MP3 devices these days are packed with all kinds of features. It’s hard to really distinguish between different brands of devices. Choosing a player used to be straight forward; pick the one with the best features. Not any more, pretty much all the devices come with the same features such as FM Tuner, Voice Recorder, line in recording, etc. These days, when choosing an MP3 player it all comes down to a few categories: user interface, style, storage, and cost.
First off, lets get the features out of the way. As expected, the MPIO FY400 comes with all today’s demanded features.
MP3 Playback: Obviously, the device plays MP3’s, and I haven’t noticed any sound quality difference between playing songs on my computer or the device. The FY400 plays MP3, WMA, ASF files flawlessly.
Voice Recording: The FY400 has a button on the top of the device surrounded by a red ring. This is, of course, the record button. When at the main menu, press this button and you are thrown into the recording menu, press it again and it starts recording in 32 kHz and 48 kbps MP3 format. With the device empty it should allow for a 6hours per 128 MB.
FM Tuner: From the main menu, hit and hold the FUNC button (function button) and it will take you to the FM Tuner menu. From here you can scan through channels with the track skip button or hit the function button again and you can access programmed favorites. You can also record FM Radio in 44.1 kHz 64 kbps by pressing the record button.
USB Flash Drive: Just plug the player into your USB 2.0 slot and you can store anything you want!
Equalizer: Supports 7 preset EQs (Flat, POPS, Rock, Live, Classic, Vocal, D Bass) plus 1 that you can adjust to fit your needs.
Battery Life: The FY400 has been advertised to run off of 1x AAA battery for 20 hours. I didn’t sit there for 20 hours waiting for it to die, but so far, it hasn’t died on me yet after long usage so I will take their word for it!
Now let’s get to the design of the player. The FY400 is definitely small and stylish. The device is housed in a silver brushed aluminum looking plastic casing with a mirrored front. When using the device the LCD lights up orange, which I thought would have looked cooler if it was blue, but you can’t have it all! The only drawback is the mirror with greasy fingers, after playing with the device you get fingerprints all over the mirror. On the back of the device it says it was designed by Robin Kim. I don’t know who that is, but they have style!
Durability: This little guy is pretty darn solid. You can put it in your hand and squish it, or try and twist it and it doesn’t make any of those creaking noises. There is a real difference between slamming a door on a Mercedes and a cheap ford, the Mercedes like a piece of class, and the ford feels cheap. This is definitely a Mercedes!
On the bottom of the device is a little switch, push it and out pops your USB connector. I seem to have a little trouble each time I try and retract the USB connector, it is really stiff and I am afraid of breaking it. Not a big deal as it hasn’t broken yet, but I just thought I’d share.
On the front face of the device is a wheel for the volume, a thumb joystick which navigates menu’s or skips songs, and two buttons for play/stop and functions. On the top of the device there is a headphone jack, a record button, and a loop to attach a string to wear around your neck.
The user interface is pretty intuitive, it takes a while to get used to, but after you learn it you can navigate with ease. The thumb joystick and the function/play buttons are all laid out close enough for quick maneuvering.
The device also has a great configuration menu where you can change almost everything! You can change your default EQ, the scrolling speed of the song title, how to display the song, and much more.
The FY400 also comes with an armband for running, hiking, or any physical activity. It works great; I took the FY400 on a bike ride the other day. It’s SO much better than having it in your pocket.
Pricing: The following pricing is from Amazon.com
128 MB – $119.99
512 MB – $149.99
1 GB – $219.99
Overall impression: The MPIO FY400 does as advertised! As for the main selling point, I’d have to say the sleek casing. As I said in the beginning of the review, that’s what it is really coming down to with these devices; user interface, style, storage, and cost. The mirror and the volume wheel really tickle my fancy. The user interface is fast and intuitive. All the features are there and work great.
– Very Stylish
– Intuitive interface and controls
– All the features you need
– Ability to change multiple aspects of the device in the configuration menu
– Sleek armband case for active people
– Fingerprints all over the mirror
– USB Connector hard to retract sometimes, afraid of breaking it
You can also download the manual for the FY400 on the MPIO website right here.