BoomGear's 256MB MP-800 is filled with some surprisingly good features, so it should appeal to those looking for a compact, flash-based music player to take on short outings or to the gym. Unfortunately, the player costs a whopping $219. This, coupled with its disappointing sound quality and an unintuitive user interface, keep the MP-800 from reaching the higher ranks of MP3 devices.
At a compact 1.69 by 3.15 by 0.71 inches and 1.24 ounces, the MP-800 fits easily in a shirt pocket, while the cord on the included earbuds doubles as a lanyard for easy portability. With its black plastic shell and silver trim, the unit itself isn't eye-popping, but it feels comfortable in your hand. Three buttons (power/play/pause, record/A-B loop, and FM) and a Hold switch line the top of the unit, and a four-way joystick sits to the right of the display. All of the buttons are small but tactile.
The player's streamlined design may be too bare-bones for efficient navigation. While a song is playing, pressing down on the joystick brings up options for adjusting the speed, the EQ presets, and the repeat/shuffle modes. To access the main system menu, however, you have to pause the song, then press and hold the joystick once to reach Music mode, then press and hold the joystick again to reach the main setup menu options. This frustrating navigation process would have been much easier with a dedicated menu button, and it wouldn't require much additional space.