Redactie HiFi.nl | 08 september 2000
Several things are worth bringing to your attention, with regards to some things I’ve noticed about the player. The first is an audible click when changing tracks. This is not by design, unlike audible bleeps that signal track changes, but is instead some sort of bug in the software decoding or interface. Another quirk of the watch is that it is incapable of playback of songs encoded with greater than 128Kbps bit rate. Although this latter quirk is frustrating, it shouldn’t pose too much a problem, since the 32MB (and 16MB) RAM capacity of the player doesn’t really encourage the use of higher bit rate MP3’s. It was frustrating for me because I had a number of favourite tracks that I keep in higher quality files - I had to re-rip and re-encode each of them in order to have them transfer to the watch.
All the quirks aside, the watch is an interesting step in the right direction. As technology improves, I imagine that future iterations of the Audio Wrist Watch will become increasingly appealing to a crowd of tech savvy consumers. Right now, I think the watch is more of a tech bauble - a toy if you will. And at a suggested retail price of $249US, I think it costs a little too much for what you get. Certainly the full size players we’ve seen in the past few weeks are a more appropriate investment for portable digital music. Although if you are an avid jogger or bicyclist, I can imagine that the watch’s combination of good audio quality and rugged portability could be a great boon. In the end, this is a very specialized product, and its price, limited storage capacity, and short battery life are all very strong considerations that would suggest you look elsewhere.