At just 2 by 2.6 by 0.6 inches and 1.66 ounces, the Aigo is certainly small and light enough to meet the needs of active users. Another design touch we like is the dedicated power button, which sits alone on the face of the unit. Unfortunately, the other controls, which line the sides of the player, are small and feel a bit flimsy. Also disappointing is that the battery cover flips completely off instead of remaining hinged to the unit. Plus, the blue-backlit display isn't especially vibrant, and you can't adjust the contrast or the brightness. A leather carrying case includes a belt loop but not an armband, which we'd rather have when working out.
Although the Aigo MP3 DSY comes with only 128MB of onboard memory, you can add as much as 256MB more with an SD/MMC expansion card. While we appreciate this room to grow, we weren't fond of the fact that you have to stop playing a song to access the menu functions. To reach the menu options, you first hold the menu jog dial for two seconds to stop a playing track, then press and hold it again to activate the menu page. Because of this, you canÂ’t test EQ selections on the fly. Instead, you have to select an EQ setting, play the track, stop it, and repeat the process--very inconvenient.
You neednÂ’t install music-management software to use the Aigo MP3 DSY. Instead, you transfer files to the player through Windows Explorer, a procedure typical to plug-in players. Windows XP will automatically recognize the device the first time you connect it to your computer, whereas youÂ’ll have to install drivers (disc included) if youÂ’re running Windows 98 or Windows 2000. The unit plays MP3 and unprotected WMA files, and you get the standard repeat and random modes as well as five EQ presets (standard, jazz, bass, pop, and rock) but no user-defined mode.
The FM radio lets you store as many as 10 presets, and the player incorporates FM recording and line-in recording at 160Kbps. You can also use the device to record telephone conversations via the included phone adapter.
The Aigo MP3 DSY provides decent sound quality with little background hiss, thanks to a 90dB signal-to-noise ratio. But those who like to crank up their tunes will be disappointed with the output of 3mW per channel. Even with the supplied earbuds, the volume never reached earsplitting levels
We reached transfer speeds of 0.25MB per second in our tests, which is sluggish even by USB 1.1 standards. Battery life was also a bit disappointing. We coaxed 8.6 hours of continuous playback from a single AAA battery, although weÂ’re used to seeing at least 12 hours from similar players.
Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.