Vosonic Digital Data Player Review


Device Requirements: PC – Windows 98/98SE,
2000, ME, XP; Mac – Mac OS 8.6, 9.X, 10.1

Note: DOS volumes are not adequately supported by MacOS 10.0.x and loss of data
can occur


A couple of years ago, when I was first hearing about compact devices that
could not only play MP3s but that could also display video, my first thought
was, "well don’t we already have that with our Pocket PCs?" Well of course, we
did. However, the high cost of the average Pocket PC made these stand alone
gizmos seem more attractive. Not that they were inexpensive mind you, but they
certainly weren’t in the $500 price range…and they still aren’t.

As we all know, Pocket PCs have come down substantially in price over the
last year and they will continue to go down if the trend continues. So this
brings up the question of whether a stand alone digital data player would still
be a viable option for someone that wants to be able to view and listen to
media on the go.

One of the current products on the market is the Vosonic V-MP3H, a digital
data player that plays or displays JPEG, MPEG-1, and MP3 files. Included in the
box, you will receive: the
V-MP3H Digital Data Player, its drivers on CD ROM, a manual, an AC power
adapter, a desktop holder, an A/V cable, a USB cable, an earbud set, a vinyl
carrying case, and if you pay extra, an internal 2.5" hard disk.

I received a model with no internal  hard disk, but it did come with
a 16MB compact flash card.

My first impression of the Vosonic, as I removed it from the packing, was "Oh
my gosh, this thing is freaking huge!" Folks, there is just no other way to put
it! It measures 6" (15.3cm) tall, 3.6" (9.2cm) wide, and a whopping 1.75"
(4.5cm) thick! It weighs 11.9 ounces (339g) with no internal hard disk or added
memory cards. This is more than what an iPAQ with the PCMCIA expansion sleeve
weighs (11.1 ounces)!

The body is made out of champagne colored plastic, made to look like titanium
or aluminum.

I know that it is going to sound naive of
me, but when I saw pictures of the Vosonic in advertisements (like the one I
purposely cut and pasted above), it looks like a small, cute device. It is
. You might think that the trade off for the Vosonic’s large size would
be that it would have a big screen…but it does not. Its screen measures
1.6" (4cm) high by 2.1" (5.4cm) wide. Compare this to the viewing area of one of
the smaller Pocket PCs: 2.9" (7.4cm) tall by 2.2" (5.6cm) wide on the HP Jornada
565. There is no contest.

The following pictures of the Vosonic better illustrate the size of this
device. Instead of showing it in my smaller hand, I have purposely shown it in
my husband’s. He is 6’3" and has large hands, yet as you can see – the Vosonic
dwarfs them. Next I compare the V-MP3H to a Casio EM-500, which is easily the
largest PDA I own.

The V-MP3H comes with a 1350 mAh internal lithium battery that gets about 2.5
hours of life from continuous MPEG-1 playing. You can draw your own

The Vosonic can accept Type I & Type II Compact flash cards (including the
IBM Microdrive), as well as SD/MMC cards. If you have a Compact flash adapter,
you can also use Memory Stick and Smart Media Cards.

According to the included manual, the Vosonic can download media at speeds up
to 3.84MBps via the USB 1.1 interface port. Of course, you can also load media
directly through a desktop reader.

The front of the Vosonic has the Power and USB Link Status
LEDs, Auto, Repeat, Pause, and Fast-forward Play Mode Buttons, the Power
Button, Play/Enter and Stop/Escape Buttons, Volume Up and Down Buttons, as
well as the File List Scroll Buttons.

The left side has the AC Power Connector, USB Port, Video
Out Port, and the Audio/Headphone Out Port.
The right side has the Color, Brightness, and Contrast
Adjustment Knobs as well as the Keylock. The dials are hard to turn and
slightly cheesy.
The top of the unit holds a slot for the CF and/or SD cards.

When you first turn on the Vosonic, with a media card installed, you will see
a screen showing the type card(s) you have.

If you have more than one card to choose from, then you will
have to decide which you will be using by toggling the up or down buttons.
One convenient feature is that you can copy files from one card to the

For this example, I decided to play a video…

I would play the Dave Matthew’s one, but since it is black
and white, I’ll show the Eminem one, instead…

While it isn’t necessarily painful to watch a video
on this small of a screen…I also wouldn’t call it enjoyable. The picture
itself is clear, as most tiny 8bit screens are.

While in MPEG-1 mode, you can do the following: Play/Pause the video,
enable single file repeat Play, adjust the volume, display the file name,
and fast motion forward.

All of this – and more – can also be accomplished on a Pocket PC, with
Pocket TV, a free program.

If you would prefer to listen to MP3s, you simply choose
that option from the menu pictured above, and then choose the song you would
like to hear.

Realize of course that since there is no external speaker
whatsoever, you will have to use either the included ear buds or another set
of head-phones.

When listening to MP3s, you can: Play/Pause, single file repeat Play,
adjust the volume, and display the file name.

You can’t create play lists – so that means if you have a ton of MP3s on
your card, then you will be in for some heavy-duty scrolling if you want to
hear a particular song.

These are also all things you can do with Media Player, which comes with
every Pocket PC – out of the box.

The Vosonic is also able to display .jpg images. I know that someone thought
this would be a great idea for a person with a digital camera – maybe as a way
to show off the pictures taken. But here are my arguments with that: this viewer
is only about twice the size of the screen on the average digital camera! Once
again, a Pocket PC can display any .jpg file – either through Pocket Explorer
(which comes with every Pocket PC out of the box) or with any one of a number of
viewers that you can choose from. Some of these viewers will even allow for
editing of the photo right on the Pocket PC, which has infinitely more value
than carrying a huge device such as this, with such a little screen and no
editing options.

I guess I did find one thing that the Vosonic can do that the average Pocket
PC can’t: Video output. You can use the included RCA cables to display
the contents onto a larger screen. But you know what? You can do the same exact
thing by removing the cards and popping them into a reader and viewing them on
any computer in the world. So maybe it’s just me…but I am not impressed with
this feature either.

I have been putting the V-MP3H through its paces for a little while, and I
have reached the point where I honestly can’t figure out why this product even
exists. The only people I can imagine that would buy this thing are unsuspecting
consumers that have absolutely no clue about what a basic Pocket PC can do.

Now, before those in the Palm camp get their ire up, let me explain why I
keep going on about Pocket PC. From the earliest Pocket PC devices on,
there has existed the ability to not only play MP3s and view .jpg files, but
also to watch MPEG-1 movies, through the use of free add-on programs such
as the one I previously mentioned. Not only that, but you also had the ability
to install hundreds, maybe even thousands of useful programs, enabling you to
personalize your PDA to the point where it could do exactly what you wanted in
exactly the way you wanted it to do it. You can buy a Pocket PC for under $300
now…wouldn’t it then behoove you to spend a little more to get a smaller,
faster, and infinitely more useful device? I mean, come on!

This thing is a brick. It out-bricks every PDA I have ever heard referred to
as a brick, and they want $250 for it! Simply put, it is obsolete as soon as you
take it out of its box!  The slogan on the box reads, "The interface between
humans and technology." If this were 1995, I might believe it. As it is, I think
it is a total waste of money. I found two places that are selling these things,
and if you want to try it out for yourself, here are the links:
Computer Geeks
(where it is only $200 – which is still too much in my opinion!) &
Card Media

Price: $250


It is not a bomb – but you could easily fit one inside its huge body


Too big
Too clunky
Too much money
1995 form factor


Product Information

  • It is not a bomb - but you could easily fit one inside its huge body
  • Too big
  • Too clunky
  • Too much money
  • 1995 form factor
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