Toshiba gigabeat F20
- Excellent screen; useful one-touch rip/record function
- Unnecessarily complicated to use
Taken purely as a player or picture viewer it's a good product at a good price but it's fatally hamstrung by poor software and complicated operation.
Price$ 439.00 (AUD)
After a brief period where medium-sized hard drive players such as iPod's Mini dominated the portable music player market, it now appears that players with large capacities are back in vogue. Toshiba's new Gigabeat F20 is 20GB model (also available in 40GB and 60GB versions) that could potentially challenge the iPod's supremacy.
The F20 is similar in physical size to a 20GB iPod, and therefore significantly larger than Sony's NW-HD5. A cross-shaped touch pad caters for basic controls such as volume and skip, while several backlit buttons along the spine provide access to menus and advanced functions, including 28 EQ settings. The Toshiba also has a useful programmable button that allows one-touch access to whatever takes your fancy, and it's good to see that the Gigabeat is compatible with tracks downloaded from the Coketunes and Digirama music sites.
The F20 has two great features that top those on rival players. The first of these is a 2.2-inch, 240 x 320 pixel QVGA colour LCD screen. It's the most impressive we've seen on any MP3 player and when used to view pictures easily surpasses the iPod Photo's onscreen display.
The second standout feature is the Gigabeat's one button 'RipRec' technology that lets you copy a CD directly to the player. It works well and is a very quick way of transferring your music: We loaded an entire 60-minute CD to the player in just 2 minutes 50 seconds. There's a downside to this, however. The Gigabeat's software only rips music to the player; you can't use it to save the files to your PC. This means you have to use Windows Media Player 9 or 10 to rip and store files. Windows Media Player does a good job, but why didn't Toshiba simply include its own rip-to-PC function, rather than requiring punters to use someone else's software?
And there's a catch here, too. Although the Gigabeat plays WMA files natively, it re-encodes them to a maximum of 192kbit/s. So while you can use Windows Media Player tracks the Gigabeat won't read them if they're encoded at a higher bit-rate. To listen to larger files you have to synchronise them first, which reduces the bit-rate. When we rip CDs with WMP, we do so at the highest quality possible. Not everyone wants this. We do. What we don't want is for a player - especially one with a large hard drive, where space is not such an issue - to drastically limit the sound quality.
Moreover, to synchronise WMA files from a PC, the player has to first be manually set to connect to Windows Media Player. It's fiddly and such messing about should be unnecessary. So involved is its operation that the F20 comes with two user manuals: one for the player and one for the software. Annoyingly, we were forever flicking between the two, as the player manual constantly required me to refer to the software manual and vice versa.
When you finally get everything working the F20 sounds excellent - even if the files have been downsized to 192kbit/s - with the fullest bass I've yet heard on a portable player. The earbuds provide good sound and in terms of audio quality are better than most earphones that come bundled with MP3 players. Unfortunately, they don't sit well in the ear and we were constantly pushing them back in, which we don't have to do with Apple's headsets or my favoured Sonys.
It's a shame that the Gigabeat F20 is so darned tricky to master. Taken purely as a player or picture viewer it's a good product at a good price, but it's fatally hamstrung by poor software and complicated operation. Listening to music on the move shouldn't be this difficult.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 LG G6 Plus: Full, in-depth review
- 2 First Look: Nikon D850
- 3 OnePlus 5: Full, in-depth review
- 4 Nokia 8: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
Latest News Articles
- Apple's Q1: Record $US18.4 billion profit, but iPhone sales are slowing
- Sony shows latest high-end Walkman
- Sydney Airport lost property auction: you'll be amazed at what some people left behind
- The iPod classic plays its last
- Apple iPod Touch pricing slashed by up to 25 per cent in Australia
PCW Evaluation Team
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
- Huawei Y5 (2017) Review
- First Look: The Evil Within 2
- LG G6 Plus: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - Online PokerNSW
- CCTechnologyOne Systems AdministratorSA
- FTSenior Java DeveloperQLD
- FTFront End DeveloperVIC
- FTIBM Tivoli Network Configuration leadVIC
- FTETL & SQL Data AnalystOther
- CCMultiple Hadoop Developers Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne or AdelaideACT
- CCPenetration TesterQLD
- CCEvent ManagementNSW
- FTSenior Software Developer - Java/J2EE/Micro servicesOther
- FTSenior Java DeveloperOther
- CCSalesforce Technical ArchitectNSW
- FTOffice 365 SMEOther
- TPTechnology Training and Service Desk AnalystVIC
- CCSystem AdministratorNSW
- CCDataStage DeveloperNSW
- FTPractice Manager - SecurityVIC
- TPSQL Developer/AnalystQLD
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW
- FTTechnical Support - Level 1 - Sydney WestOther
- FTSecurity ArchitectOther
- CCSenior Business Analyst - investment bankingVIC
- FTBusiness QA Manager - TelecommunicationsOther
- FTSenior Project Manager - Dynamics CRMOther
- FTInfrastructure Project ManagerOther