mobiBLU MP3 PlayerWhen a company makes a claim that they have the world’s smallest MP3 player, you begin to expect a lot from the total package.  We reviewed the mobiBLU DAH-1500i.  Its performance is impressive.  The drawbacks are based on user preferences.

mobiBLUE DAH-1500i
Firmware version 100.100.105
1 GB memory

Recently, I was in the market for a small voice recorder to use when addressing audiences.  The requirements I set when the search began were that it had to be small, it needed to record in MP3 format natively, and it had to have good quality sound.  My assistant located several options, one of which was the mobiBLU DAH-1500i.

It was difficult to find a local store that carried it, but I managed to find one (that’s one as in the only one) in stock.  I was immediately impressed by the size.  After taking it home and working with it, I was impressed with its functionality, too.

What it does
The DAH-1500i has a full feature list.  It serves as an MP3 player, a voice recorder, an FM stereo receiver, an FM stereo recorder and, as most MP3 players nowadays, as an optional file storage device.  The device comes packaged with earphones, a lanyard, a USB 2.0 cable for syncing and charging the built in battery, an instruction booklet and a rubber protective case.

My first test was to copy some MP3 files off my MacBook Pro and copy them to the player.  After disconnecting the device, I played several songs testing the volume.  The audio quality was excellent, and the volume levels on this device are impressive.  It easily rivals the iPod Nano I have used for a few months.

Somewhere along the way, I had ripped some CDs into iTunes as m4 format rather than MP3.  Those are not recognized, but that was an oversight on my part.

Then, I took the device and made several recordings at different distances.  I tried it placed on a flat surface near the speaker, across the room, and contained in a shirt pocket simulating use during a public address.  It was simply incredible how crisp and clear the audio was on this little device.  The audio can be recorded at 64-160Kbps.  I used 160Kbps.  Getting to the voice recording is NOT a one or two button option, however.  This can be a drawback for a power user on the go.  For my use, I simply prepare the device before using it, place it on a lecturn and then begin speaking.

So far, this has been field tested in a small classroom with up to 30 people making the random background noise along with a home environment.  In the home environment (my wife’s breadmaking class), the acoustics are obviously different, but the results were still impressive.  Overall, the voice quality is excellent whether the speaker is in front of or behind the device.  However, the device does not perform well when it encounters motion.  So if you plan to hold it in your hand, keep it strapped around your neck on the lanyard, or put it in your pocket, expect sharp, loud cracks in your audio from the “handling” noise.

(Editor’s Note:  We tested this device side by side — literally — with the Creative Zen Nano Plus and liked the mobiBLU better.)

One negative of the device is that your recording preferences are lost between power cycles.  If you set the gain high or low and the device powers down or idles off, when you turn it back on, the setting has returned to its default.  I do not like this drawback and recommend to the manufacturer that they fix this in a firmward update.  Also, it would be nice to have a firmware update which allows for one or two touch voice recording.

The display is more than adequate in its default contrast and brightness (both configurable).  In play mode, the volume setting, battery life, track name, track format, EQ setting, track number, sampling rate, and time elapsed are all displayed.

What do I NOT like about this device?  Having used the iPod Nano, I was accustomed to the thumbwheel concept.  This device, as a small square, has  two buttons on the left of the device and a small directional wheel with a center play/stop button on the right side.  That means that sometimes you have to hold the player with one hand and squeeze either or both of the sides to operate the controls.  What can you say?  It IS the world’s smallest MP3 player.  So somewhere one gives up something for size.

Another dislike is the square shape.  Although you can purchase armbands and accessories to strap it to your body, the 2.4 centimeter size does stick out enough that it could be obtrusive for some people.  In a backpack, purse, loose pocket or other location, the shape shouldn’t be an issue at all.

Finally, it does not have a line input for external devices or microphones.  That may be asking too much for the size, but the Creative Zen Nano Plus does offer this in a larger package.

Overall, I would recommend this device highly to someone who wants excellent voice quality recording at an affordable price.  You can purchase the mobiBLU DAH-1500i by following this link. We appreciate your support of our service by purchasing through our affiliates.