Truly MP301 (256MB) review: Truly MP301 (256MB)

Other MP301 features include on-device file management, a choice of themes and wallpaper for the interface, and a soft-sided drawstring carrying case. Unfortunately, it's not the kind of case you'd want to take running or even to the gym. In fact, without a hold control of any kind, the MP301 makes for an awkward exercise partner--its buttons are too easy to push accidentally.

The player also includes three puzzle-style games including an Othello clone. All are somewhat difficult to play, owing to the controls.

The player ships with no desktop software except for the aforementioned utilities, which are all less than intuitive. Similarly, certain elements of the MP301's interface can be confusing. To access audio playback options, for instance, you can't just press the Menu button while viewing your song list--you have to start a song playing first.

Fortunately, while the Truly MP301 may not have the simplistic controls or elegant interface of, say, an iPod, it's definitely one of the best-sounding audio players we've ever heard. Music comes through loud, clear, and full bodied, thanks in no small part to Truly's earphones--a surprisingly comfortable pair with padded buds and a shiny silver cord. We were also pleased with the quality of the MP301's recordings. Voice recordings in particular sounded superb, even at the Medium setting.

Loading songs, photos, and other files onto the MP301 is a drag-and-drop affair with file-transfer performance at 0.45MB per second, about what you'd expect from a USB 1.1 connection. The time it takes to switch between photos depends on the size of the file. Larger files took anywhere from 2 to 10 seconds, while tiny LGO files drew on the screen instantly. The battery life of 9.4 hours was also good for a device this size.

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