X-Micro Video MP3 400 Review
By André Gordirro on November 21, 2005
When you stand in the shoulder of a giant – in that case, the almighty iPod – you have to show some talent of you own to be noticed. Every MP3 player on the market keeps on adding features over features to win over some iPod devotees. The X-Micro Video MP3 400 comes fully loaded: it plays MP3/WMA sound files, videos and slideshows, and also functions as a voice recorder and a FM radio turner.
The device excels in many of these functions, particularly as a MP3 player, voice recorder and FM radio. When it comes to viewing photos and video files, however, its tiny screen proves inadequate to both operations. But it’s still a good portable entertainment solution with some cool solutions like being AA-battery powered.
Since it is powered by a single AA-battery, the X-Micro Video MP3 400 is slightly larger than similar flash-based MP3 players on the market. It has a sturdy black rubber coating on both sides that keeps it from getting scratched or stained. There’s a tiny joystick on its faceplate that you can use to navigate through the software menus. There are also three lateral buttons – play/pause, equalization and a special feature button – plus a hold button on the other side, near which a standard female USB port is nicely hidden.
The 96*64 OLED full-color display is kind of small for music files browsing but it still works out fine. However, it’s not big enough for picture viewing – close up shots are better viewed than scenery pictures. The photos are literally viewed as small thumbnails – you’d have to strain your eyes to notice any details in a, say, mountain scenery picture. Video files viewing are an exercise in imagination due to the Lilliputian dimension of the screen.
The X-Micro Video MP3 400 does not require any drivers to operate. Just plug it and start transferring audio and image files to it – the device is instantly recognized as a flash-drive and you can even use it as a portable 1 GB drive (it also comes in 256 and 512 MB versions). But if you want to enjoy video files be sure to install the AMV Convert Tool that comes in a CD-Rom provided with the X-Micro. The AMV is a MTV-endorsed file format that is also the device’s native file format. The software handles the conversion of any movie file format with ease: it takes but a few minutes to convert a 180 MB .avi to a 40 MB .amv counterpart. You don’t have to give a second thought to screen sizes or bit rates; it’s the painless video conversion we’ve ever seen.
Once you transferred pictures, movies and music files to the X-Micro it’s very easy to access them using the joystick-like control on its faceplate. You can browse the main menu to Music, Recorder, Voice, FM and Video options. Use the joystick to go through the many files and the lateral play/pause button to view/listen/watch them.
When you use the voice recording feature be sure to rename the files with Windows explorer to easily recognize the conversations you recorded. You should also install the Sound Convert Tool that comes in the same AMV Convert Tool CD-ROM. The software will turn any recording made with the X-Micro – a high-compression mono file format - into a standard WAV file, so they can be played back on any other PC or portable device.
Music listening is on par with industry standards. Sound is clear and can be improved with seven separate equalizer functions: normal, rock, pop, classical, soft, jazz and double bass. The last one doesn’t deliver: bass is not just doubled, it becomes the whole music, and you can’t listen to anything else. The FM receives provides sharp radio playback and easy search through the supported 87-108 band.