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Unfortunately--and especially in terms of design and features--the negatives cast a shadow on our overall impression of the device. Aside from the aforementioned, outdated technology, the Gmini 104 also has a rather unimpressive--though not horrible--12 hours of battery life, which was confirmed in CNET Labs' testing. Transfer times of 1.8MB per second over USB 2.0 were also nothing to write home about. And we couldn't browse photos while listening to music, so what's the point of the photo-viewer? You also don't get any extra features like an FM tuner or voice recording. Finally, we can get over the fact that the player's microdrive makes it less durable than its flash-based counterparts, but the whirring and clicking sounds emanating from the device about every third process are just a bit old school.
So is the Gmini 104 a total wash? No. It's certainly no slouch when it comes to sound quality, even pumping out rich and clear tunes through the included earbuds. Of course, swapping in our Shure E4cs certainly didn't hurt, especially when it came to bass response, which was already pretty decent. The sound-isolating 'buds also helped significantly in the volume department, which we found to be lacking through the included earphones.
All-in all, the Gmini 104 is a decent choice for first-time users looking for a cheap, simple MP3 player. But for most people, we recommend something with more up-to-date technology, such as a Creative Zen V.