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Transcend Digital Album (20GB) review: Transcend Digital Album (20GB)

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Free storage for the selected "disk" is displayed in the upper-right corner, and battery- and volume-level indicators are located in the lower-right corner. You'll also get the file path and the number of files in the folder displayed. Unfortunately, the Digital Album supports a limited number of file formats for playback--in essence, only MP3, JPEG, and M-JPEG (digital camera movies). There's no TIFF, WMA, or raw support.

As an MP3 player, this thing is as basic as it gets, with no EQs or true playlist support (you can, however, play folder contents in order), and annoyingly, you can't hold the volume buttons down to adjust the level in multiple steps. You get the convenience of a built-in mono speaker, which is nice for playing memos, but the sound quality is predictably subpar. Finally, the fact that you can't listen to MP3s while viewing photos is a real bummer. Our advice for MP3/photo enthusiasts is to get a 30GB iPod Photo and a Camera Connector for about the same price as the Digital Album. If your camera is compatible with the Camera Connector, the larger screen and some file-management tools are the only features you give up for better audio and a compact form factor.

The Digital Album doesn't get very loud, and sound quality is average, with a hint of background noise, not-so-crisp highs, and muddy bass. But, again, this isn't an audiocentric device. Photos appear sharp and vibrant on the screen, and depending on the resolution, they look nice when output to a TV via the included A/V cable. Probably the most disappointing aspect of the Digital Album is its battery life of just 3.8 hours for music and considerably less for a photo slide show, an unacceptable amount for music and a disappointing one for a photo viewer. Transfer times over USB 2.0 average an acceptable 1.7MB per second, and the Digital Album mounts as a UMS device. The Digital Album ships with a decent carrying case, A/V and USB cables, a wireless remote control, another utility case for media cards, a hand strap, a cleaning cloth, and some average earbuds. The Windows-only software CD includes a Windows 98 driver, Photo Explorer 8.0, and a user guide.

The Digital Album's carrying case, utility pouch, headphones, power adapter, and remote control.

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