The Cube Crate Protective Case, as they call it, gives the cube a little protection against bumps and corner nudges. It stretches enough to be slipped on the cube. The round hole for the nav buttons cramp that area a bit. The edges of the rubber lined up to the edge of the button, making the outer buttons a bit harder to press. It makes my finger go closer to the center button and that results to accidental presses on the Play/Pause button. A minor setback I guess, in exchange for a little protection.
The voice recording and FM tuner recording is a nice addition. I havenít tried it yet so I donít know how the voice recording puts up. I donít see a mic hole so I would assume the reset button hole doubles as a mic hole. They really kept the device clean and simple. I guess that would help make the casing rigid, being small as it is already.
The program CD just has the Win98 drivers since Win98 doesnít natively support removable storage devices. It also has the firmware update software. I didnít touch the CD since my machine is using WinXP and the unit would be automatically detected once plugged in. Some people said they just copied the firmware file on the unit and powered it once to apply it so I think installing the firmware software could be skipped for now. However, by the time I would be flashing the firmware, Iíll use the included software. You can never be sure.
DAH-1500i and nano:
So why the DAH-1500i and not a iPod nano? Like I said, the DAH-1500iís features appealed to me more than the nano did. Sure the nano is a new iPod. Sure itís small. Sure it comes in sexy black. Sure it has a full color screen. Sure it holds up to 4GB or storage. All in all, the nano wasnít much of a good idea for me. For one, itís expensive. If I was to get one, Iíd get the 4GB. But thatís $250 up front. The DAH-1500i was $130 (via Wal-Martís online store, exclusively, for now). Even though it only holds 1GB, itís enough for me. I liked the FM tuner. It gives it another function in case I wanted to hear newer songs or my favorite morning show. I liked the removable storage device feature. I donít have a USB flash drive so this would be my portable storage. I liked the direct file transfer. I didnít want to be limited to proprietary software or any software for that fact, just to be able to put songs on my player. I liked the simple OLED display. Itís a small player. Why would I need to view pictures on there? It shows all the info I need, thatís enough. And most of all, I liked its cubed stature. I mean look at that thing, you just want to reach out and hold it for yourself.
All in all, the mobiBLU DAH-1500i is a decent player featured in a small package. Its shape and mere size says a lot about it already. All those features jam-packed in an inch of space. If you want to stand out from the iPod nation, this could be it. At least you can say it has a lot that an iPod nano doesnít. In the end anyway, to each their own.
An initial problem I have found is that the random feature didnít work properly. I have set the unit to RANDOM ALL, which would make it play the songs randomly, and repeat once all songs in the list are played. Songs played after the previous one was picked randomly. But if thereís a song playing and you press FF to go to the next song, it will go to the next song on the list. Tech support from mobiBLU said that wasnít supposed to happen, so obviously it was a problem. Iíve read on the mobiBLU site that this is a known issue. Although most people mentioned that the random mode problem was the opposite. NORMAL playback or sequential playback was running randomly. Resetting the device fixed the problem for me. Also, the first time I moved files into the unit, I had folder groups. I noticed that folders or files that start with a number, like 311, were not showing up on the list. Plugging the unit again in the USB port still shows the files in Explorer, but not on the unit. I did have a problem moving files into the unit as it was interrupted when it ran out of space. I guess the other files got corrupted on the file transfer. I then tried to move the files over without folders, and lessening the number of songs to accommodate the capacity and it worked fine after that. Maybe it was just the interrupted file transfer.
Iím concerned about how people say that the unit dies after a few days of non-use. That it wonít turn on even when it was left with a considerable charge. They also experienced problems with buttons not working properly, the unit suddenly turning off, etc. I noticed that most of them had to update the firmware. The current version on their site is 100.100.105. My unit came with that version already so I think mine is working much better than theirs, thinking the transition of versions messed the unit up. I donít know but mobiBLU has to fix a lot of problems for their next firmware versions. A lot of people have returned their faulty units. A lot complained about poor customer service, or lack thereof. I luckily didnít have that problem, as all my e-mails were promptly responded to. Iíll keep you up to date as to how my cube is after a while. Hopefully I wonít get those problems.
I wouldíve given the mobiBLU DAH-1500i a 9/10 score, but the out-of-the-box problems and known issues notched it down to an 8.