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Lexar LDP-600 review: Lexar LDP-600

The LDP-600 is a versatile player/recorder with many capabilities, but its overloaded interface will frustrate users.

Douglas Dixon

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3 min read

The LDP-600 is available in 256MB (silver; list $132) and 512MB (black; list $189). At 3.2 by 1.5 by 0.7 inches, the player is slightly larger than such similar do-all devices as the Creative MuVo Micro, but it boasts a significantly larger and more-readable backlit display, which is about 1 inch diagonally. The comparatively large display can show four lines of player, song, and effects data in a glance: folder and song titles, play time and volume, song number and battery level, equalization, and playback speed. Users can utilize the copious System and Display menu options to customize the screen: choose the display language, adjust the contrast and backlight time, and even change the LCD backlight color (blue, green, indigo, red, violet, yellow, or white).


Lexar LDP-600

The Good

Versatile and compact device; large readable display; FM tuner, recorder, <i>and</i> transmitter; SD card expansion slot; compatible with DRM-protected WMA files.

The Bad

Difficult user interface overloaded on a few buttons; slow USB 1.1 transfer; no line-in recording; subpar battery life; recharges only via USB.

The Bottom Line

Packed with features, the compact LDP-600 has a predictably overloaded user interface.
Lexar LDP-600
Following SanDisk's lead, digital-memory producer Lexar has joined the MP3 bandwagon. One of its first designs, the flash-based LDP-600 is small, light, and attractive, and it's packed with everything you need for day trips. Listen to music (including DRM-protected WMA tracks from online music services), tune in to FM radio, or enjoy listening on your car radio using the integrated FM transmitter. At a meeting, take notes with the voice recorder or record the show you're missing from FM radio to hear later. The LDP-600 pretty much does it all--except record via line-in port. Unfortunately, all these extras are soured by the frustrating user interface and slow file-transfer times.

The interface features two primary button/sliders on the top for power/play/pause and navigation/volume, plus three buttons on the bottom that control playback A-B repeat/speed, FM radio transmitter/auto scan, and playback/record mode. The buttons are heavily overloaded, with different uses in different modes--for example, you press Record to switch from FM radio to music files--and alternate functions depending on whether you press or slide a button, then release or hold it. The basic user guide is an abbreviated, electronic-only form that's preloaded on the device and offered in English, French, and Spanish. It's a good resource for getting started, but it's necessary to go to the Lexar Web site to download the full 26-page manual that shows all the functions and menus, with good photos of the controls and menu screens.

Other physical characteristics include the USB connector, an SD-card slot, and the headphone/antenna jack. The battery recharges only through the USB connection, so plan to keep reconnecting the device even if you are not transferring files. The LDP-600 ships with a USB extension cable for this purpose, and Lexar also includes decent Sennheiser MX-400 earbud headphones, a carrying case, a lanyard, and an antenna.

The LDP-600 in its clear plastic case.

The LDP-600 supports both MP3 and WMA formats, including DRM-protected WMA. It's plug-and-play as with any USB removable drive, and it's compatible with PC jukebox software such as Windows Media Player 10.0.

The FM radio includes manual selection or autoscan of as many as 20 presets, and as with many full-featured flash players, it can record FM broadcasts. The voice recorder and built-in mic do a decent job with a maximum recording quality of 44KHz and 96kbps for WAV files. The integrated FM transmitter is useful in a cassette-deckless car. The included transmission antenna (or the Sennheiser headphones), plus the adjustable FM sensitivity slider, gave us decent performance, even in a signal-heavy urban area.

Other useful features include on-the-go playlist creation of as many as 20 tracks, an equalizer with six presets and one user-adjustable setting, and the ability to adjust the playback speed from 75 percent to 130 percent. Conveniently, you can also use the player as a USB SD-card reader.

In general, the LDP-600 has good sound quality. The included Sennheiser earbuds were decent, and FM reception and transmission were solid. The built-in mic could have been more sensitive for voice recordings. In CNET Labs' testing of normal MP3 playback, the battery lasted about 11.5 hours on a single charge, less than Lexar's rated 14 hours. Lexar notes that using the FM transmitter imposes an additional 15 percent drain on the battery.

The player also can serve as a portable USB drive, although it is limited by the slow USB 1.1 transfer rate. Tunes transferred at a measly 0.7MB per second. On the other hand, it still won't take a terribly long time to fill the device, considering its max capacity is just 512MB.


Lexar LDP-600

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 8Performance 6
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