The FY700 is a flash based mp3 player that is available in 512MB, 1GB, and 2GB sizes and supports MP3, WMA, WMA DRM, and ASF audio files. This UMS player also packs in FM, FM recording, voice recording, 5 band EQ, and adjustable playback speed, to name the majority.
The FY700 has the same feature set as MPIO’s family of MP3 players, but with the FY700 they really took a unique approach to this player, making the design a function of the player. This distinctive practical design won MPIO Innovations 2006 Design and Engineering Award of CES.
The FY700 includes: install CD (for older computers), manual, standard USB cable, earbuds, bottom cover, and a AAA battery. Optional attachments are also available, such as a carabineer clip, band strap, and lanyard.
The player weighs in at 29.5g (without battery) and measures 32.5 x 84 x 13.2mm. The housing is constructed of a hard scratch resistant plastic. Despite the entire outside being made of plastic it feels very solid and well built.
The player includes a bottom cap which can be removed and replaced with three other attachments: a carabineer clip, band strap, or lanyard. These accessories create three other unique ways for you to interact with this player’s physical design. I commend MPIO for thinking differently and creating a unique design that is worthy of the CES Innovations 2006 Design and Engineering Award.
MPIO made a slight sacrifice choosing design over function when it came to the buttons and controls. The controls take some time to get acclimated to since the user interface is based on a 4-way directional control, but it is not set up in the standard “up-down-left-right” pattern like their previous players.
Since the player’s menus are very simple to begin with, it is not a big deal. Changing these controls would change the esthetics of this player.
The voice recording offers MP3 recording at three different bitrates: 32, 48, and 64kbps. It also has VOR or Voice Operated Recording where as it will record only when noise is detected. Additionally, you are able to set the record gain depending on the environment you are in. For instance you could use this feature to tweak the gain to accommodate a classroom lecture.
The FM radio offers features such as auto presets, country selection, seek step adjustments, and recording.
The MPIO FY700 uses the headphone input as an external antenna which does give it good reception, but what helps the good reception is the ability to tune the seek step to 50khz. This allows you to advance a half increment of typical FM tuning. For example, you can tune to 101.35 not just 101.3 to 101.4.
Like the voice recording you have the ability to select three different bitrates of 64, 96, and 128kbps to record radio stations. When recording at 128kbps the playback is indistinguishable from the original broadcast.
Some of the other features worth a quick mention include, the ability to delete files, resume, and playback speed adjustment (50% to 200% in 25% increments).
The player runs on a single AAA battery. MPIO rates the battery at 20 hours. My tests indicated that it fell a bit short, but typical of rated verses real world tests. The FY700 played easily through two 8 hour work days, but didn’t go much further.
From past experience with AAA powered MP3 players, you could probably extend this player’s battery life beyond the rated 20 hours if you used a lithium AAA battery. Though expensive, they make a big difference.
The sound quality of the FY700 is very good for a flash player. It sounds very similar to the MPIO ONE, which is one of the better sounding flash players on the
market. Most notably the FY700 produces a clean low end, producing bass very well.
However, the FY700 does not use the same Wolfson processor the ONE uses; it uses an audio chip manufactured by ALI who also makes audio chips for motherboards.
The EQ has eight different settings: normal, pop, rock, jazz, classical, vocal, bass boost and user defined. All settings are very responsive, including a 5 band user adjustable EQ.
In a market where one company tries to trump another company with features and capacity, MPIO took a side step and went a different direction to create a player with a solid electronic set as well as a unique physical set of features.
The only fault I would assign to the player is that the navigation controls are not so intuitive and take some time to get used to.
Does only having one major fault make it the best? It could be the best to someone and their life style but not to others. This is why ABi does not put numerical ratings on their reviews. We provide the strengths and weaknesses of each player to ultimately allow you to decide if it is the best player for you as an individual.
The MPIO FY700 will be available soon in the US. Expected pricing will be $89.99 for the 512MB version and $119.99 for the 1GB version. Pricing is not yet available for the 2GB version. Stay tuned…
- Solid Build
- Good Sound
- Solid Feature Set
- Button Layout