FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE

Friday

Gadget Review - A218 MP3 Watch

As I have said before, I am a sucker for cool gadgets. Admittedly, they are probably only cool by my standards. To everyone else, they are just geeky. But, nevertheless, I love them. This is especially true for gadget watches.

If you read this previous post, you know what I am talking about.

I recently purchased a new gadget watch, and I just had to share my opinion on it. It has always frustrated me that there are so many seemingly cool gadgets available for sale on the Internet. But, finding a helpful review on them is next to impossible. I am always hesitant to buy something over the Internet unless I can read a review on the product. But, for this particular watch, I made an exception.

Without further adieu, here is my review of the A218 MP3 watch.

Different brands and styles of MP3 watches are available all over the Internet. I found this particular watch on eBay. If you browse around eBay you can find MP3 and MP4 watches with capacities of 256MB to 4GB. I wanted a simple MP3 watch with a descent storage capacity. But, I also wanted one that didn’t look like an MP3 player. It had to look like a regular dress watch so I could wear it to work and on an everyday basis.

The A218 MP3 Watch fit the bill. Take a look:



As you can see, it looks like a regular watch. But, there is so much more to it. It serves as a flash drive, an MP3 player, an FM radio, and a voice recorder! I’ll never be bored again.

One of the most amazing things about this watch is the storage capacity. It has 2GB of storage built-in. That’s enough for 400-500 MP3s and any files you need to take with you.

I’ve had the watch for a couple of weeks which has given me enough time to review all of the features. Here are my opinions…

MP3 Player:

Positive
I have been very impressed with the sound quality on this player. Some people, like myself, will be able to tell a slight difference in the sound quality of this player versus an iPod. But, then again, that could simply be attributed to the earbuds that come with this MP3 player. I will discuss more on that subject later. But, the MP3 player is simple to use. It’s really the best feature on this watch.

Negative
I should point out that when you add songs to this player, it will play them in the order that you add them, and will only play them in that order. You can’t rearrange them once they are on there. This might be a drawback if you already have 100-200 songs on there, and you want to add a new song to play first. You will have to delete all of your music, and then add them back on in the correct order. This can be a hassle if you really care about the order of your music.

FM Radio:

Positive
It’s a nice idea, but…

Negative
You can’t expect much out of this radio. Depending on your location, you may pick up more stations than other locations. But, the internal antenna leaves a lot to be desired. I am only able to pick up 3 or 4 stations, and I am in a good location for radio reception. The stations you can pick up will come in very clearly. But, as I said, there are very few of those. The FM radio isn’t that impressive.

Flash Drive:

Positive
It’s a simple plug and play USB flash drive. If you have ever used a flash drive, you know the drill. There is nothing different here. Once the watch is plugged in, it acts as a separate drive. You can drag and drop files, create and organize folders, etc.

Negative
Nothing. It is a basic 2GB flash drive. Everything works as it should.

Voice Recorder:

Positive
This has been very surprising. When I originally saw this on eBay, the voice recorder was a main focus of the seller’s description of the watch. He marketed it as a “Spy Voice Recorder.” I guess that is true since you can’t see the microphone at all. I still can’t find it! But, I didn’t think I would actually use this recorder.

I was wrong. I love the voice recorder! It is so handy for keeping notes and reminders. I have already used it several times. The sound quality is very good. Even if you hold the watch 12-18 inches away from your mouth, the microphone will still pick up your voice clearly. I have even recorded in a loud environment where there was a lot of noise in the background. Listening to the note, I could barely hear the background noise. My voice came through clearly.

Negative
There are two negative aspects to the voice recorder, and neither of them are very important. First, since the watch has no outer speaker, you have to plug up the headphones to hear your notes. You can also listen to them through your computer. Once, you plug up the watch to your computer, and open up the folders, you will see a folder named “Mic.” This is the folder where all of your voice notes are stored. You can simply open them from there and listen to them through your computer speakers. It would be nice, though, to not have to do any of this or plug up headphones. A speaker could come in handy.

The second problem is that, in order to record a note, you have to start the watch, wait for it to start up, put it in “record” mode, then press the record button. All-in-all, it takes about 20 seconds and 3 button-presses to do all of this. One-touch recording would be preferable. But, like I said, it isn’t a big deal.

Equalizer:

The watch claims to have 5 equalizer settings, and even has a button labeled “EQ” (though this button also serves other functions). However, the differences in the Equalizer settings are so insignificant that you can’t really consider them an important function.

Size:

Positive
I specifically looked for an MP3 watch which didn’t look like an MP3 watch. That includes being the size of a normal watch. This one definitely is. It’s not too wide, and it fits well on my wrist. I guess my only slight complaint is…

Negative
It’s a little thicker than I thought it would be. Normal dress watches these days are ridiculously thin. It would be nice if this watch was equally as thin, but I suppose that is too much to ask for all of these features. The watch is about 5/8 inch thick, so it still can’t be defined as “bulky.” Also, once it is on my wrist, I hardly notice the thickness.

Ease of Use:

Positive
This is an interesting subject. Once you get the hang of it, all of the functions are very straightforward and easy to understand. The only problem is getting to the point where you understand how to use the watch.

Negative
The instructions that come with the watch are completely useless. The watch is made in China, so the instruction manual was originally written in Chinese. If you know anything about the language, you know that many things in Chinese don’t translate well into English. I am guess that the company used an automated translation system to print an “English” translation of the instructions. It’s really just random English words thrown together in a pseudo-sentence format. Like I said, the instructions are useless. You just have to play around with the watch, and figure out how everything works. I’m pretty good with just pressing random buttons, so I figured it out fairly quickly.

Data port/Headphone port:

This is an important topic, and something to consider before buying this item. As you can see in the picture below, the Data and Headphone port is on the side of the watch.



It is similar to the port on a 2nd Generation iPod shuffle due to the fact that it serves 2 different functions depending on the type of cable that is plugged into it. However, there is one crucial difference.

This is a 2.5mm port (Some people may refer to it as a 3/32 port). It will only accept a 2.5mm jack. iPods, CD players, and almost any other electronic device being made today use a 3.5mm (1/8) port. I’m not sure why the manufacturer did this, other than to save space. But, it creates a small problem. You cannot use your regular headphones with this watch. The watch comes with 2.5mm jack earbuds, and the quality of these earbuds is decent. Most people may be perfectly happy with them. But, for comfort reasons, I prefer to use rubber tipped earbuds. But, due to the 2.5mm port, I can’t use my regular earbuds. And, finding 2.5mm earbuds in retail stores is very difficult. If you want a different style of headphones, you may have to find them online.

This watch also comes with a USB data cable. One end is a male USB which plugs into your computer. The other end is a male 2.5mm jack which plugs into the watch. This cable is crucial to using the watch, but consider this. The cable is about 12 inches long. In order to use this watch as a flash drive, you have to carry this long cable everywhere. It’s not very convenient or portable.

This is a problem. But, I found the solution. You can read about it here.

Final Assessment:
Overall, I rate the A218 MP3 watch very positively. It is a purchase that is well worth the money. In fact, the price is probably the best part. I found this watch on eBay for $25. That includes shipping!

$25 for all of these features? It’s a fantastic deal!

(You can find the A218 on eBay listed as: 2GB SPY VOICE RECORDER FM FLASH DRIVE MP3 WATCH A218)


***UPDATE***
I have been asked to post pictures of the watch on my wrist, so that you can see how thick the watch really is. Never one to disappoint my readers, here you go:

(Click the image for a full-size view)

As you can see, it really isn't that thick. I have had it for several months now, and I never think about it. When it is on my wrist, it never feels bulky. I hope that helps!

21 Comments:

  • hey I like your review and your definitely right about finding reviews on products like this but before I go and buy one,does it actually function as a watch (tell the time in other words) :}

    By Blogger richard, At March 01, 2008 3:41 AM  

  • It's funny you should ask. After I wrote this unbelievably long review of the watch, I realized that I hadn't actually written a review of the WATCH feature! I figured no one would notice.

    Yes, the watch function works as it should. The only problem I see with it is the time adjustment knob on the side. It functions as most adjustment knobs do. You simply pull it out and turn it to change the time.

    However, I have noticed that the knob is sensative...a little too sensative. When I put my hand in my pocket, occasionally the knob will get pulled out very slightly and turn. This, of course, will change the time on the watch.

    I was noticing that, every now and then, the watch was off by about 2 minutes or so. I couldn't figure it out. Then one day I felt it catch on my pocket. That's when I discovered the issue.

    It's never a really big issue. I'm just more careful now when I put my hand in my pocket.

    Thanks for the comment!

    By Blogger dwsimms, At March 01, 2008 6:47 AM  

  • Thanks for the help.Just purchased mine off ebay.

    I suppose that if it goes froward by about 2 minutes you don't need to worry about being late to things.hehe

    By Blogger richard, At March 01, 2008 1:27 PM  

  • Let me know if you have any questions about it!

    By Blogger dwsimms, At March 01, 2008 5:21 PM  

  • Hey, the instructions really do suck, can you please post a quickie how-to for using the voice recorder please? thanks in advance, azriel

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At March 11, 2008 11:11 AM  

  • Sure, no problem. When you first turn on the watch the lights should start flashing. Once it is completely started up, the lights will freeze on whatever function it is set on.

    If all of the lights are blue, then it is set on the MP3 player. If the lights are all red, then it is set on the FM radio. If two of the lights are red but one is Green, then it is set on the voice recorder. (Make sure that the red and green lights are both showing. If only the green light is showing, then it is still trying to "boot up." This process may take a few seconds.)

    Once the green and red lights are showing, you are ready to begin. Hit the "EQ" button to start recording. Hit the same button to stop recording.

    To review the messages you have already recorded, you can hit the play button. The "FF" and "REW" buttons will function exactly as they do in MP3 mode. You can skip to the next message or go back to the previous one.

    I hope this helps. Let me know if you need more help!

    By Blogger dwsimms, At March 12, 2008 11:04 AM  

  • hey again I got my mp3 the other day and I have realised that when I'm listening to either MP3's or recorded files on my watch the 'EQ' button isn't an equaliser but its a repeat button.I press it once to 'save place' press 2nd time and it will play up to this point in a loop until I press it again and then it will continue the song.Does this happen with yours or is it just mine?

    By Blogger richard, At March 13, 2008 10:47 AM  

  • I noticed that with mine too. It took me a while to figure out what was going on, but here is the deal with that. The EQ button, when pressed will act as a repeat button. However, when you HOLD IT DOWN for a couple of seconds, then it acts like an Equalizer button.

    So, to change equalizer settings, just hold down the EQ button until you hear it change a bit. But, like I said in the review, the changes are kind of insignificant. You can tell a difference, but not much.

    I'm not sure why they programmed that button to function like this. Wait...yes I do. It's a Chinese product. Everything has to be twice as confusing as it should be.

    By Blogger dwsimms, At March 13, 2008 8:04 PM  

  • What's the battery like on this thing? It it long lasting / easily replacable? It looks really interesting I'm quite tempted by it!!

    By Blogger Joey, At May 28, 2008 4:12 AM  

  • Fortunately, the battery on this is rechargeable. Anytime that you plug it up via the USB cable, it will charge.

    I have had mine for a few months now, and I haven't had any trouble with the battery. If you had to replace it for some reason, I would imagine that it would be quite easy.

    By Blogger dwsimms, At May 28, 2008 7:33 AM  

  • any chance you could post a picture of how thick it is on your wrist? I'm thinking 5/8" is pretty thick!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At July 26, 2008 1:00 PM  

  • Does this device work with Windows Vista? It's not mentioned in the ebay ad, I've emailed two different sellers this question and neither one has replied.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At September 07, 2008 12:39 AM  

  • Yes, it does work with Vista. My computer at work runs on Vista, and I have transfered files on it several times.

    By Blogger dwsimms, At September 07, 2008 7:00 AM  

  • Can you help me please? i have this mp3 watch for 1 month now and the green light remains lit and nothing goes after. Can you help me please!?

    By Anonymous Ben, At October 16, 2008 6:46 PM  

  • I'm not really sure what the problem might be. Generally, the green light means that it is trying to boot up. If the green light never goes off, I assume that it is having problems booting up. It may just be defective.

    If you have only had it for one month, I would suggest contacting the seller. Sorry I can't be more help.

    By Blogger dwsimms, At October 17, 2008 7:41 AM  

  • I received this watch today, added three albums to try it and it worked fine for a couple of hours. But when I plugged it again in the computer to store some non-musical data on it, it stopped working. When pressing the "play" button, all three lights will go on for a fraction of a second and then nothing. I hope it is not beyond repair.

    By Blogger Nikhilesh, At November 08, 2008 1:28 PM  

  • Hmmm. I'm not sure what the problem might be, Nikhilesh. It sounds like a defective product. If you have only had it for a few days, I would suggest conacting the seller about an exchange.

    The only thing I can possibly think that you might try is resetting the watch. This is fairly easy to do. Power the watch on. Then, hold down the "Play" and "Rew" buttons at the same time. The lights should flash a few times, then shut down. That should reset the watch. Hopefully, that should fix it. If not, get in touch with the seller.

    By Blogger dwsimms, At November 08, 2008 5:58 PM  

  • It could not be reset, as I can't turn the watch on, and trying to will result in the result mentioned above. The same goes with charging, even when plugged, the charger will only display a red light. I tried plugging it on my computer, but it won't be recognised, as if it did not exist.

    I'm going to have a hard time finding the seller, as my dad got it in Shanghai.. :'(

    Thank you very much for your help


    PS : When I said "pressing the "play" button", I meant holding it for a few seconds to turn on the watch. I'm sorry for not being clear enough about that.

    By Blogger Nikhilesh, At November 08, 2008 11:50 PM  

  • Hi i hope its not too late but you could try and remove the non-music data and then try it again.

    I had that problem when i was using mine (now have an nano) but i cant remember if it was corrupt music or non music which it would stop on.

    By Blogger richardslife, At November 12, 2008 5:52 PM  

  • I have the same problem like Ben. The green light remains lit and nothing goes after.I can't even access files that I saved on the disk. I need the info I saved for exams this week-end. pleeease help me out. I have the watch for only a week. schreo Dinger

    By Anonymous schreo dinger, At November 24, 2008 8:32 AM  

  • What happens when you plug it up to your computer? Does the computer even recognize it?

    Have you tried resetting it? Hold down the "Play" and "Rew" buttons.

    Other than that, I would only have one suggestion.

    TRY THIS ONLY IF YOU ARE IN AN EMERGENCY. I CANNOT GUARANTEE WHAT WILL HAPPEN.

    Try removing the battery, then putting it back in. That might reset it.

    By Blogger dwsimms, At November 24, 2008 10:12 AM  

Post a Comment



<< Home