Star Wars Lightsaber MP3 Player Review

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For many people, Star Wars is only 6 movies that came out in the cinema between 1977 and 2005. Actually, you should not forget that Star Wars it’s also an expanded universe, probably one of the biggest fictional universe ever invented by human being: there are books, comics, video games, TV series etc… Well it’s an almost limitless universe that goes far beyond the 6 famous movies. Generally there is no time for rest in the movies as the action is everywhere! But have you already wondered what the Jedi and Sith are doing once you turned off your DVD player? They do sport, they play parlour games, they organize droid fights, they chat on facebook, but they also sometimes get bored between two missions, just like you and me. Then it’s time to get out their lightsaber to listen to music. Indeed, what isn’t written in any encyclopedia is that Jedi and Sith generally have foresight and include a small mp3 player in the lightsaber when they design and make it.

A website is selling lightsaber mp3 players. At first that looked quite dubious since every lightsaber is supposed to be unique and built by its owner but finally I found their speech reassuring enough: “Generic MP3 players from fly-by-night operations in China cost about $2.70 each in bulk. Add an FM radio function and you might bump the price up by about $0.45 each. We don’t want those. We want Taito’s officially licensed Star Wars Light Saber Kei MP3 Player which isn’t generic. It’s specialized and looks like a light saber handle with nifty and ornate detailing. Won’t find that in a no-frills generic player.” Once you have read that, you’ll agree with me it’s impossible to resist buying one! Of course I got the one of Darth Vader. No that the lighsaber of Luke Skywalker (Darth Vader’s son for people living in another world) is ugly but the dark side of the Force is more attractive, isn’t it?

  • Specs
  • Dimensions: 10.5 x 3 x 3.5mm
  • Weight: ~40g
  • Capacities: / (no internal storage), microSDHC slot
  • Display: / (hologram)
  • Audio: MP3, WMA
  • Controls: Tactile buttons
  • Transfer Protocol: MSC
  • Battery: 1x AAA

In the Box

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The Star Wars Lightsaber MP3 Player is sold in a cardboard box that reminds me the box of the Star Wars figures when I was younger. All inscriptions at the back of the box are in a strange language. That doesn’t really look like the Aurebesh writing system so maybe it’s just Japanese or something like that after all. Anyways, I don’t understand anything except the word “MP3″. The content of the box is rather poor: The lightsaber (galactic battery not included), the user manual still in a strange language and a mini-USB cable. It’s the first time I see a mp3 player sold without stuck earbuds. Maybe the Jedi and Sith have a bluetooth chip directly integrated into the ears, that could explain…well, I should read the encyclopedias again hum.

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Design/Build

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A good thing is that you immediately recognize this is a lightsaber, in this case the one of Darth Vader. Thus if you want to attract people’s attention in public transport, that’s very easy, you just have to get it out of the pocket! Indeed, the general shapes of this lightsaber have been well reproduced. That said, any Star Wars fan should notice the numerous differences (design and size) with the original lightsaber. Would that be a fake finally? Hum. It’s also interesting to say I live in France, I bought it on an American website, it’s sold by a Japanese company and it’s made in China. Long live the globalization! Of course there are some “made in China” devices with a good build quality but this one won’t reduce prejudice to silence: very cheap plastic, bad assembly work, visible screws, dribbling paint etc etc… Either I have been ripped off or Darth Vader has really bad sight!

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The AAA battery compartment. This is a new high-rendering type of battery that just came out in shops on Tatooine. However, that would be better if one could clip the cover because the Sith don’t always have a screwdriver with them…at least I don’t think so.

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The microSDHC slot is very important as there is no internal storage. Without a microSD card the device cannot work.

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A good point here: a standard mini-USB port to read the microSD card on the computer.

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Here are the three main tactile buttons.

Use/Music

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With only 3 visible buttons, the device is unsurprisingly easy to use.
A short push on the play/pause/power button turns on the lightsaber. Then the mp3 player make strange noises during some seconds, it’s like a mix between the sound of R2D2 and a 56k modem. An awsome red laser beam a little white led blinks in rhythm. It’s probably to tell you the player is on. But maybe it’s not voluntary, they may only be some parasitic noises…Then it starts playing the songs in alphabetical order. Another short press on the play/pause/power button pauses the music while a long press turns off the lightsaber. When pressing 3 times the play/pause/power button, shaking the device at the same time and screaming “Luke, I’m your father!”, the laser beam is projected as you can see on the picture below. I try not to do it too often because that consumes much power, people look at you weirdly and above all, it’s a very -too- efficient (so dangerous) weapon. The beam’s length is adjustable, I cut it a bit to make it fit the picture but don’t worry, it can be much longer if necessary.

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A short press on the prev and next buttons skip to the previous or next track while a long press on these buttons adjust the volume. However, thus you can’t move backwards and forwards in the current file. Unfortunately you can’t skip directly to the next folder either. You have to skip every single track of the current folder to reach the next one. And bear in mind every time you turn off and turn on the player it starts playing the 1st song of the microSD card (alphabetical order), there is no resume feature. So if you want to listen to the 50th or 100th song, you’ll have to be very very patient. Indeed, be ready to press 50 or 100 times the button next. This device supports microSDHC cards but managing a 32GB card with thousands of songs is just impossible. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a secret voice command on such an high-tech device. I’ll confirm that later once I would have managed to understand the user manual.

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Of course, this lightsaber features no display. LCD, Oled, Amoled, Super Amoled, Mega Amoled and all these portentous names worthy of biggest marketing services, actually those are just outdated technologies. In Star Wars universe people use holograms, we have to move with the times! A hidden button (at first I thought it was just a badly screwed part…) displays the hologram as you can see on the picture below. All main information about the now playing track are available: album art, battery indictator, id3tags etc…

Sound Quality

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This player only supports MP3 (VBR included!) and WMA files. That said, I’m not sure Flac support would have been useful since MP3 64kbps and 320kbps sound the same on this device. Indeed, the most surprising thing on this lightsaber mp3 player is probably its incredible sound quality: far from the 2011 standards (but also far from the 2001 standards…). Of course I did not expect the sound to be as good as on the Cowon J3 but I expected something listenable. I was too optimistic. The sound is so bad that it gets funny. For sure if the sound was better, it would have been less funny to review it. I have not had the occasion to try no-name players for years now so I don’t know if this is something typical or not but I can tell you this device is light-years from any Cowon, Sansa, Samsung, Sony or even Creative DAP. There is no bass (even with Creative EP630, how is it possible?!), no detail, no separation of instruments, no sound spatialisation, there are many background noises. It just sounds metallic you know. You really have to listen to it to believe it! Fortunately I found earphones worth of this lightsaber mp3 player: The red Air France earbuds you get for free during the Bespin-Coruscant flight. I believe those are the worst-sounding earphones ever.
Anyways, it seems that since Anakin has been messed up by his friend Obi-Wan and has become Darth Vader, he doesn’t hear very well anymore. His armor and his helmet may be on the cutting edge of technology, the hearing lost during his strong duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar could not be 100% restored. That could explain why he never complained about the sound quality of his lightsaber mp3 player. That’s the only explanation I found but if you have another one, just tell me…

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Miscellaneous

This lightsaber can also be a microSD cards reader thanks to his mini-USB port. The internal controller chip is not that bad as I got an average 4MB/s transfer rate.

I did not benchmark battery life because I did not have rechargeable batteries and I did not really want to use a normal battery just for that. But I think we can trust the official figures: almost 1 month and 2 weeks continuous playback based on the standard galactic calendar (also referred to as the Coruscant Standard Calendar). I let you convert into Earth time, I’ve never liked maths…

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Conclusion

It seems to me this lightsaber is not exactly the same as Darth Vader’s one. Indeed, we saw in this review that some elements make his authenticity doubtful: different aspect, very poor build quality, bad sound quality, not many audio formats supported, no playback settings. Well, at a price of 5 Imperial Credit (also sold for $29 on Earth but I’m not sure the exchange rate is accurate) I probably shouldn’t have expected it to be a very good device. But fortunately there are several good points though: a powerful AAA battery, a hologram displaying a big cover art (world first!) and an awesome microSDHC slot! It’s also a very powerful and accurate weapon. I can swear you no other utensil in my kitchen cuts the carrots so well!

Pros:

  • 2-in-1: weapon and mp3 player
  • Doesn’t look like a banal DAP
  • MicroSDHC slot
  • Hologram
  • Revolutionary AAA battery

Cons:

  • Sound Quality
  • No internal memory
  • Playback settings
  • Build Quality



9 Comments

robert on June 24, 2011 4:39 AM

Look, if you can make a holographic screen you can project a light sabre. I like the fact that the size of this thing means that everyone in Star Wars is 4ft tall, though!

HSN on June 24, 2011 7:49 AM

Hey, spoiler warnings on “The Empire Strikes Back!” :P

Schmierwurst on June 24, 2011 5:15 PM

First I thought this thing would be pretty sucky, but this awesome hologram feature saves it. I’m gonna buy one tomorrow.

tds101 on June 24, 2011 5:19 PM

I’m just so happy that you found a AAA battery mp3 player for JK98!!!

Haha on June 24, 2011 9:26 PM

*kkcchhhhhhhhhhh*Ludovic*kkcchhhhhhhhhhh**kkcchhhhhhhhhhh*I am*kkcchhhhhhhhhhh*your Mp3 Player*kkcchhhhhhhhhhh**kkcchhhhhhhhhhh*

Kevin on June 25, 2011 11:10 PM

The hologram feature almost makes it worth buying!!! I heard there’s an ihome like dock for Zune that has a hologram that can be put on a wall. It’s a projecter/Hologram but it wastes way too much power.

Confispect on June 26, 2011 8:07 AM

I want it.

Wardormeur on June 27, 2011 9:06 AM

Hum, pretty sure it’s a fake, i saw an original one not so far away on French lands /privatejoke :b

tony on July 31, 2012 7:39 AM

Well, i’m not sure if i’ll buy it.
There is nothing about this cool thing on Chinese website while i live in China…

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