Cube-tastic! MobiBlu DAH-1500i
Editors' note: We have lowered the score of the DAH-1500i from 7.3 to 7.0, given the arrival of the more feature-filled Cube2.
MobiBlu is one of a multitude of lesser-known portable audio companies trying to make a name for itself among giants such as Apple, Creative, and iRiver. While most of the MP3 players that we've seen from MobiBlu have been decent, they're not standouts, so the company has thus far skirted the spotlight. However, it appears that the MobiBlu DAH-1500i is poised to change this status. The ultratiny, cube-shaped device is a tech marvel and has certainly turned some heads among industry journalists, including those here at CNET. And despite its unimpressive battery life, the DAH-1500i largely lives up to the hype.
If nothing else, the MobiBlu DAH-1500i is versatile. The cute MP3 player is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems (plug and play--no driver install is needed for operating systems released after 1998), and you have a choice of six colors: black, pink, silver, blue, red, and orange. And at $129.99 for the 1GB version and $99.99 for the 512MB version, it's quite a bargain.
Had MobiBlu made the DAH-1500i any smaller, it would have been an ergonomic disaster. As it stands, the player weighs just 0.6 ounce and measures 1 cubic inch (1 by 1 by 1 inch)--about the size of four sugar cubes stacked together--and it manages to accommodate a usable control pad, with a four-way rocker (volume up/down and track forward/reverse) surrounding a play/pause/power button. That said, while the MobiBlu DAH-1500i's buttons are functional, they are pretty stiff and will pose a problem for those with large fingers. This stiffness can also be an issue when trying to navigate the many options. Just around the corner from the control pad is the 3/4-inch-diagonal OLED with fairly large, bright blue text on a black background. Due to the smallness of the screen, songs with track names longer than four letters continually scroll, making them difficult to read. Of course, you have to expect such a concession from a device that you can easily conceal in a closed fist. Continue around the side from the screen, and you'll find the menu key and the hold button, while the top of the device sports the headphone jack and the lanyard loop. Be aware that there is no standard mini-USB port; instead, MobiBlu provides a proprietary USB cable that plugs into the headphone jack. This cable is used for both transferring and charging, so don't lose it!