Touchscreen Controls Finicky, FM Radio Won't Pick Up Weak Stations
Reviewed in the United States on 26 October 2020
I bought this MP3 player to replace an old Sansa Clip+ MP3 player that has Rockbox installed. The Clip+ is at least 10 years old. While it works fine, its battery no longer holds a charge for more than a day or two,
Generally, I like to listen to the FM radio in the evening. It helps me fall asleep without disturbing my partner. I have Rockbox set so that when I turn on the player, it is automatically starts the Sleep Timer mode, and will turn itself off after 20 minutes. Generally, I listen to one of four radio stations that I like. The Clip+ receives all of them well. Two are full power stations, while the other two are low power stations (250 watts and 150 watts). The Clip+ has physical buttons so I can easily change stations without looking at the screen.
When it comes to the Mibao MP3 player, I was looking for a new MP3 player to replace my Clip+. It definitely has some good points. Having Bluetooth available is really nice. However, the Bluetooth seems to want exclusive control over audio devices. What I mean is that I have headsets that I can use both with my phone and my iPad. However, if I pair them with the Mibao player, they can no longer be used with either my phone or iPad. Instead, I need to pair them again with the phone and/or iPad or both, which releases them from the Mibao player. I'm not sure why that is.
Having the 32 GB available is also very nice. I do load the MP3 player with various podcasts and audiobooks to listen to while I am getting exercise. (My old Clip+ only had 2 GB, so that forced me to ration what I loaded on to it.)
However, the downsides with the Mibao come with the FM section, controls and user interface. The FM radio does receive the two stronger stations that I like to listen to, but the weaker stations are just not available. This radio is just not very sensitive compared to my old MP3 player. The controls are almost impossible to use by feel, so in order to change stations in the dark, I need to look at the screen. It is really, really easy to accidentally press the wrong control, because there are no physical indications of where you are in the control section. That is annoying.
The user interface is similar to those of other inexpensive MP3 players. (My partner has her own MP3 player. She has tried a number of inexpensive MP3 players, before finally deciding she could not stand the interfaces and buying a Sansa Clip Jam, so I have seen and tried the interfaces on other Chinese0=-made generic MP3 players sold under a variety of names.) Navigating the screen is not a big problem, but it could be nicer. For example, If I am listening to an audiobook, the player will allow me to resume from where I stopped. But to do that, I need to navigate to Music, then Last Played, and then the Play button. All that is easy to do when you are looking at the screen, but can't be done by feel. It would really be nice if there was an option to automatically start playing whatever was playing when the player was turned off.
The font on the screen is tiny, making it very difficult to read. It would be nice if there were an option to increase the font size. The screen brightness is adjustable, but not bright enough to read easily in sunlight when set at the highest level, and not as low as I would like when using the player in a dark room.
The clip on the back of the player is usable, but definitely not as nice as the clips that are hinged. Those are a lot easier to hook on to a belt or other clothing.
Finally, the Mibao does have a sleep timer, which is very important to me. To get to the sleep timer, you navigate to Set, then Sleep Timer, Set Sleep Timer, and then using the Left and Right arrows, pick a time between 1 and 99 minutes, and then press the Play button in the center of the controls. Again, not a difficult thing to do, but definitely impossible to do by feel. It would be nice to have an option to automatically set it on startup.