The tiny and wearable L'Uovo
The wearable MP3 player isn't a novel phenomenon. Remember ? Nevertheless, we're experiencing a new wave of jewelry-style players, such as StationZ's L'Uovo MP3 player, that emphasize fashion over function. There's no doubt that this tiny 128MB charm of a player (also available in 256MB, 512MB, and 1GB capacities) scores a couple of style points. But due to flawed controls and an exorbitant "under $200" price tag, you won't be catching us flaunting the L'Uovo, or, as StationZ puts it, "the world's first fashionable MP3 player."
L'Uovo--Italian for "the egg"--is indeed egg-shaped, in two dimensions anyway. It measures 2 by 1.5 by 0.6 inches and weighs just 7 ounces. Thin metallic buttons that control volume, playback, and EQ line its side, while a convenient dual earphone/USB "uni-port" sits up near the necklace ring. The logo--which resembles an egg cooked sunny-side up--resides on the face of the L'Uovo, and its LED (the yolk) blinks in a variety of colors corresponding to function, battery status, and EQ setting. The L'Uovo is designed to be clipped onto the included lanyard made of metal and clear plastic tubing, and it ships with three user-replaceable faceplates in pink, clear, and blue, which allow you to customize the look of the player. Going out tonight? Definitely go with pink.
While the futuristic-looking lanyard isn't half bad, we would have loved to wear it as a brooch using some sort of magnetic pin. That said, the transparent plastic faceplates give the L'Uovo a somewhat cheap appearance, which is why we opted for the plain, black coverless look. Whatever your preferred color scheme, you're certain to be playing only MP3s. The L'Uovo doesn't play other formats such as WMA, and it certainly doesn't have extra features--an FM tuner, for example--much less a display. Really, the only true options a L'Uovo user has are five color-coded EQ presets including Pop (the L'uovo blinks yellow), Jazz (it blinks blue), and Rock (it blinks purple). However, L'Uovo can serve as a driverless data storage device for both Mac and Windows.
If the L'Uovo's dearth of features doesn't make you flinch, then you should know that its metallic buttons are far too thin to operate comfortably and consistently. And though the player has labels for functions, you'll be fumbling to figure out which button does what. That's not cool on the catwalk nor on the sidewalk. Worst of all, we'd often find ourself strutting to the wrong song by accidentally pressing buttons. These frustrations could have been diminished with a Hold function. We also understand that while 128MB of MP3s (about 32 songs) are easy to navigate without a display, the thought of managing 1GB worth is horrifying, although a 1GB L'Uovo sounds tempting. Some solace: You can organize songs into folders using your PC and skip to them by holding down the player's Rewind button.
The bundled earbuds sound weak, but forget about using your big Sony 'phones. The size of the player's port allows for only smaller headphone jacks. Overall, the sound is little and only slightly improved with EQ effects. On a positive note however, the L'Uovo lasted more than 27 hours in CNET Labs' battery-drain test. The lithium-ion battery is charged via the headphone jack over USB, and it takes about 3 hours to charge completely. An optional power adapter is available. MP3s were transferred over USB at an unspectacular rate of 0.57MB per second.