With the MP-130 Mirror (256MB, £149), Jens of Sweden continues to make a fashion statement in the realm of stylish MP3 players. And not only does it look smashing, it's a great little device packed with features.
Weighing approximately 42g and measuring 80 by 31 by 15mm, the MP-130 is roughly the size of a packet of chewing gum and arrives packaged in a silver cylinder along with a headset, a retractable USB extender cable, and a line-in cable for connecting to external audio devices. The MP-130 is dubbed the Mirror due to its highly polished translucent front bezel, behind which sits a two-colour (orange and blue) OLED display that shows song titles, clock settings, FM radio stations and menu screens.
The top and bottom of the unit are finished in polished chrome, as are the four function buttons (play, select, record, and hold) on the side and the four-way rocker switch on the front, while the rest is finished off in glossy black. On the rear of the device is a small panel that slides up to reveal a hinged USB dongle that folds out for connecting directly to a PC.
Other physical attributes include a tiny microphone built in to the front bezel for voice recording, and two jacks (headphone and line-in) are located on top of the unit. Our MP-130 contained 256MB of memory, but Jens of Sweden offers 128MB and 512MB versions as well.
You use the rocker switch to access and scroll through the various menu screens, which include mode selection (music, voice, radio, encoding); display settings; an equaliser with five presets, bass enhancers and a master mode for custom sound; and a control panel for setting time/date and alarms. Unfortunately, no user manual is included in the box, so navigating through the menus takes some getting used to and can be confusing. Still, playing tunes and recording voice memos is as easy as pressing a button.
Having the ability to manually tweak equaliser settings is a plus, and the presets are handy too. We only wish the earbud headset was of better quality -- while the sound is decent at low to midrange volume, it becomes somewhat distorted once you really crank it up. The headset is outfitted with a retaining clip that attaches to the player, allowing you to wear the MP-130 around your neck while keeping the earbuds in place. Switching out these 'phones for a better set is a must, as the player sounds great through a decent pair. In FM radio mode, the MP-130 held a strong signal both indoors and outdoors.
The MP-130 is powered by an internal lithium-ion battery that recharges when plugged into an active USB port (the PC must be powered on). We managed to get 10.5 hours of play time out of a fully charged battery -- a bit less than average for the type of cell and size of the player. Unfortunately, the MP-130 is a USB 1.1 device, which means painfully slow file transfers. Times recorded by CNET Labs averaged 0.54MB per second.
Edited by Jasmine France
Additional editing by Nick Hide