It was reported that last year the most searched for term on the internet was MP3 (overtaking “sex”), so it seems no surprise that the companies, who hitherto have stayed out of the music player marketplace, should be taking interest and creating their own players.
Oregon Scientific is just such a company. The Hong Kong based technology outfit are best know for their pioneering development is the 1980's with LCD screens and were the first company to product the projector alarm clock. Until now the most visible product offering were the really snazzy weather stations that you see in the homes of the rich and the facile.
It seems that the innovative design and development, that kept Oregon at the top of their previous fields, might well serve them well with their new MP100 MP3 player. Numerous companies have boasted small players in the past, but Oregon officially scoops the title with this one. The 128Mb device comes in at a minute 28g and measures just 40x28x17.7mm, making it smaller than the average box of matches.
The technology is simple. The player employs a ‘plug n' play' system that allows the MP100 onto be identified as a drive on your computer, and you simply drag MP3 or WMA (Windows Media Player) files into the folders you have created on the device. Oregon does supply its own digital music player software in the box that is compatible with MS 98 to XP. Interestingly the player has fully upgradeable firmware, so as the players evolve, the MP100 can keep in step. Power comes for a 3.7V internal battery that is charged via the USB 2.0 cable and will give you 10 hours of continuous play when fully juiced.
The control system is as simple as it is intuitive. A button on top turns the player on and then acts as the play and pause. The 4-way micro-joy stick on the front is used to track-select and adjust volume. When the column is depressed you enter the menu system where you can set the equaliser type, repeat modes, text scrolling, memory status and delete functions. The display is a super-bright blue HiGo backlit LCD and the clarity is superb, hardly surprising considering the companies past.
The MP100 is available in four colours at the moment, Orange, Black, Blue and Titanium and the 256Mb version will be released before Christmas and cost about £20 more. A nice feature, to additionally note, is the integrated neck lanyard and headphones. Two small magnets have even been included to catch hold of the headphone and stop then swinging about when not in your ears.
Overall, I think this is great. It's cheap, it's small and most importantly it works. It's a shame that a version is not going to be made with removable media, but the transference of the music is really not that much hassle. This would be ideal for travelling or commuting and the volume goes loud enough to drown out the nosiest of journeys.