Review: Jens of Sweden MP-300

OutWardSound is distributing a simple yet stylish MP3 player from Jens of Sweden dubbed the MP-300. The MP-300 is only 84 x 35 x 17mm and uses a single AA battery to give you 26 hours of continuous playback and recording. It also features a built in FM tuner, FM transmitter and MP3 line-in encoding at a maximum of 256 kBps.

The MP-300 256MB has some truly noteworthy features. The recording options on this device are fantastic, and if you are worried about quality in an MP3 recorder then this will answer all your problems. I could not believe how clear and rich the built-in microphone could pick up voices. From around 1-6 feet away is peak clarity, but you can still hear very well beyond that, the background noise is almost non-existent. The same port used for broadcasting to an FM tuner is switched to an external microphone port or to record from a line-in. The recording quality ranges from 8 to 256 kBps and will store several hours at best. The voice audio detection feature (VAD) was truly accurate, it began recording instantaneously when someone spoke.

One gripe I had with the FM tuner did not pickup several FM stations when I was at the gym. It was a rainy day and the whether could have been effecting the reception, but those that it did tune into were crystal clear.

With an internal USB plug that ejects by sliding a switch, it can easily be plugged into any PC or Mac for stealth file transfers (Win98 requires drivers). This feature was not the best for desktops (also comes with USB extension cable), it took some fumbling around with to plug-in properly, but very ideal for notebook computers.

Not just an ordinary box, the MP-300 is packed in a steel cylinder with foam. The CD includes JoS Audio manager, FM transmission activator, and CD ripping software. FM transmission is de-activated in Sweden due to copy laws, so an activation file has to be run to enable this feature. It comes with a very comfortable stylish pair of ear-bud headphones, USB extension cable, FM transmitter loop cable, necklace and instruction manual.

There are a few things that I did not like, but were no major set backs. The hold switch is located in the middle of the Music/FM options, sometimes if you are switching to activate hold while playing MP3s you could go to far over and switch to FM mode, this can be annoying. The USB ejection button is a great idea, but the plastic cover for it may break off soon. Finally, the MP-300 does not have any expansion slot capabilities, quite unfortunate, but still an amazing device considering the features.

The MP-300 comes in two models, a 256MB and a 512MB selling for $219 and $299 directly from OutWardSound.

Features & Specifications

- MP3, WMA, and Worldband FM radio playback
- works as USB removeable drive for storage of any files
- 24-bit decoding and high-output level for excellent sound
- direct MP3 encoding from line or miniplug microphone input
- FM transmitter for cord-free playback over car & home systems
- integrated sliding USB plug
- extra-long battery life from rechargeable “AA” type battery
- Memory: 256MB or 512MB available
- Display: 42 x 12 mm backlit
- S/N ratio: 95dB
- Output: 12mW + 12mW
- Frequency response: 20Hz ~ 20kHz
- Line-in encoding: MP3 at 8~256 kBps
- Playback bit-rate (MP3): 32~320 kBps
- Playback bit-rate (WMA): 32~192 kBps
- FM transmitter frequency: 87.5~95 MHz
- ID3 tag support: all -> V4.0
- Dimensions: 84 x 35 x 17mm
- Weight: 47 gram
- Battery: “AA” type
- Playback time: 26hrs continuous
- Interface: USB 1.1
- System Requirements: Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP, Mac OS 9.04 or higher, Linux
- USB port


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