Yesterday, I bought an MP5 player. I’ve been considering this for a long time. For those not familiar with the term, MP5 is like an MP4 player (that is, small portable device that plays videos on a small screen). However, it supports numerous formats for both audio and video.
For audio, the one I bought supports mp3, wma, wav, ogg, flac, ape, amr, ac3 and aac.
For video, supported formats include rm (Real Media), rmvb, aki, mkv, mov, mp4, flv, vob, mpeg, dat, wmv, pmp, 3gp, asf, ram and ts. It also has h.264 file compression, which means you can watch f4v (which is compressed flv).
You can also view still photos in jpeg, bmp, gif and png formats. It looks to me like it has limited functionality as an ebook reader.
MP5 players are basically illegal in the USA, and a few other countries where they have (thoroughly rotten and corrupt) “software patents.” This is not to be confused with copyright, which is another thing totally. Very few countries allow software patents, but America has tried to shove them down everybody’s throat in numerous free-trade agreements. At least two Asian countries have capitulated: Japan and South Korea. But elsewhere in Asia, and MP5 device is legal.
I have heard rumors of an MP6 device, which is MP5 with connectivity. I’m not really interested in that.
I am actually not too keen to watch movies on a tiny screen. The MP5 player I bought has a video output port which can connect to a large-screen TV. There is an included remote control, though it’s laughably tiny and powered by a coin-sized watch battery.
This is the MP5 model I bought:
The PCHome price is NT$2690, but I picked mine up at Carrefour on sale for NT$2390.
OK, I’m not making this post because I want to brag about my new purchase. I’ve had the thing for less than 24 hours, and I’m still playing with it. Not even sure yet if everything is going to work as advertised, but so far, so good. I need to check it out thoroughly before the 7-day window-of-opportunity to return it expires.
I do want to let everyone know of a couple of drawbacks to this machine that I’ve found so far. The first is that the menus are all in Chinese, so you’ll just have to bite the bullet and deal with that if your Chinese reading isn’t perfect. I’m not having too difficult a time yet figuring out how to use it - fortunately, there aren’t that many options to explore.
A more serious issue is the battery. The MP5 player has an AC/DC adapter (battery charger), but I found that the device definitely needs to have a charged battery before you can operate it (unlike, for example, a laptop computer which can run with the battery removed if you’ve plugged in the AC/DC adapter. I assume, then, that if the battery is dead, the whole device is a useless brick. Even worse is - like the Amazon Kindle 2 - the battery is internal and cannot be changed by the customer. So if you need a new battery, it’s not like a laptop or cell phone where you just buy one and stick it in yourself - rather, you’ve got to send it back to the factory for “repair.” That isn’t free, but I have no idea what it would cost. According to the guy at Carrefour, the one-year warranty does not cover the battery. The warranty can be extended to 3 years by paying an extra NT$400, but I’m not sure it’s worth it since that doesn’t cover battery replacement.
The device is made in China. Batteries are probably - I guess - also made in China, which worries me.
I would love to see a made-in-Taiwan MP5 player with replaceable battery. None in sight, but I can always dream.