capsule review

MobiBlu DHH-200

At a Glance

The DHH-200 ($190 as of 7/21/06) is one of the smallest hard-drive players we've seen: It weighs just 3 ounces and is less than half an inch thick. But the sound quality is middle of the road, and the video playback leaves something to be desired.

The DHH-200 earned roughly average scores for audio quality--adding up to a Good overall rating. In the PC World Test Center's new tests, the DHH-200's best showing was in the measurement of total harmonic distortion, which the DHH-200 exhibited less of than most other players we tested. However, the player's signal-to-noise ratio was substantially lower than that of many other players. The included earbuds produced reasonable fidelity, but they are on the large side, and they lack sufficient bass response. The FM radio also performed well, having no problem picking out signals that some other portable devices struggled to receive. You can record directly to the player's 8GB hard drive from either the FM radio or the line input.

The DHH-200's controls are reasonably easy to use, but handling the volume scroll wheel is a little awkward; my thumb kept slipping from the dial when I used the player one-handed. The on-screen menus are well designed and easy to read, though some options are a little buried: To get to the shuffle-mode setting, for instance, you have to hold down the navigation button, go into play mode and then select Shuffle All from the menu. In my informal tests, the battery life was an impressive 12 hours; the battery charges over the USB cable, so while you're traveling you needn't take another power adapter as long as you bring a laptop.

The 1.8-inch LCD is bright, with accurate color--but it's too small. You wouldn't want to view anything on it for more than a few minutes. Most other players we tested have a roughly 2.5-inch screen. Plus, the player refused to play back video or photo files in any format other than MobiBlu's proprietary PIX format, and we found the video and audio quality of these files lacking: The video looked jerky and the audio sounded gritty and unpleasant, even at the highest quality setting. Photos looked adequate, but again, the screen is too small for comfortable viewing, and there is no video output. Software to convert video files to the PIX format is included, but it's pretty basic. It performs the conversion (and can convert a batch of files), but you then must copy the files to the player yourself.

The DHH-200 is a decent audio device that balances portability and capacity, but its video capabilities are lackluster.

Richard Baguley

This story, "MobiBlu DHH-200" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
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