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Appeared on: Sunday, February 11, 2007
SuperTalent MegaScreen

1. Introduction

SuperTalent recently introduced a new series of MP3 portable players based on flash memory.

Such devices are very popular with users because of their multi-purpose use. They can be used as a media player, audio recorder, fm radio receiver and as an external portable storage device.

SuperTalent's proposal for mobility users comes by the name "MegaScreen". The title should indicate something about the player. Indeed, this player has something that not many players have, a big coloured OLED screen.

In this review, we will examine the player's main features and its performance.

- Super Talent MegaScreen MP3 Player

The MegaScreen MP3 player comes in a choice of two colours, white or black.The design is very slim and sleek. It comes in various capacities, ranging from 512MB to 2GB, so you have the capability to make a choice depending on your needs, even though we feel that the 2GB version is a must for many hours of music playback.

The dimensions of the player are 87.0 mm x 42.0 mm x 9.0 mm. The basic functions are MP3 / WMA playback, FM receiver, voice recording, photo & video playback and of course as a USB stick.

- Features

• 262K full-color, active matrix OLED display, photo browser and music video player
• Supports USB 1.1 and USB 2.0
• Lithium Polymer (Li-Polymer) rechargeable battery (370mAh): 8-hour playing time
• FM radio and FM radio recording
• Built-in microphone for voice recording
• Supports lyrics
• Line_In real time recording

2. Retail package

SuperTalent provided us with the retail package of the MegaScreen MP3 Player (2GB). Its retail price is around ~US$70. The retail kit is small and well packaged.

After opening the package, we find the MP3 player in a book-like enclosure.

The retail package is complete. There is a Line-In male-to-male cable, a pair of earphones, a miniUSB-to-USB cable, two printed manuals in different languages and an 8cm CD-ROM with utilities and related software.

Moving on to the player itself, it is very small. The device has apart from the 262K OLED screen, several buttons that are used to control the basic functions of the player.

At the right side, there is the USB port for connecting with a PC, as well as a reset hole and microphone input.

3. Working with menus

To power up the player, hold down the play/stop button for a few seconds. The player will display the SuperTalent logo and then brings up the main menu. Here, you can set important features concerning playback mode, sound equalization, MP3 display (ID3 tags), time and other player settings and functions (recording properties, about, upgrade and format):

Pressing the hold/exit button, you enter the basic navigation menu. From here, you select what you want to do - listen to music, radio, record voice or from line-in, or see the photo album:

From the Music menu, you can view the directories found in the MP3 player. There are five folders, and each folder serves a different function, as you can understand from its name:

You can place MP3 files where you want. Just navigate to them and press the Menu button to start playback.

The MP3 Playback screen offers several bits of information, like the filename or ID3 tag, the file bitrate, equalization mode, repeat mode, and volume/battery information. Pressing the ">>" or "<<" buttons, you can move forwards and backwards, but the response is a little sluggish, and with big files can be a headache.

Pressing the record button, you enter directly into recording mode.

Listening to FM radio is also possible, and you can make a quick scan to find available stations.

Lastly, the SuperTalent MegaScreen player can play Videos and display Photos in a special format, with good colour.

4. Conversion Software

SuperTalent includes special software so that users can convert their Music, Video and Photo files to formats compatible with the MegaScreen MP3 player. NXPhoto is used to convert JPG and BMP photos to the MegaScreen format:

The procedure is simple. Select a photo file located somewhere on your PC, press the "Add" options and it is transferred to the MegaScreen MP3 Player, under Photos.

A more interesting application is NxvConverter, that can be used to convert Video files to the MegaScreen MP3 player format.

The software is very easy to use, even for inexperienced users. There are three levels of quality available, High, Middle and Low, with the corresponding impact on the video file size.

Looking at file sizes, for a 23min Xvid file with size 175MB, the converter produced a file of size 711MB at 128x128 resolution. That's rather poor compression. Furthermore, the converter couldn't produce a working file. We kept getting an error message. It maybe that our setup was not correct or perhaps the converter works better with MPEG files. In any case, we cannot say that our attempt to convert a video file to the Megascreen's format was a particular success.

5. Performance

First of all, this device is very small and slim. This is very good since, MP3 players are generally portable devices. The build quality is very good also. No complaints there. The OLED screen is very good, colours are rich and it's very bright. The resolution of 128x128 is not really the best for photos and video, but for this category of device and the price range, we shouldn't expect anything better.

If you've never used this type of device before, it takes a while to learn all the functions available. Before starting to use it, it's best take a look through the printed manual which explains in depth all the functions of the device.

The front control buttons are small so they could be a problem for those with large fingers. Again though, this is a very compact device. Plugging in the included earphones and raising the volume on our first musical selection gave us a pleasant surprise. The volume intensity can go from 1 to 25 and at 10, we could clearly feel the music pumping in our ears. Imagine then how loud it can get with the volume at 25. Be careful though, since you can damage your ears if you listen to music that's turned up too loud for long periods of time.

The ID3 tags and filename scroll on the screen. You can change the cycle speed from the menu. The equalizer modes are straight forward, and can provide a different type of sound depending on you preferences. One downside is that the fast back or fast forward buttons are not very responsive with very large files. We tested numerous MP3 and WMA files without a problem, including CBR and VBR.

The extra features such as voice recording and FM radio are nice treat. We played with them for a while and found them satisfactory. Lastly, the ability to display pictures and videos is interesting, provided that you convert your photos to the MegaScreen MP3 player format. The software that SuperTalent bulks in the retail package works, but needs improvements, especially for Video files. As we mentioned in a previous page, we had problems with the software when converting Xvid files.

In order to charge the device, you have to connect it to a USB port on a PC or MAC system. According to the specs, it takes 240 mins (4 hours) to fully charge and can last for up to 8 hours of use. This is not the best performance from the built-in Li-Polymer battery, but then again it is a small device and space is limited making it hard to accommodate a larger battery.

After connecting the device to a PC, we tested the USB stick performance, using HD Tach RW software.

The performance was rather slow. Only 1.0MB/sec reading and 0.8MB/sec writing performance. Not the best you can find nowadays.

6. Conclusion

SuperTalent a quality memory manufacturer, entered the MP3 player market with the MegaScreen series. The most noticeable feature is the "big" OLED colour screen that can not only display pictures but also Video files, provided that you convert them to a device-specific format. Overall, we were satisfied with the player's performance. It didn't produce any problems with playback of MP3 and WMA files, and with such large capacities as 2GB, will provide many hours of enjoyment and easy listening.

The player can record from the built-in microphone, line-in and FM radio. The recording quality can be set to one of three (high, middle, low). A useful feature! The built-in battery needs around 4 hours to fully charge and promises 8 hour of continuous playback. The player also has several energy saving features (screensaver, turn off after specific working time, etc). The OLED colour screen is very good, with rich colours and good brightness, even in daylight conditions.

The device can also function as a USB stick. Its reading and writing performance under Windows with USB2.0 interface was rather slow however.

Users can find the SuperTalent MegaScreen MP3 player with 2GB of built-in storage at the retail price of US$70 from various Internet stores. Overall, we believe it's a good device, with many features and is also very small. If you are looking for a new road warrior MP3 player, now you have a choice.

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