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JNC SSF-11 review: JNC SSF-11

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The Good Host of features in one unit, including MP3 player, voice recorder, FM radio, file storage, etc.

The Bad Cryptic user controls. Limited storage capability (128MB). Proprietary software required to transfer files.

The Bottom Line The JNC SSF-11 is based on a good overall concept but comes up lacking in the execution of most features.

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If good things come in small packages, then the JNC SSF-11 definitely has the right idea, with an MP3 player, digital recorder, FM radio and USB storage all in one device. With a small form-factor the SSF-11 fits in the palm of your hand and is definitely a player to take with you on the go. Unfortunately, it may be a bit cumbersome to take with you everywhere, as the small and cryptic buttons and controls mean that you have to carry the manual around with you to figure out how to use it. Not to mention a CD with the proprietary software you need to add MP3 files to the player.

Design
The small size of this player would make it attractive to most MP3 users, but the buttons on the unit and LCD are equally as small. There are five tiny buttons on the face of the player but they don't seem to follow a logical arrangement or use. For controlling playback (play, forward, back) there is a rocker switch on the right-hand side of the unit which you have to press to play a track which can be tripped when the player is in your pocket, making the player skip through tracks or stop playback. The unit does come with a neck strap to hang the unit while in use, but it is not really feasible for use when working out or running.

Features
In terms of features, the SSF-11 is a hard act to beat, with a number of integrated tools in a single platform. The digital record itself can record in a number of different quality modes, with JNC claiming you can record up to 2710 minutes in a lower-quality format. (Although the total storage size for the unit is 128MB, so I imagine if you did record all those minutes, you wouldn't have room for much else!)

There is also an MP3 player and FM Radio included, as well as an alarm clock, timer and a built-in speaker on the front of the unit. The unit also comes with a variety of accessories, including batteries, earphones, a line in-out cable, USB cable, telephone adapter (for recording phone conversations) and an external microphone.

Also in the box is a DVR Explorer CD that you can use to install the proprietary software used to add MP3 files and data files to the player. The software itself is difficult to get the hang of and it would have been nice if you could just plug the unit into your computer with a USB cable and have it appear as just another storage device.

Performance
Transferring files to the player is relatively quick and the player itself worked well as a basic MP3 player, with few lags or skips in between tracks and a crisp playback sound comparable to other players on the market. The one area where the SSF-11 could have used some improvement was when recording using the included lapel microphone. Even using the high-quality recording settings, the recording was less than CD-quality. So if you are planning on using the SSF-11 as a digital recorder and need high-quality, you may want to invest in a better microphone or look for a different recorder.

With a host of features, the SSF-11 looks at the outset like it would be a great little player and recorder. Unfortunately, it is in the execution of those same features that you will feel let down.

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