Likko LKM012 Superman review:

Likko LKM012 Superman

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Directory and subdirectory navigation; quick fast-forward; has Resume function and voice recorder.

The Bad No ID3 tag support; balked on one test CD.

The Bottom Line Likko's MP3 CD player would be acceptable if only it supported ID3 tags.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

4.0 Overall

Updated 6/20/02

Editors' note:
The rating and/or Editors' Choice designation for this product has been altered since the review's original publication. The reason for this is simply the general improvement of technology over time. In order to keep our ratings fair and accurate, it's sometimes necessary to downgrade the ratings of older products relative to those of newer products.

Despite its tongue-twisting name, the Likko LKM012 SuperMan MP3/CD Portable Player has a host of features that make it a breeze to use. Using the Resume feature, it's easy to navigate the long lists of tracks on MP3 CDs, play just the songs that you want, and pick up right where you left off. We only wish there was ID3 tag support, which lets you see the titles and artists of the songs that you're playing. Also, the device was a bit finicky about which CD-Rs it would play. Updated 6/20/02

Editors' note:
The rating and/or Editors' Choice designation for this product has been altered since the review's original publication. The reason for this is simply the general improvement of technology over time. In order to keep our ratings fair and accurate, it's sometimes necessary to downgrade the ratings of older products relative to those of newer products.

Despite its tongue-twisting name, the Likko LKM012 SuperMan MP3/CD Portable Player has a host of features that make it a breeze to use. Using the Resume feature, it's easy to navigate the long lists of tracks on MP3 CDs, play just the songs that you want, and pick up right where you left off. We only wish there was ID3 tag support, which lets you see the titles and artists of the songs that you're playing. Also, the device was a bit finicky about which CD-Rs it would play.

A host of features
The MP3 CDs played by the Likko hold up to 150 songs, so finding the ones that you want to hear at any given moment can be a drag. The Likko attacks this problem from a couple of angles. First, it lets you navigate through directories and subdirectories that you burned into the CD. If you want to listen to one artist's music but it's at the end of the CD, you have to skip through only the folders rather than every single track (although the folders are numbered rather than named). Using the subdirectories, you can easily skip through different albums in the same artist folder--again, provided that you know which numbers correspond to each artist and album. And if you don't want to go folder to folder, the Likko also has a hyperactive fast-forward feature that jets through more than ten tracks per second, taking you from the beginning to the end of a CD packed with MP3s in a snap.

But even these features can be a pain to use when you just want to start the music where you last stopped, so the Likko includes a Resume feature that lets you bookmark your exact spot on the CD. We really wish that more MP3 CD players had a similar function, since there are so many songs on these discs. Besides helping music buffs not repeat songs, it's a boon to fans of audiobooks and other spoken word media, which might not be separated into tracks. The Likko also makes it easy to program a playlist if there's a particular group of songs that you want for your morning commute.

More surprises--some good, some bad
There are a couple of other surprises that added to the Likko's appeal. It includes a voice- recording feature, which we haven't seen in many of these players. But it doesn't include a microphone, and any recordings that you make are erased once you play a CD, since the memo gets recorded onto the player's buffer memory (which, incidentally, gives you a modest ten seconds minimum of skip protection). It also has a few equalization presets: five for MP3 CDs and two for normal audio CDs. The player includes a Random mode--always a bonus when you don't know what you feel like hearing.

We did run into a few problems trying to use the Likko. Like some MP3 CD players we've seen earlier, it didn't play every CD that we tried. It stumbled on an ISO 9660 CD-R created at 1X on a Mac using a Que Drive CD burner and default Toast settings. In addition, we encountered more skipping than we'd like with a player such as this, and certain CDs seemed to cut out in the middle of various songs, although they had played fine just hours before.

For the $129 asking price, the Likko includes a car adapter kit and a mini-to-RCA cable for connecting the player to your stereo. As with other MP3 CD players, the Likko's price is considerably lower than that of flash memory players. Folks with a CD burner who don't need audio for jogging will usually find MP3 CD players to be an acceptable choice. While the Likko isn't the strongest entrant in the field, we think that it's a pretty solid choice, given all the included perks.

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