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MPIO FY 800 review: MPIO FY 800

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The Good The MPIO FY800 is a small, lightweight, Mac/PC compatible digital audio player and FM tuner that accepts SD memory cards for expanding storage on-the-fly. Ability to record voice and FM radio content is a plus.

The Bad The MPIO FY800's controls are cramped; some key features are unintentionally hidden; the tiny screen is unnecessarily cluttered and hard to read. The player doesn't support playlists or ID3 tags.

The Bottom Line In a market crowded with inexpensive and innovative gadgets, the MPIO FY800 isn't bad--just mediocre.

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4.7 Overall
  • Design 4
  • Features 6
  • Performance 5

MPIO FY 800 series

The FY800, a very basic flash offering from MPIO, is an attractive but uninspiring player that comes in 1GB ($89.99), 2GB ($109.99), and 4GB (pricing to come) capacities, which are expandable using SD memory cards. It must have been hard for MPIO to resist working the word "Nano" into the FY800's name because it certainly shares a familial resemblance to the iPod Nano and Creative Zen Nano. Regardless, it shares the same philosophy as other Nano-sized players--It's small enough to take for a jog but still allows a degree of control over organizing and directing your listening experience using the player's controls and LCD display.

Starting from the outside-in, the MPIO FY800 looks rather elegant and could easily stunt double for the iPod Nano. Despite its scratch-resistant anodized aluminum coating, the FY800 is noticeably lightweight--so much so that it feels a bit flimsy. It doesn't help that the retractable door on the USB port and SD expansion card slots are fragile, plastic, and extremely vulnerable to damage. You also get a standard sliding hold button on the side of the device (also plastic), allowing you to prevent the player's buttons from being triggered accidentally. On the bottom you'll find the audio-out minijack and a hole through which you can loop the supplied lanyard.

The front of the device is where you'll find the standard array of tactile controls for volume, play, pause, skip, select, search, record, and menu. The LCD display is monochromatic, which I think is a bonus on such a small player, though it's worth noting that color screens are the norm nowadays. Unfortunately, the screen real estate is tightly jammed with icons relating to mostly secondary functions (current EQ settings, song number, hold activation, memory, sleep timer--all have their own icons taking up the top 25 percent of the screen). With a display this small, we'd prefer to see the artist and song information displayed twice as large. For a player presumably targeting users looking for an easily navigable player to use at the gym or out on a jog, the text on this display is annoyingly small. The bottom line is the FY800's screen is cluttered and makes for clumsy navigation.

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