- Plug and play, Decent functionality
- Poor headphones, No 3.5mm jack, Counter-intuitive menu system
No matter what your needs there are probably better choices elsewhere in the digital music player market. The Omni player offers poor sound quality coupled with a confusing menu system.
Price$ 129.00 (AUD)
The price is low and the functionality extensive, but overall the Omni MF1100 does not deliver. Sound quality using the required included headphones is disappointing, while the headphones themselves are uncomfortable to wear. The interface and controls are a let down and because the screen is only one inch in size, the picture viewer and video player don't provide much of an experience.
One of the biggest problems with the MF1100 is the sound quality. Being audio freaks, it's rare that we are satisfied with the stock earbuds that accompany most MP3 players. Where possible, we will always use our own third party headphones wherever possible. Unfortunately, Omni haven't given you this option, using a 2mm jack instead of the standard 3.5mm and offering no adapter to support larger plugs.
We could have lived with this if the included ear-buds were somewhat serviceable, but they are one of the worst pairs of headphones we have heard in a long time. With harsh highs, bloated bass and a lot of tonal inaccuracy, we really couldn't stand listening to them any longer than necessary. Even their design is sub-par. Resembling two small hammers, the ear-buds were in no way comfortable and continually slipped out of place or just plain fell out of the ear. If we could have used our own headphones with this unit it would have scored higher, but as it stands this is a big problem.
Interface and Functionality
When we fired up the MF1100 , we were hit with a sense of Deja vu as we'd seen this before. Sure enough, on closer inspection this model turned out to be pretty much identical to the MVP 1G. Everything, right down to the startup and shutdown animations was a carbon copy, except the Laser logo had been replaced with an Omni logo.
Thus, the MF1100 suffers from the same issues the MVP 1G did before it; namely, confusing navigation and poor menu structure. Almost everything about the menu system is illogical. To navigate down for example, you use the left and right keys. To select an item, you don't hit "Play" but instead you hit "Menu". Furthermore, no effort seems to streamline the navigation process has been made. Songs can't be sorted in any sort of order and playlists are non-existent. The best you can do is split your songs into folders when you copy them across. Trying to select specific songs when the unit is full is a nightmare.
We were also repeatedly confused about exactly what each function did. Sometimes the play button would act as a select or operation key, other times it would turn the unit off. Hitting the Menu key would often bring us to the settings for that particular function (equaliser etc) but other times take us back to the root menu. Adjusting the volume was equally annoying as you need to hit the volume key, followed by the arrow keys. Bizarrely, the maximum volume is 31. Not 30, not 40, but 31. How Omni decided on this particular number is beyond us, but it was an amusing, almost Spinal Tap, quirk nonetheless.
The one thing this device has going for it is a decent array of features. In addition to regular music playback, the MF1100 supports video playback, voice recording, photo display and e-book reading. We found the voice recording to be decent, but not on par with something like the MVP 1G. It picked up the target material reasonably well, but background audio wasn't clear at all. The video playback was even worse. To watch video it must first be transcoded to Omni's proprietary .AMV format before they will run on the device and with the miniscule one inch screen, there is little enjoyment to be had from video playback regardless. By the same token, the e-book reader and photo display functionalities also suffer from the small screen size.
We did, however, enjoy the fact that it is a plug and play unit. After years of using Sony devices that require transcoding to ATRAC and uploading through the horrendously irritating Sonic Stage, a drag and drop MP3 player makes transferring music a breeze.
This is the other area where this device excels. It is obvious that the MF1100 is designed to resemble the iPod nano. Aside from the Omni logo plastered on the front and the absence of a touch sensitive scroll wheel, this unit could easily pass for Apple's product. It has a slim, miniaturised design with a black motif and metal backing plate. It looks pretty good, although the back does tend to capture fingerprints marks.
Unfortunately though, we felt the control system was poorly implemented. Using a circular design that resembles the nano, most of the buttons felt too loose. Sometimes it would take multiple key presses to get a proper response which did not inspire confidence in the Omni's durability in the long term.
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