MSI P610 (1GB) review: MSI P610 (1GB)

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The Good Menus easy to navigate. Can delete files and create playlists on the fly. Lots of extra features.

The Bad Cheap, uncomfortable earphones. Videos must be MOV or AVI (MJPEG) format. Maximum volume not high enough.

The Bottom Line The P610 is better than it looks, but a few design shortcuts let it down.

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6.8 Overall

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Measuring 90mm by 40.5mm by 8.5mm and tipping the scales at 45 grams, the P610 reminds us a lot of Samsung's YP-Z5. The player also bears a lot of similarities to the original iPod Nano, with its rectangular shape, comparable dimensions and mirrored metal back. One of the main differences looks-wise is that instead of the click wheel, the P610's navigation/volume/track skip buttons are cut into the metal surface in a cross shape. This gives a sleek look similar to the keypad of the RAZR or Smartflip phones, but the keys are inconsistent in their responses -- some need to be pressed quite hard while others require only a light touch.

The earphones can be summed up in one word: shoddy. The buds are large and the stems thick, so they feel quite awkward and big in the ear. The plug also juts out at an awkward angle from the bottom of the player, adding around a centimetre to the P610's height when placed in a pocket.

We were puzzled by the measly measurements of the USB cable -- 40cm may be sufficient if you're using a laptop, but it's just too short if your only spare USB port is on the back of your PC. Thankfully the player has a standard mini USB jack, so it's possible to buy a longer cable, but the fact that you'd have to shell out more for an essential item is just silly.

The P610 has features aplenty, including an FM tuner; voice, line-in and radio recording and support for photos and video. Some features seem innovative because they've been cannily renamed (for example, the commonly found A-B repeat feature is referred to in the manual as the "Language Learning Function").

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