R1-Like it - Could Be a Bit More Exciting, Though!
I have been sort of writing this post - or trying to do so - in my head now for more than a week - and still have not been able to generate the excitement I need to be creative - neither does the R1. At the same time, I feel compelled to say something because the R1 Forum is so skewed on the side of the negative, when really - it's a nifty player, but with some caveats. No technical jargon from me - just the musings of a layperson who loves her R/B on a nice sounding player.
I own a Sony NWZ A729, two Samsung Q1s, iPhone, a Sansa Clip, and a few non-working Chinese MP4 players. Samsung players have a sound stage that appeals to my personal tastes - they seem to highlight high end instruments (perhaps this is what folks call sounding bright). I have had a Sansa Clip for months, but never really listened to it until last weekend, the day I got my R1. I generally listen to my music flat, and I use Sennheiser Px 100s, HD 238s or some other model, generally. I am now sold on the Clip being the best sounding player that I own, but I had no clue before I ordered another Samsung.
When trying to decide between a Cowon J3 or S9 and the Samsung R1 - I was advised here to go with a Cowon, but when I had the chance to get an 8gb R1 at a decent price, I had to jump at it! I have no regrets, as now I know some of its stregnths and weaknesses from a first-hand perspective, at a price that has not caused buyers remorse.
The player came with firmware 3.03 installed and I have yet to have any of the problems documented here, but I have not used it regularly.
What I wanted and What I like
1. Compact touch screen player (touch screen is very responsive)
2. Nice sturdy feel to it / silver brushed metal name plate is gorgeous - it is a classy looking player
3. Album art is flawless with Vorbis files - Album art is done much, much better than it is on the Q1
4. I like the R1's angled Album Flow and that you can also view albums by way of a list - the album art is too small this way, though. Would be great if I can change this somehow.
(a) In the landscape mode, the album art is quite beautifully integrated with text - there is an illumination effect there as well.
(b) Time Flow -hold your finger on the album art and the picture angles to make room for a list of songs on the album that is currently playing. In this mode, you can swipe the album art to engage Album Flow, but for some reason my album titles all show as Unknown - no big issue since I certainly know which album I am looking at, but still odd.
5. Ok, I think it is cool that you can rotate the whole screen 180 degrees to make the player equally comfortable for left and right-handed people to use. Or if you do not want your headphone jack at the bottom of your player - rotate the screen and now it is at the top - or right vs. left depending on how you hold your player. Samsung gets bonus points for that.
6. Demo videos look great - I like the Mosaic Flow display of videos.
7. Excellent sound - It sounds a bit more even then the Q1 - but I have not decided yet if it sounds better! - Its a subdued sound - more like the Sansa Clip to me than the Q1 is.
I have nothing else to say about video because I bought this for my listening, not viewing interests and pleasure and so have not really tried it. I cannot speak about the blue tooth because my car stereo is tripping, so I could not connect the R1 to it.
Do Not like
1. I am all for appealing to little girls - It's about time - but my -This widget-dominating cartoonish UI is a bit much.. no.. it is a LOT much!
2. What the hell is with the clock - Accuracy is non-existent!
3. Accelerometer - Fail - While listening to a song, you can change the orientation from landscape to portrait - but if you engage any othe function while listening to your music, the orientation reverts back to landscape until you return to your song. This caught me off guard for a minute until I realized that I needed to rotate my player when I went to the home screen while listening to a song that was in portrait mode.
4. I find that I have to go through too many screens to get where I want to go - about two too many steps for me.
5. Yes, I said that I listen to my music flat, but it is still disappointing to see R/B missing from the DNSE choices!
6. Transitioning from one album to the next requires going back into the music menu - If you use your browser to play by songs, then you can swipe the screen to go from one song to the next - this is not the case if you select Albums in the browser.
7. And this - believe it or not - was the negative that stood out most for me when I first started playing around with this thing - Parts of the UI (upuon tapping the music widget) just looks too incomplete and cheap to me. It reminded me of my buying-from-Mp4-Nation days - when I got players that had random, cheap, and bland icons and I had to spend weeks learning how to modify my player just so that icons did not look they were drawn by 3rd grader in timeout! - Maybe this flashback is too much for me - it certainly is a real turn off
Do I like the player, yes! But I am not thrilled about it. I do not find myself feeling the usual excitement I have for a new player. In fact, it still sits in the box with the oritional protectve plastic shield on the screen. I have been trying to figure out why - I mean, it is so much of what I want in a player. I think that - for me - the R1 is a victim of bad timing!
The Q1 was pretty much the first name-brand PMP that I bought - and I was blown away not only by the sound quality, but also by its ease of use! Yes, I said Q1 had ease of use - that is when you consider what I was coming from, Chines MP4 players with notoriously bad UIs. The practice I got frustratingly navigating these players originally made using the Q1 a breeze - but then I got the Sony and then the iPhone - debate about the iPod's SQ asside, it has the best UI out there - I even find it a bit exciting and fun to work with. I like using it with my car stereo! Navigation is a pain on it, but I like the Q1's UI much better than the R1's.
I really like the R1 - it is a small touch screen, just as I wanted - but the UI is so boring and uninspired that yesterday I found myself using the cumbersome Q1 over the R1. I have been thinking about just holding on to this to give away as a gift, esp. at only 8gb, but perhaps I will do some research and learn how to mod the UI - make it more pleasing to my taste. Had I gotten this before the Q1, the NWZ A729, or the iPhone - I would have been singing nothing but praises for the R1 - for now it is a compact, wonderful-sounding player, without enough oomph to make me reach for it on a daily basis.
Nevertheless, given what all the player has and can do: compact size, Album Flow, TV out, bluetooh, pretty responsive touch screen, plays a variety of types of music files including lossless, etc., I think it is a steal for under $100.00 on Ebay and Amazon (see bogator321 on Ebay); if you wait, you may even get it for less.
Last edited by Keeper; 01-16-2011 at 10:09 PM.
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