EnCross Enterprise WaveX SR-M620F (256MB)
Flash memory MP3 players are starting to resemble minivans; manufacturers keep coming out with odd little features that you just might find useful. A case in point is EnCross Enterprise's WaveX SR-M620F. This 256MB flash player, recorder, and FM radio features a surprisingly useful built-in speaker. Unfortunately, like many flash players out today, the SR-M620F offers no expansion of the onboard memory and an interface that begs for a good, stiff reading of the user guide. The $169.99 price is typical of the latest full-featured MP3 players, while the seven hours of battery life is nothing exceptional.
EnCross obviously intends the SR-M620F to be a wearable MP3 player; the headphones are built into a neck cord that slips into a hole at the top of the player. This might work if the player were somewhat smaller. At 3.42 by 1.2 inches and shaped like a giant lipstick tube crossed with a triangle, the player resembles the giant, gaudy jewelry of the '70s when worn as a necklace. If you want to carry the SR-M620F anywhere other than around your neck or in your shirt pocket, you'll definitely need new headphones, as the cord isn't long enough to reach anywhere else. Frankly, while the 1.4-ounce weight without the battery sounds tiny enough, by the time we threw in a AAA cell, even our tester with the 18-inch neck wanted the SR-M620F to go on a diet.
Like most flash players that come with a laundry list of features, the SR-M620F includes a jog controller for navigating through the LCD menus, and it puts the buttons on a different side of the case. Most buttons do double--and sometimes triple--duty. For example, the button used to delete files is the same one that switches the device to FM mode. Quality time spent with the manual will save you from searching for various features. Playlist mode, for example, is accessed from the Play section of the main menu and can be turned on or off. You create your single playlist from within the regular playback mode by scrolling through your files and selecting them one by one. To record a memo, you have to stop the song you're listening to, then hold down the record/pause button. If you don't stop the song, hitting that same button cycles you through the preset EQ designations.
The plug-in-style USB jack built into the device is offset, and though we could plug it into our notebook test bed, it wouldn't clear the edge of the case on our desktop PC. Thankfully, the player ships with a USB extension cable.
While audio playback is the SR-M620F's main feature, we found the players's onboard recording highly usable. The SR-M620F can record through its line-in jack; over an onboard mic, which does a great job dodging background noise such as air conditioning; or directly from the FM tuner, which includes 20 presets that you'll definitely want to use--changing stations involves a slow process of scrolling to the one you want.