Author: Austin Bailey
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Monday, February 5th, 2001
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/iomegahipzip/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
The name Iomega is more likely to drum up imagery of storage than personal audio. From the pioneers of the Zip, and the troubled Jazz storage types, Iomega is no stranger to portable storage. Which is why they came out with the neat Clik! storage media type and then signed a whole bunch of OEM portable MP3 player manufacturers who incorporate the tiny little disc readers.
So just what is the Clik! disc? Well we first encountered it with the Sensory Science MP2300 portable player, the first brand name player to use the Clik! media. These small little discs store 40MB of data each. The cost per disc is very low, around $80-90 for a package of 10 discs. Thats 8 or 9 dollars a disc, compared to $85 and up for a 64MB CompactFlash or SmartMedia card. Of course since the time weve reviewed the Sensory Science player, the Clik! disc has been renamed to the PocketZip, and now Iomega has come out with its own portable MP3 player based on this nifty little storage device.
|Close Up & Box Contents|
The HipZip has all the bells and whistles of a current day MP3 player: a USB interface, support for both MP3 and WMA formats, secure download support, and the ability to be upgraded for future formats and security standards. As with the MP-2300, the unit comes with 2 PocketZip discs, and features a built in Li-Ion battery rated for up to 12 hours of play.
Iomega bundles a full version of the excellent MusicMatch Jukebox Plus software, along with an actual upgrade code so that you can download and unlock the latest version of the software, version 6.0. The package is rounded out with a compact charge unit, a carrying case with belt clip, and a pair of Koss brand sports headphones, almost without question the same KSC-15 phones that come bundled with the Rio 600.
My initial impressions when getting everything out was very good: this is a quality bundle and the player is very suave. I thought the MP2300 a little bulky and awkward, but the aggressive design, high-tech look, and rubberized grips and buttons make the HipZip a very fun player a fact that has allowed the HipZip to skirt past the limitations of an integrated mechanical drive which adds a lot of weight and bulk to a player.
Using the Player
The HipZip runs using the Daddio OS by Iobjects. The LCD display, which can be set with a backlight, displays the track title, elapsed time, playmode, and volume levels while playing a song. Stop, pause, play and movement functions are located on the front of the player. To the side is the rubberized menu button and the volume rocker. By pressing the menu button you bring up a pretty extensive list of options, including playlist management, playmode selection, equalizer settings and song info.
The unit comes with 4 equalizer presets, plus a custom mode that lets you adjust bass and treble to your liking. The play modes available are what you would expect, though A-B repeat is missing. Unique to the player is the nice playlist feature: you can rearrange the order of the songs, and select exactly which songs to play with a very easy to use, intuitive management system. Most players dont even allow you to change the playlist order through the computer interface software, let alone editing the playlist from within the player itself! This is a definite bonus, and one that impressed me a lot.
Using the HipZip Cont'd
|Hip Zip, Headphones & PocketZip Disc|
As with the Sensory Science player, the HipZip is virtually skip proof. I wasnt able to eek out a burp or pause during playback no matter how vigorously I shook the player. Were not even talking about some 30 second anti-shock buffer, because I wasnt able to make the tracks skip even when trying through to the end of the song.
The sound quality of the HipZip is phenomenal. Each of the 2 PocketZip discs come pre-installed with some nice 64Kbps WMA tracks from various artists, and the quality from these tracks was superb. In fact, when I first listened to all these tracks, I was taken by surprise by the sheer quality of sound I got from the player.
I tested the player with some of my own tracks a varied assortment of music genres ranging from hip hop, to jazz, and R&B. The playback was lively and detailed. The soundstage was clear and wide. I was extremely pleased with the sound from the pairing of the Koss headphones and the HipZip.
If you remember from my Rio 600 review, however, the Koss KSC-15 headphones have a serious problem with bass. On the HipZip this flaw was less noticeable, probably because the HipZip itself had a good bass reproduction. Nonetheless, when you play certain material, like techno/electronica, or any contemporary R&B that relies on heavy bass, it becomes quite clear that the HipZip would have been better paired with a set of headphones with a better dynamic low end performance.
HipZip Trip Ups
|Hip Zip in its Sport Case|
The HipZip makes a startling impression on anyone who uses it for the first time. The sound quality is astoundingly good, save for the inability of the included Koss headphones to give a good bass performance. The features are very solid, and this would be a nearly flawless player except for the annoying way it reads the disc between seeks. Still, it combines low cost of storage with compelling features and good sound quality, so it does represent one of the better players out there.
Overall Score: 83%
Please do not redistribute or use this article in whole, or in part, for commercial purposes.