Review of MP3 player RoverMedia Aria X5

RoverMedia, 2004 EFFIE Brand of the Year, is a brand of Rover Computers, a well-known Russian manufacturer of PCs and laptops, under which flash-based MP3 players are offered to the user. There are several interesting models in the RoverMedia line, reviews of some of them have already been published by us. The hero of this article is the Aria X5, a compact flash player with an OLED color display in a plastic and aluminum case.

The capabilities of the X5 are at an average modern level, here the player lacks stars from the sky: up to a gigabyte of internal memory, an FM tuner, a line-in, support for OGG audio files (of course, in addition to MP3 and WMA) and the ability to view graphic files.< /p>

The X5 has no functions worthy of special attention, the player is a typical representative of the middle class of modern flash players performed by RoverMedia, which is interesting. The “bar” is constantly rising, and over time, users get more and more functions for the same, relatively small, money, and this is clearly seen in the X5 example.

Design and Body

The body materials of X5 are silvery plastic and aluminum alloy with a brushed coating (in Russian this can be described as a lot of parallel very thin and shallow scratches on the surface). The rectangular body of the player is elongated. Together with the color scheme and the material of manufacture, this distinguishes it from the background of competing models, which is very important in a saturated market for such devices.

Outwardly, the player looks quite attractive, mainly due to the aluminum body panels and the mirror display frame. The quality of workmanship is at a decent level, the gaps are minimal and uniform along the entire length, the body panels fit exactly, nothing creaks or “plays” even with strong compression. Casting and stamping defects are also not detected.

The front panel has a small rectangular display and a five-way joystick. The back panel is left blank, it bears the manufacturer's logo and information about the device. The right side panel contains three buttons and a lock switch, on the left there was a place for a hole for the built-in microphone. On the upper end, the designers placed a headphone jack and a line-in, on the lower end there is a USB connector and a forced reset button, hidden under a tight-fitting plastic cover.

Management

The main share of manipulations falls on the five-way joystick mounted on the front panel of the player. With it, you can switch between songs, adjust the volume, navigate through all the menus and the contents of the player's memory, confirm the selection and other actions. The joystick has an average size, clearly captures pressing and, in general, does not cause any complaints. Its implementation is standard, the same joysticks can be seen in dozens of models from various manufacturers.

The other functions are controlled by three rectangular buttons located on the right sidebar. They are used to start and stop playback, switch the equalizer mode and activate recording. Buttons perform other functions depending on the context. On the same panel there is a sliding control lock switch, its dimensions and clarity of fixation do not cause any complaints, it is common.

The control scheme of the player as a whole is simple, logical and intuitive, the designers did not invent something new in the throes and went the proven path.

Display and Menu

X5 is equipped with a small color display on an OLED matrix with a resolution of 96x64 pixels. The display diagonal is 1 inch, the number of displayed colors is 4096. Most likely, the monochrome display of this model would be more suitable, but RoverMedia apparently decided to follow the fashion and still install a color display in the player. To their credit, information from the display is read quite comfortably, contrary to expectations. The "picture" on the display looks rather pale, due to the type of matrix and the small number of colors displayed. In daylight, the image fades, but you can read it if necessary. The contrast of the image is adjustable over a wide range, if desired, you can choose the most suitable one. System fonts have a maximum size for such a small display, there is a concern for the user. Information on the display is placed at a minimum, although for some reason the name of the folder in which the file being played is located is displayed. In addition, the display shows the file number, elapsed time, current time, bit rate, battery level and current equalizer setting.

The main menu of the player has a horizontal pass-through orientation and includes the sections Mode, List, Sound, Repeat, File, Display, Setting, Record, Language. Sections are represented by large animated icons of medium rendering.

Mode. Switch between player modes: listening to music, FM radio, voice recording from a microphone, recording from a line input, viewing photos.

List. Playlist tools.

Sound. Sound settings: SRS WOW system operation scheme selection, equalizer manual adjustment.

Repeat. Selecting the repeat mode.

File. File operations: deleting a single file, formatting the contents of memory.

Display. Display operation settings: scrolling speed, contrast level, type of displayed information, display of lyrics, screensaver, splash screen and others.

Setting. System settings for other aspects of the player's operation: system time and alarm, auto-off timer, playback speed (0-200%), smooth increase in volume when turned on, FM radio range. Here you can also view information about the system and firmware version, as well as reset all settings to factory values.

Record. Recording settings: bitrate (up to 128Kbps), sync, auto-stop.

Language. User interface language selection: the list contains several European languages, Russian, English and several Asian languages.

Working with the X5 menu does not require new methods and approaches, everything is extremely simple and standard. This approach is only welcome, since, as a rule, the complication of the hierarchy and organization system negatively affects the usability.

Power and PC connection

The X5 is powered by a built-in lithium-polymer battery, the manufacturer does not provide data on its capacity. Claimed battery life on a single charge is 25 hours. The figure is given taking into account favorable conditions, however, in real conditions, with very intensive use, the player works for more than 10 hours, which in itself is not a bad result.

X5 is connected to a PC via USB 2.0. The operating system detects the player as a removable media, installation of drivers and additional software is not required. The data transfer speed when copying files from a PC to the X5 is at a very decent level and is about 8 MB per second.

FM radio, recording, photo

The player's built-in tuner has standard features and good sensitivity. Auto seek finds most of the band's stations, even those that would normally have to be tuned in manually. In most cases, comfortable listening without noise and interference is possible.

Recording is carried out by the player from the built-in microphone and line-in to MP3 files. The maximum bitrate in this case is 128 Kbps, which is not so much and is simply not enough to record from a high-quality source. The sensitivity of the built-in microphone is at a good level for non-specialized equipment, the voice is well recorded at a distance of about 10 meters, even in the presence of some extraneous noise.

Viewing photos is implemented by standard means, the player performs scaling itself, which takes a decent amount of time if the resolution of the image is high. Additional features include 4x magnification.

The sound of today's flash players from mid-range and high-end manufacturers is at a high enough level to satisfy most users, and the X5 is no exception here. It cannot be said that the player has a particularly high-quality sound, but its designers have nothing to blush for. There is an SRS WOW stereo expansion system with several operating schemes, there is also the ability to select one of about 15 (!) style presets, as well as manually adjust the equalizer for five bands, saving the settings in one of three memory cells.

The total output power of the player is 20mW, which is average. This is more than enough to “pump” any in-ear headphones and most of the overhead ones. The bundled X5 headphones are ordinary “hammers” made of silvery plastic with “chrome-like” inserts and a metal mesh speaker. Their sound quality is average for complete models - mids sound decent, highs are somewhat harsh, there is not enough feedback at low frequencies.

Conclusions and impressions

The player gives a favorable impression of a simple and reliable device without any frills. Nice design is one of its advantages. The X5 performs all its functions flawlessly, although not particularly bright. This model can be described as a "strong middle peasant" among flash players, which today are often overloaded with unnecessary functions. There were no particular shortcomings in the process of testing the player. In Moscow retail for RoverMedia Aria X5 with 512 MB of memory today they are asking for about $ 135.

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Specifications:

Memory: 256, 512 MB, 1 GB Display: OLED, 94x64 pixels, 4096 colors File formats: MP3/WMA/OGG Battery: built-in lithium polymer Dimensions: 75x35x14.4 mm Weight: 48.5 g

We thank Alt-Telecom for the sample provided for testing.