Neoseeker : : : : IJAM IJ-100 / IJ-101 MP3 Player Review

IJAM IJ-100 / IJ-101 MP3 Player Review - PAGE 1

- Thursday, July 13th, 2000 Like Share






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dsearls Dec 7, 00
Recently I bought a Rio 600 for my daughter, and it's everything the review here <http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/rio600/> says it is. An outstanding product. Then, looking to save a little money on a unit for myself (one that featured an FM radio, which I thought would be cool), I bought the IJAM IJ-100. It is *far worse* than this review <http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/IJAM_IJ100-101/> suggests. The controls are non-intuitive and user-hostile. The display is borderline useless. The FM radio barely works and sound terrible. Whole sections of the dial are basically not there (blown away by strong local signals, even though there isn't a transmitter within 20 miles). And I guess I should have realized that the '32Mb' of storage that came with it was split between two 16Mb cards. Also that the connecting apparatus is an antique mess and PC-only (my main boxes are Macs, though I can use a PC). No USB support is included. And the directions are minimal at best.

My advice: avoid it.

The unit's only virtue is size.

Buy and learn, I guess. I'm
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Ether Dec 7, 00
In my defense, I just want to quote some parts of the article:

I state explicitly that the 32MB is split into 2 separate MMCs:
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Finally, although the unit comes with a total of 32MB of storage, it provides this in the form of 2 separate MMC cards, and that makes it a little inconvenient for some (page 5)
I also talk about poor FM reception:

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The built-in FM radio worked well in open areas, but its reception is not very good, and it doesn't have that crystal FM clarity that you would find in high quality radios. Instead, it produces a sort of muffled FM experience, which is only useful for casual listening when and where you need radio reception.
crappy parallel interface:

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Transfer of songs was a chore with the parallel interface, but the IJ-100 also comes in a package with a USB interface that promises to be much faster (at a cost of $50 more).
Considering there are so many more products out now, the IJ-100 is probably not worth the money. The FM radio worked for us, in our concrete office building, but it doesn't work very well. In a park things work better, but since we live in a fairly busy city, I would bet there are a lot of strong signals and those don't just "blow" away the reception.

The controls are IMO only as bad as I stated them to be:

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This is a common interface feature in the player and makes it a little hard to access some of the features, including the HOLD function and the treble/bass controls. I just didn't want to have to press and hold a button down to access a secondary or tertiary function of that button, and I don't think that could I grow to like it more. A worse user interface flaw in the design is the lack of dedicated volume controls. The same buttons that allow you to move between tracks double as volume controls – you have to depress a volume function button to toggle between adjusting volume and changing songs. Now this doesn't sound bad on paper, but in practice I found myself always changing songs when I only meant to adjust volume.
I guess if I had to do it all over again the product would only score a 60%. That was then, this is now, so things have changed. can you try returning the unit, and complain that it doesn't do half the things you expected?
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dsearls Dec 7, 00
No offense intended. I should have made it clear that your review identified nearly all the problems with the unit -- no complaints there.

It just amazes me that the unit is so bad compared to the Rio 600. The difference seems a lot larger than a 60% vs. 85% rating would suggest (although I suppose in school terms that might be the difference between failing and C+ grades).

I bought it on eBay, so returning it isn't an option. The Rio 600 cost me a few bucks more at Best Buy, and was certainly worth it (although I need to increase its storage when my daughter comes home for the holidays -- 32Mb is just way too small). Again, caveat emptor.

Right now I think I'll keep the iJam and give it to our 4-year-old for Christmas. The 16mb media will be good for lo-fi songs and stories, and he might even have fun with the radio feature. It *is* a rugged design, and he's remarkably tech-savvy and careful for a kid his age.

Doc
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Ether Dec 8, 00
Well I can certainly understand the frustration someone can have from getting a product that your not satisified with. I remember buying a Shark drive (the company has since gone out of business) and finding all sorts of problems with it. I was very sorely let down.


I just wanted to make sure that people know I did notice the same failings you are finding . The IJ-100 is one of the first MP3 portables to have come out, so it's problems are also because it is a new unit in a new industry. Could it be possible the unit you have is defective? Because although the unit is not "great", we found that it worked mostly as advertised. Definitely not as good as the Rio600, but it isn't something you would just throw away or the like.

I'm going to talk to Howard about reducing the score to reflect something closer to the times. Just to make sure not too many people get the wrong impression, like you did. I was hoping that the text spelled out enough the problems to let people make their own decision, but I guess a final score always influences the purchaser's impression.

Thanks for write by the way. I hope you have better luck in the future with these things. A lot of people who write in always tell us how much the Rio600 article helped them, so I'm glad at least not all my articles lead to unsatisfactory purchases.
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Elaine Feb 13, 02
I know this review is quite old, but I'm hoping somebody sees this and can answer my question. I own a IJ-100. I love it - it does what I need. I recently purchased a 32MB MMC for it. However, I cannot get the reader to recognize it. It works fine with 16MB disks that came with it, but it does nothing when I insert the 32MB MMC into the reader. When I put the 32MB card into the player, it seems to recognize the card, but there is nothing to play since I haven't been able to record onto it.

Does anyone know if the reader has a limitation as to how large a MMC card can be used?

I would appreciate any help with this, as I'm about to return the new card and there is a 15% restocking fee!
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Moots Feb 14, 02
quick questions:

1. Was there an option to format the card?
2. Is there a newer firmware available for the player?
3. Can you try the card in another device?

Good Luck,

Moots
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Elaine Feb 14, 02
When I put my 16MB card into the reader, a drive gets configured and then there is an option to format the card. With the 32MB card, a drive doesn't even get configured, so therefore, no format option...

I don't have another reader to try it in. I did try the card in the player and it seemed to recognize it and try to play MP3s, but of course, the card was empty, since I haven't been able to write to it.

I went to the IJAM website and am going to try the drivers they have on their site next.

Thanks for your input!
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Moots Feb 14, 02
I had a similar prob with a Rio500 - it needed a firmware upgrade before it would recognise the 64mb SmartMedia cards I bought.


Moots
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Elaine Feb 15, 02
Moots,

It worked! Thanks so much!!
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Moots Feb 15, 02
glad to be of use


Moots
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EvanRC Mar 8, 02
I purchased the I-Jam 100 when it was first released. I was very impressed with the technology at the time. However, it has been over three years now and I-Jam STILL does not have what I would call sufficient support on their product. In my opinion I wasted my money. The Media cards after being formatted will hold music but will not play in the unit. Now, I have a $150 FM stereo that has already been quoted as poor. Stay away from this product line at all costs. Visit their support site it has only software downloioads with minimal help and it actually states "This is the only technical support available as there is no telephone or e-mail support." Very poor customer service if you ask me.
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newportpdp Mar 17, 02
I too am having trouble with a 32mb card that I purchased. The 16mb chips that came with the ij-100 work fine, and I am able to transfer files to the 32mb chip. When I put the card in the player the same files that play from the 16mb card will not play in the player off of the 32mb card.

I have returned the card twice and the same thing happens with each new card.

Has anyone else experienced this problem? Can anyone offer a possible solution?
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Elaine Mar 18, 02
After downloading the latest software from the website, I was finally able to record to the 32MB card. However, the player could not play anything on it. I ended up returning the card. I still like the player, though. For the cost (I got it for $30, after rebate) it does what I need it to do. I agree - I-Jam support (what an oxymoron) stinks!
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aRan Jun 5, 03
Hi. From where can firmware be downloaded please? What is the maximum size MMC card?

Thank you.
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