The latest mass-storage MP3 player allowing you to carry your music collection with you comes in the form of the well-built 20GB SSF-M3. Touted as the world's slimmest hard drive-based MP3 player, the 136g device is lighter than an iPod. It lacks a main body display, and, instead, details are presented on a six-line blue backlit LCD on the supplied remote controller (so you don't need to take the player out of your pocket). The remote duplicates the main body controls, covering standard playback and volume options, menu/mode selection, recording and hold/lock.
The SSF-M3 is firmware upgradeable and currently supports MP3, WMA, ASF, OGG (Vorbis) and WAV formats. It provides FM radio recordable internally to MP3 at 64Kbps to 320Kbps quality.
The manufacturer has cheated a little bit by using a bottom-located port attachment to endow a 3.5mm analog line-in jack with definable levels and the same MP3 recording quality options as above, whereas the built-in voice microphone records to MP3 at 32Kbps to 128Kbps. The attachment also provides line-out, power outlet and USB 1.1/2.0 connections.
The excellent Jet Audio jukebox software is bundled and serves well for encoding, effects and transfers of songs and playlists. In use, sound quality was loud and clear (the device has a 95dB signal-to noise ratio) and, after a few references to the manual, navigating the SSF-M3 becomes fairly straightforward.
A pair of quality (but chunky) silver earbuds were supplied, as were a black carry pouch, USB and audio cable. Stated battery life is 14 hours but proved closer to 10. All up, a compelling device worth comparing against the competition.
In Brief: JNC Digital SSF-M3Slimmer and lighter than the iPod, this 20GB player supports multiple digital music formats, records various sources and has a built-in FM radio tuner.
Vendor: JNC Digital
Phone: (02) 9264 8677