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    Ultra ULT31103 4-In-1 USB Drive 128MB MP3 Player
    Author: jonnyGURU
    Date Posted:13/12/2004 12:43.54
    SLRating: SLRating: 7/10
    Bottom Line: SLCentral reviewed the Ultra ULT31103 4-In-1 USB Drive 128MB MP3 Player, its small, light, sturdy and packed with features. We liked the sound quality and ear buds but what about transfer speed, radio reception and controls.

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    The feel of the player is nice. It has the same rubberized plastic material as the more expensive player, and the device is very light (38g.) The same neck-strap/ear-bud assembly is included with this device, which is practical, fairly comfortable and sound somewhat decent. I was a little harsh with them in my last review, but I got over it. The problem I had with the last neck-strap/ear-bud assembly breaking at the clip seemed to be an isolated incident as I had that neck-strap replaced and had yet to have a problem with it and I've not yet had any issues with the clip on this neck-strap.

    The first thing you notice with this model is the smaller LCD. We lose the little dancing stick figures of the ULT31576 (big loss, right?), but we also lose a lot of visibility. MP3 mode just has a smaller font for ID3 tags, and the mode list is only two modes tall (one can only see "Music" and "Voice" on the menu, then "Voice" and "FM Tuner", and so on.) The FM tuner doesn't show the FM band bar and it doesn't show the indicator bar that shows the user what preset they are on (you simply have a "Preset: 01/09" to show your on preset 1 of 9.)

    The ever so familiar "Indiglo" screen. This time, only a bit smaller.

    So is a smaller LCD and less RAM the only thing we're missing out on? Not quite. We also lose the ability to recharge our batteries! Better find some coupons for batteries in Sunday's paper. This device comes with one Energizer alkaline, and after 8 hours of use it's dead! Of course, MOST thumb drive type MP3 players don't recharge their own batteries when you plug them into the USB port. But I came to appreciate this feature so much when using the ULT31576 that I just refuse to accept anything less. I suppose in retrospect, if you think back to any portable audio device you may have had in the past, like a Walkman or CD player, you may not have had the ability to charge it on the fly, so I suppose it's really not a big deal.

    So it doesn't recharge it's batteries via USB port, it has a smaller LCD and less RAM. It's also $25 to $40 less than the other model. That cash buys a lot of batteries and a decent SD/MMC card so I'm still good, right? My wife likes the player just fine. I keep turning around and finding it missing. But now comes the "personally, I don't like" part of the review..

    I think that Ultra asked the manufacturer to make the buttons as awkward as possible just to make their ULT31576 (the "8-in-1") look that much better. I was immediately comfortable with the ULT31576's joystick and buttons. It seemed normal. Logical. This device seems simple enough, but I found myself frustrated with hitting play to select and pressing right to scroll down and left to scroll up and what does "Q" on the Record button stand for anyway?

    The AAA battery slides into the back of the device.

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    1. Introduction
    2. Description
    3. Observations
    4. Conclusions

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