It's here! Yes, it may not be the most technically advanced portable audio player on the market. But just in time for the holidays, one of the year's most eagerly awaited MP3 players has arrived: The Pez MP3 player, testament to the power of sugar-fueled nostalgia and one man's dream, is everything we hoped it would be. Ours arrived by mail today, and we're ready to (virtually) share it with you.
Yesterday, we received an e-mail from Pez MP3 impresario Pat Misterovich, letting us know that the first batch of
players had shipped. Sure enough, when we opened our mailbox today, there it was. Talk about fast service! In the first
picture above, you can see everything that comes with the player, including a carrying strap, ear buds, USB cable and
As you can see, the player is blister-packed, with the front of the pack marked ď1st Edition.Ē Whether or not that means these early versions will be worth a bundle on eBay at some point in the future remains to be seen (though, just in case, we ordered two ó and, yes, we paid for them!). Also on the blister pack: word that this holds ď120
candies songs.Ē Personally, we would have liked it if Pat had found a way to
squeeze the player into the shell and keep the candy, but maybe thatíll be the second edition.
The side of the player is where youíll find the USB jack, along with an iPod-esque wheel, which controls all playback functions. The hole to the right of the P is a green LED, which illuminates when the player is initially turned on or off, when the playback controls are activated, and when the player is connected to a PC.
Hereís what happens when you open the head and feet. The switch inside the head turns the power on and off, while the feet slide off to reveal the battery compartment (the player takes a single AAA battery).
So, once itís all unpacked, how good a player is this? A better question would be, how good is SigmaTelís player-on-a-chip, since thatís what takes the place of the candy inside this box. And it works just fine. Non-DRMíd music files can be installed via drag-and-drop, and DRMíd ones can be transferred using any application that can verify your Windows Media 10 license (we tested it with Yahoo Music Engine, and had no problems). Sound quality is adequate, and we had no trouble cranking this up loud enough to rock out. The overall build of the player feels a little cheap and flimsy, though we like the fact that the head locks in place, so that it wonít inadvertently flip up and snap off. We also found the controls a bit unresponsive and tricky; consistently being able to pause a song was definitely an iffy proposition. The problem is mainly due to the diminutive size of the play button and outer control wheel; anyone with large fingers may have a hard time using this.
Our overall take: While thereís no question that $100 is a little steep for a 512MB, display-less player with bare-bones functions, itís about the same price youíll pay for an iPod shuffle with a similar set of features. Sure, the shuffle is smaller and lighter; but it doesnít have this oneís novelty appeal. This will definitely be our player of choice for gym outings, if only for the looks weíre sure weíll get when we prop it up on the treadmill control and run our headphone cable from its back.