The Daisy Multimedia Diva Gem packs quite a few goodies into its small case, including built-in Bluetooth connectivity. This feature, which lets the player work as a hands-free headset when paired with a Bluetooth-enabled phone, along with the inclusion of an SD/MMC slot and MP3 recording capability, justify the 128MB player's steep price ($199). We recommend this tiny flash player more for its solid design and its ability to record from both voice and line-in sources than for its Bluetooth novelty.
The Diva Gem is a petite (3.4 by 1.3 by 0.8 inches and 0.9 ounce) yet solidly built player. Ours came in a fetching red color called Glamour, but you can opt for the silver Stardust or black Fanatic shades as well. The large buttons for play/pause, record, and stop along the top of the player and the volume and Hold buttons lining the bottom make it easy to operate. A stubby joystick to the right of the monochrome LCD allows you to navigate through the player's functions. The LCD has a blue backlight and large characters that make it easy to read, even in the dark. The drawback of the large font is that there's less room on the screen for text, so only the first 12 letters of each song title are visible as you browse. Otherwise, we found the navigation through the menus to be painless.
If you have a Bluetooth-enabled phone that supports headsets or hands-free accessories, you can use the Diva Gem as a headset. If you're listening to music when a call comes in, the music is automatically paused. Pressing the play button on the Diva accepts the call. The audio is routed to the headphones, and you speak into the player's built-in microphone. You can also place outgoing calls if your phone supports voice dialing, but speaking into the player is a real drag. The supplied combination headphone and neck lanyard holds the player close enough to your mouth so that you can answer phone calls in quiet surroundings. We would have much preferred that the device came supplied with a nice pair of headphones that had an integrated microphone on the cord.
Other accessories include a USB 1.1 cable, which serves both as a way to transfer music to and from your PC and to recharge the lithium-ion battery. The Diva Gem also comes with a travel charger designed for European outlets--you'll need a converter to make it work in the States.
Another included accessory is a special cable that has a mini-USB jack on one end and both a minijack and a pair of RCA jacks on the other. This is used when you want to record from a line-level source, such as a home stereo or a CD player. Line-in, voice, and FM recordings are encoded directly into MP3 format. While line-level recordings turned out fine, voice recordings sounded thin--par for the course among MP3 players that record voice. You can also record from the player's FM radio. However, the FM reception was very weak--even strong, local, commercial stations had quite a bit of static.
You can use Windows Explorer, Windows Media Player, or the supplied Music Loader software to transfer songs to and from the Diva Gem, which is also compatible with Mac OS 9.1 or higher without additional drivers. We found Windows Explorer to be the easiest method. You can also transfer M3U playlists to the player. Alternately, the unit allows you to create playlists while on the go. Unfortunately, the Gem doesn't support anything other than MP3-format music files.
The Daisy Multimedia Diva Gem performed well in our tests. Sound quality is quite good, and it can drive even moderately large headphones, such as Grado's model SR125, to loud levels. To tweak the sound, you can choose from five EQ presets or adjust the five-band graphic EQ to your liking. File transfers over the USB 1.1 connection came in at a ghastly slow 0.2MB per second, while the rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasted a respectable 14.5 hours in CNET Labs' drain test.