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TDK Mojo 128F review: TDK Mojo 128F

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MSRP: $147.95

The Good Lightweight; SD/MMC slot; plays and records FM radio; includes iTunes plug-in for Mac users.

The Bad Expensive; drivers and software required; doesn't support DRM; terrible FM reception; uncomfortable earbuds; unsophisticated file management software.

The Bottom Line We'll pass. The Mojo 128F falls short in many key areas and costs just as much as models with twice the memory.

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5.0 Overall

There's still a place in the world for flash-memory audio players such as the TDK Mojo 128F. With its pocketable, featherweight body (1.92 ounces with battery) and a generous feature set including an FM tuner and recorder, it's potentially an ideal companion for your run, your walk, or your workout. However, these perks don't come close to justifying the Mojo's $160 price tag, which is seriously inflated for a 128MB player. For the same price or just a few dollars more, you can buy the Creative MuVo TX FM or the iRiver iFP-790, both of which have similar features but come with 256MB of storage. The Mojo has an SD/MMC slot, which the other players lack, but otherwise there's no compelling reason to choose it.

We like the Mojo's easy-to-read backlit LCD, which, though a bit small, uses high-resolution text and icons to display a lot of information. However, the LCD is flanked by dull orange accents that sour the otherwise attractive silver faceplate. Easy-to-use controls (Mode and Volume buttons, a Hold switch, and a Shuttle/Select jog dial) span the top of the player, but for some reason they're labeled on the back--you literally have to turn the unit over to see what does what. Also, it may bother some users that the Mojo 128F's metallic faceplate hangs over slightly and interferes with these buttons. The USB port is deeply recessed, which makes plugging in the cable unnecessarily difficult. And you have to turn the player on before you connect it to your PC, or Windows won't recognize it.

TDK supplies a rather garish, gray carrying case that has only a belt loop, not a clip. You also get a wrist strap, though we think a lanyard would be much better for keeping wires out of the way while exercising.

To copy songs or data to the Mojo, you must install TDK's driver and UniFi software--a busy, rudimentary, and occasionally buggy utility that enables playlist creation and drag-and-drop file management--but even then, the device doesn't get a drive letter. Although TDK provides plug-ins for iTunes (the Mac version only), RealPlayer, and Windows Media Player, the Mojo doesn't support DRM-protected songs. Thus, you can use these programs to transfer your existing library of MP3s and unsecured WMAs but not songs you purchase online.

As an MP3/WMA player, the Mojo doesn't disappoint. It has seven equalizer presets and a custom mode. It supports folders, allowing you to play just the contents of a selected folder, or all the music stored on the player. And it has the usual repeat/shuffle options, including a Study mode that varies playback speed (from 50 to 200 percent). We found sound quality be generally excellent, though TDK's hard plastic earbuds proved very uncomfortable after a few minutes of wear.

The Mojo is a mediocre voice recorder. Although it gives you a choice of 32Kbps and 89Kbps bit rates, it saves your recordings as uncompressed WAV files instead of MP3, meaning you don't have nearly as much storage room. We also noticed some hiss in our sample voice memos, and the microphone picked up every brush of our hand against the player. On a positive note, that ultrahigh sensitivity could be good for recording lectures and the like.

We love any audio player that doubles as an FM radio, especially one that has 20 presets, an auto-preset function, and an FM recorder (which offers the same bit-rate options as the voice recorder). However, the TDK Mojo has the worst reception of any player we've tried. In a suburban area with dozens of stations, it was unable to pick up any stations indoors, and its auto-preset locked in just three when we went outdoors. On the upside, songs transferred quickly to the unit--CNET Labs tests gave us a rate of 0.69MB per second over USB 1.1. The player also performed acceptably in our battery tests, giving us 11.1 hours of music playback from a single AAA cell.

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