capsule review

MobiBlu DAH-1500i

At a Glance
  • MobiBlu Mini 2GB MP3 Player - Blue (Internal Flash Drive, FM Tuner)

    TechHive Rating

    The tiny "Cube" is trendy, but it's so small that operating it is difficult and therefore not practical.

MobiBlu DAH-1500i
Photograph: Chris Manners

The novelty of the MobiBlu DAH-1500i is its shape and size. Also known as the "Cube," this MP3 player is so tiny you could pop it in your mouth; each side measures just 0.9-inch, and it weighs only 0.7 ounce. It will attract glances, but, more important, it performed well in PC World's new audio-quality tests, and it doesn't skimp on features: It receives FM radio, can record with its built-in microphone, and serves as a portable USB storage device.

Songs were easy to sort through and load; MP3 and WMA files from Windows XP or Macintosh computers can be copied to it through a USB 2.0 port. You can purchase songs from any online music store that uses Microsoft's digital rights management system.

The included earbuds weren't that impressive, but when I listened through a pair of Shure E3c earphones, the Cube recreated very low tones and high frequencies well. Overall, the player earned a Very Good for its audio quality, in part because of its impressive performance accurately recreating a wide variety of audio frequencies. However, in our tests, the device created more noise and distortion than most other players. In our test measuring how loud the player could get before adding 1 percent distortion--a commonly accepted threshold--the Cube earned the lowest score; its sound distorted at a lower volume than any other player.

You can tweak the Cube's sound with a manual equalizer, or you can use one of six presets for jazz, rock, classical, and so on. The radio function performed well. It sought FM radio stations digitally and furnished great surround-sound audio. It effortlessly recorded radio and added stations to a favorites list with the press of a button.

Though the Cube's menus are intuitive, I had to press buttons firmly to switch between tracks or change the volume. And because the menu button and the other control buttons are on opposite sides, it's easy to inadvertently press the wrong button while squeezing the Cube to make a selection. Also, the blue OLED screen is so small that it displays only three lines of information, and six characters across.

Static infused the FM radio reception as I listened deep inside my office, but even the best MP3 players with an FM radio tuner have the same issue. The Cube clocked between 6 and 7 hours on a single battery charge, falling short of the 8 to 10 hours advertised. Because it comes with only a USB charger, having to recharge it every few hours could get tiresome. You can buy a separate power-outlet charger from the company's Web site for $15, along with accessories like speakers and an armband.

Available in blue, silver, black, and pink, the Cube has features that could qualify it as a mainstream MP3 player. Its tiny size makes it well suited for exercising or other activities on the go. However, that small size also makes it difficult to use.

Agam Shah

This story, "MobiBlu DAH-1500i" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    The tiny "Cube" is trendy, but it's so small that operating it is difficult and therefore not practical.

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