In addition to standard MP3 playback, the AV320 offers some rare features. A two-panel interface that wouldn't fit on a typical MP3 player's screen lets you queue songs and folders on the fly and save them as playlists. The number of allowed playlists is unlimited, and each can contain up to 5,000 tunes as long as you have enough storage space. The Resume bookmark function lets you pick up where you left off listening, and tweakable sound parameters include bass, treble, loudness, balance, bass boost, and pitch.
With a signal-to-noise ratio of more than 90dB, the AV320 sounded great through our Sony MDR-V600 headphones, and even through the bundled set, results were decent if not superb. This player blows away other portable devices with a tremendous output of 50mW per channel, enough to deafen even fans of high-volume playback.
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Pack 'n' go: The included 'phones fold up for portability and sound decent enough.
Audio-recording quality was very high, with convenient touches such as the Next button's track-separating function (see thesection). On the video front, material recorded and played back on the AV320 looked surprisingly good considering that the LCD is 3.8 inches and the screen resolution is 640x304 pixels at 30 frames per second. Colors were rich and full, and the frame rate was smooth. The picture wasn't up to the level of some of the better DVD rips we've seen, but it impressed all our viewers.
As with the AV120, however, we encountered difficulties when transcoding downloaded video files into MPEG-4. Among other things, you'll need the DivX codec (the free version is adware) and the open-source VirtualDub video-capture processing utility. You can also transcode using Nero CD/DVD-burning software.
To test battery life, we simulated typical usage: we played audio or video in one-hour intervals, between which we completely powered down. When we listened to songs, we set the screen to go dark after a minute, about the time it takes to navigate to the Music folder and pick a track. The cell held out for roughly 7.5 hours of audio and 3.5 hours of video. The latter number is crucial because it means you can watch a movie and still have playback time left. When you connect the AV320 to your PC, TV, or stereo, the battery will drain quickly, so be sure to use an AC outlet instead.