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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [07.21.05]
Manufactured by: Sorell

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Features & Interface

The SF2000 has more features than you'd expect in a small MP3 player. I already discussed the lyrics display, but there is more. It doubles as a voice recorder, recording MP3 files at 128 kbps/44 kHz. It also has a built-in FM tuner and a Line Input. Not exactly groundbreaking features, but here's the cool part; you can record from either the tuner or Line In, and encode them as MP3 on the fly. Although recording from Line In isn't exactly the best way to copy music, there may be other uses for it that aren't related to tunes. And personally, I can't think of any other way to record radio, since I haven't had a cassette recorder for at least 5 years now.

The FM tuner itself supports up to 20 channel presets, and can be automatically scanned and saved.

Bookmarks are supported; if you want to keep a bookmark of a song in the current playlist, this feature can definitely come in handy.

There are several standard EQ settings, which set various levels for bass and treble for you. Although I would have liked direct control, it's not hard to find the setting that sounds right (usually this is flat, or the "Normal" setting). SRS WOW and TRUBASS are both supported the SF2000. If you listen to a lot of low bitrate files (under 192 kbps) your music will sound flat and uninteresting. Although I'm not a big proponent of adding effects to music, low bitrate has already had effects taken out of it, so these effects can definitely enhance the sound a bit.

With so many features, it is going to be tough to keep the interface simple. The SF2000 fares well for basic playing and navigation, but there are a lot of menus to navigate when switching play modes, and selecting things like repeat and random mode. However, the manual is thorough, and contains information on all the functions. Unfortunately, it's poorly written, and sometimes almost impossible to understand.

USB 1.1?

Yeah, the SF2000 only supports USB1.1. That, and the low memory capacity are the two major things holding it back. I guess with such a low capacity, having a slow transfer rate doesn't matter as much? ;) The way they handled the USB connection is quite clever.

The USB port flips right out of the unit itself. The player is a bit large to be plugged into a hub at the same time as other devices, so an extension cable is included. The Lithium-Ion battery is charged via the USB port. Unfortunately, it's not going to be easy to change the battery once it expires (and all lithium batteries have a shelf life, even when not being used). Hopefully by the time that happens, you'll have more music by then, and will want to buy a new player anyway ;)

A full charged battery lasts 15 hours playing MP3 files, and 20 hours playing FM radio, which is quite good.

To transfer your songs to the SF2000, simply plug it into a USB port. It will show up as an external drive. From there, you can dump your songs, or sort them into as many sub directories as you like.

The SF2000 supports a variety of file types, including MP3 up to 320 kbps, WMA up to 192 kbps, and even Ogg Vorbis, up to 500 kbps. Unfortunately M4A isn't supported at this time, but could be added with a firmware update. That would make this player a good replacement for people who want to use iTunes to buy their music, but don't want to have to use a Shuffle to play their tracks.

If you're encoding your own music, you'll want to use WMA. It's at least three times as fast as any of the other three aforementioned codecs.

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