One of the most popular uses for an MP3 player is as a workout motivator, which is why companies have packed fitness-friendly extras into the devices over the years. The most recent example is found in the Haier America Trainer, a 2GB player with a surfeit of features aimed at getting you in shape.
Like any good fitness-friendly MP3 player, the Trainer is supersmall, light, and durable. It also features a built-in belt clip so you can attach it to your clothes during workouts.
The unit is constructed of sweat-resistant plastic that's decked out in muted blue, gray, and black. A small, monochrome LCD on the front is flanked by a navigation button, dedicated volume controls, playback keys (play/pause and track forward/reverse), and a heart-rate sensor.
Around the edges of the device, you'll find a power/hold switch, a standard USB port, a menu button, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
With its plethora of buttons, the Trainer is not the most straightforward device, but most users will require just a bit of practice before getting the hang of it.
For example, the navigation key moves among the top menu options, while the menu button pulls up contextual menus for some of those options.
Also, the volume and track shuttle controls are used for different functions within the menus. Thankfully, getting music onto the player is not as tricky: simply plug it in to any system running Mac or Windows and drag and drop tracks or album/artist folders.
Other features found on the Trainer are almost exclusively of a fitness-oriented nature. There's a built-in pedometer, a heart rate monitor, and a stopwatch. The player lets you input your height, weight, and sex for calorie-tracking purposes, and Haier even includes a handy tracking app that's very easy to use.
However, without the accuracy of the pedometer, many of the fitness features won't be useful and, unfortunately, we had some mixed results in testing. Still, at least the pedometer tracked the distance fairly accurately, and people with different strides may get better results on the running versus walking.
We also put the Trainer's audio capabilities to the test and were pretty appalled by the sound quality offered through the included headphones. However, swapping in our favorite pair made a huge difference. Music actually sounded clean, clear, and warm, with decent bass response.