Pebble micro MP3 player
Does it rock?
The Pebble sounds pretty good without such augmentations, though I got some clicks and crackles as one track ended and the next began. They're not on the tracks themselves and while you'd not notice them in a noisy environment - listing on the bus or the train, for example - the Pebble still loses marks for it. The earphones are cheap but inoffensive - they're not great but they do the business. And the player can't half rack up the decibels - this is louder than many a music device I've tried.
In addition to the aforementioned stopwatch, the Pebble comes loaded with an FM radio. I found reception to be poor at first, but switching mode to the radio changes the contents of the Set[tings] menu and I found the radio defaults to US/Korean FM frequency handling - switching to European made a big difference: still slightly hissy perhaps, but that's often the case with tiny tuners and switching to mono helps. The Pebble makes a neat little radio, and it's almost worth the entry price just for that. It's just a shame you have to go through all this mode switching to swap from your own songs to a radio station's.
The Pebble's manual claims a 12-hour continuous playback time, but I got rather less than that in my tests - about ten hours - though I almost certainly activated the display more often than the device's manufacturer did. It's still a decent battery life for a device of this size, and it'll last many a jogging session, and trip between home and office.
Advanced MP3 Players' Pebble isn't the best Flash-based MP3 player I've seen - some sound issues, a decidedly old-hat menu system, some lame song-transfer software and the Korean animation-like pair of eyes that blink out at you when the thing starts up all see to that.
However, the playback quality is decent, the radio's good, and there's no doubt the fashion accessory-friendly styling and its bling factor helps the Pebble shine among the crowd of iPod wannabes. ®
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