CNET First Look
Uh oh, it's PonoPlayer!While it has its faults, the distinctive and fun PonoPlayer offers a taste of high-end audio.
[MUSIC] Ever since the success of CD numerous companies have tried to popularize new formats they hope will sell by the truckload. Two of these led to a format war, DVD audio vs SA CD. Now neither were particularly successful it did lead to a thirst for better than CD quality music or high res audio as it's called today. [UNKNOWN] we've seen is leading the charge of high quality digital music. And two and a half years after debuting the player on David Letterman, it's finally here. The Pono player is a 64 gigabyte hi res player, which will play almost format you throw it, including Sony's DSD, which funnily enough, debuted with the SATD. As you can see it's kind of an awkward shape. But it does fit nicely in your hand and the touchscreen and multi function button are easily accessible. The reason for the weird shape a large battery. But on our test it's only good for six to eight hours use and takes four hours to charge. Navigation is pretty straight forward, even if it's easy accidentally select things, rather than swipe. But it's the select button that causes the most trouble. This all in one switch acts as a play, select, power and track skip, which can get confusing. The lack of a hold switch, and a convoluted hold system. Means the buttons are easy to trigger in your bag or pocket, which can lead to a run down battery or ear splitting volume. It's not going to change the world unfortunately. High res audio isn't as exciting as Neil Young might make out and people will balk at many things including the $399 price tag. But despite its many issues, I really like this device. It's fun. It sounds good, and it's distinctive. Sound quality is a cut above your smartphone as you'd expect. And having another high-resolution store to choose from in the form of PonoMusic is also a good thing. This is Ty Pendlebury from cnet.com