an amplifier($120 from J&M) and a good set of helmet speakers (another $40 from them).
I give them * out of 5