JVC Alneo XA-F57 'basic' MP3 player
Low in features, but not in price
Review JVC isn't the first company that springs to mind when shopping for an MP3 player, although I'd happily consider many of its other products.
The Alneo range of players consists of two models, the XA-F57 at 512Mb and the XA-F107 at 1GB. It's seems strange to launch such low capacity players when the company's competitors are starting at 1GB...
Both models come in white, silver, blue, pink or red.
My first impression of the Alneo was that it was a "girly" MP3 player, it's just something about the choice of colours and the design. However, this is a matter of taste and there are far worse looking MP3 players out there.
Features wise, the XA-F57 is fairly basic compared to most of the Taiwanese and Korean players you can pick up for quite a small amount of money. There's no FM radio, nor any voice recording options, but at least it has a line input, so you can record directly to it from most audio devices.
One feature JVC is touting is the 18-bit Sigma-Delta D/A Converter which is meant to improve the sound quality. After having used the XA-F57 for over a week I can't say I could really notice a difference with the fairly high quality encoded MP3s I used for testing, compared to other MP3 players.
The line-in and mini USB ports are hidden behind a small flap at the bottom of the player. Suitable cables are supplied in the box. On the front of the player is a small LCD display with a white backlight which supports three lines of text as well as a line of icons. It's not the best screen I've seen, but far from the worst. On the right side of it are three buttons, reverse, forward and play/pause. The play button also doubles up as the power on button.
On the top of the XA-F57 are three more buttons - record, menu and stop. As with the play button, the stop button also acts as power off if pressed for a few seconds. The menu button does as you might have guessed - take you into the menu - which is also basic, just like the player itself, but more on that later.
The right side houses the 3.5mm headphone jack as well as a pair of volume buttons. Finally, around the back you,ll find the hold switch and a small hole which hides the reset button in case the player locks up.