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MobiBlu US2 review: MobiBlu US2

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The Good MobiBlu's stylish and wearable US2 is slim and lightweight; features photo and video playback plus FM/voice recording; OGG and subscription WMA support; two headphone jacks; preloaded PodcastReady software; MTP and MSC USB modes.

The Bad The US2 has a couple of interface missteps; non-standard USB; not supported by WMP11; mediocre screen colors; slight noise from left headphone jack; maxes out at 2GB.

The Bottom Line MobiBlu's wearable US2 is sleek and feature packed, but the user interface isn't very sophisticated.

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7.3 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 9
  • Performance 6

Review Sections

MobiBlu US2

MobiBlu and its

The US2's Razr-like appearance comes in part from its size, measuring only 0.27 inches thick (the Nano is still thinner, though) and its hinged-look on top. Otherwise, it would be somewhat large for a 2GB flash player at 3.35x1.61 inches. At 1.05 ounces, however, it is one of the lightest players I've held in a while.

It's designed to be worn pendant-style, using the bundled necklace earphones that curiously clip onto both sides of the US2. We say "curiously" because each connector is actually a minijack port. Yes, there are two minijacks on the necklace earphones. Don't worry, they are not left and right channels--instead one of the headphone jacks is a dummy jack when used with the supplied 'phones. You can connect two sets of headphones if you wanted to, though. Wearing the US2 isn't too nerdy (the color screen and backlight look sweet at night), but if you want to control it, you must awkwardly turn the player around so it faces you. MobiBlu combats this problem with a pivot display option, whihc rotates the screen (and controls) 180 degrees so the UI isn't upside down. The US2 makes a great pocket companion, by the way.

The US2 next to the barely thinner iPod Nano.

The metallic finish of the silver version is actually plastic (thus the light weight), but the main control deck seems to be real metal. This controller is a thin but tactile five-way pad that pays homage to the Razr's metal-etched front panel. It's also backlit blue (activated by a button) and looks awesome at night. The buttons themselves are decent but you must firmly click down: up and down for volume (and for navigation--they are not dedicated); right and left for playback control and for diving in and out of menu options. The play/pause button is awkwardly located above the square 1.5-inch OLED display next to the equally petite SRS WOW button, however. So for a while, I repeatedly tried to press the center select button for play/pause. Not good.

MobiBlu US2 with its bundled accessories.

Pressing the center button actually reveals the current folder-tree-style playlist (or library), and you can navigate back to the root folder. Holding down the center button takes you to the main menu, where each menu item has its own icon and page. Here you can select music, photos, video, FM radio, settings, and more. You can go to this menu while your music is still playing (though you can't view photos and listen to music simultaneously). Selecting the Music option takes you to the playback screen. To browse for music by artist or album, you must press Select and move back two steps. I prefer browsing by ID3 tag from the start. While it's easy to figure out, you'll notice that the interface isn't as efficient as it could be.

The color display isn't the most impressive thing I've seen lately. It's got excellent viewing angles and it's colorful (260k colors), but MobiBlu's resident color theme feels a bit dated--the blue and orange looks kind of 8-bit. The screen isn't very bright and can be a chore to view outdoors. It doesn't support album art either. Photos and video aren't awe-inspiring; they look pretty low-res and colors are washed out, though I realize the US2 is an MP3 player with multimedia capabilities. Still, I've seen better display quality. I don't know if it's a carryover from the Cube2, but the square screen isn't photo or video friendly.

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