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Windows 7: comments on the IQQ L88 MP3 player

18 Aug 2015   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
comments on the IQQ L88 MP3 player

I know a lot of people just use their phones or tablets as MP3 players now and the market for solo players has dwindled, but I suppose there's still a market for separate players. The downside is, a lot of the cheap players you find on eBay tend to be less than acceptable. I found this one through lots of browsing and took a chance because it was $11 shipped via eBay.

The manufacturer product page and a page with more info, albeit all in Chinese. Plenty of photos though.

IQQ MID ????,?????
IQQ L7hifi high definition portable Lossless MP3 | Enthusiast music super long play | Lossless music player

The basics- Made by Chinese company IQQ. It comes packed in a small window box with cheap earbuds and USB cable. The minimal English on the package is fairly good though it's got some errors- the worst being that the literal translation of their Chinese slogan is "New line, new lice".

The player boasts a 1500mA/h battery and the official info claims 10 hours of play or 200 hours of standby on one charge, though I have not come close to testing that. It has an onboard 8GB flash chip and supports up to 64GB micro SD, or so the info says- more on that in a bit. Size is 9 x 3.5 x 1cm, so very small. Aside from MP3s it supports an FM radio, ebook and voice recorder. It's available in 5 colors.

The bad- I want to cover the flaws first, because this is a good player but it's not perfect.

* The volume buttons need to be held down for about 2 seconds to access the volume control menu, the navigate menus normally. This has been a common thing on players since Apple had it in the early iPod but it's a poor feature. I prefer hardware buttons.

* No instruction manual is provided. I suppose it's possible the booklet would've been in Chinese with a poorly-translated English section and the player isn't too hard to operate, beyond figuring out the volume control issue, but still, it would've been helpful.

* The screen is 23mm x 13mm. It's not too bad for displaying text but when text starts to scroll it becomes unreadable and the ebook function is useless, as it has been on every player that tries to shoehorn it in. Being so small, file names tend to get cut off so the player will scroll the name, but even those get cut off after so many characters.

* The tiny built-in speaker is barely audible even at full volume. This could've been left out in favor of room to add volume buttons.

* The back doesn't come off so if/when the Li-Ion battery finally goes bad, the player is useless. The back plate is also chromed so expect fingerprints all over the second you hold it.

* This has that old and outdated method of reading folders and files based on the order placed on the card. I really wish this would be replaced with a firmware that can read based on file name instead but it seems it won't go away anytime soon.

The good- Now the things I like about this player.

* File support. It boasts support of MP3, WMA, APE, FLAC, AAC and OGG Vorbis. FLAC support is picking up in MP3 players, mostly expensive models. OGG support, however, is very uncommon and this was a major point in favor of me buying this.

* Audio quality is very good. My benchmark is "does it sound as good as Winamp?" and yes, it does. Furthermore, the firmware and codecs are excellent- some cheap MP3 players have an issue of skipping over the beginning half-second of tracks if they either aren't recorded properly or if the player has bad firmware. This doesn't have that issue.

* Beyond the 8GB of onboard memory, it claims to support up to 64GB micro SD. I haven't tested that- 64GB is the SDXC format so I have no idea if this supports exFAT or not- the card may need to be formatted as FAT32 for all I know. But I have tested the player with a 16GB Sandisk Ultra and a 32GB Samsung EVO and files load and play without issue on both cards. The onboard seems to be genuine 8GB, though I don't know the brand, and comes preloaded with some sample files, and files play just fine off that as well.

* Build quality is sold for being so small. Buttons work well and the SD card pushes in flush.

* The menus are easy to navigate- prev/next works main navigation while the v+/v- goes back a menu even when music is playing(both buttons serve the same function in that regard- again, a case for having one extra button for that and leaving volume as hardware controls). Settings offer a few features such as backlight/standby(can be set to always on but will drain the battery faster), capping the maximum volume level(max is 31 but you can manually set the max lower) and other features. I would suggest disabling the small sound that plays when navigating the menus, it distorts music playback slightly. The player does support separate folders and subfolders- and if you're going to be packing a 32GB card full you'll want to sort your files.

* The FM radio actually works well and can be set manually. It can save 30 preset stations.

I can't comment on the recorder- I haven't tested it. I'd wager the small mic probably isn't going to be more than very basic though.

Overall- It's far from perfect. It needed just one extra button for menu navigation and proper hardware volume buttons to make me totally happy. The speaker is junk, the screen is small and the ebook feature doesn't amount to anything. On the plus side, it supports OGG Vorbis and FLAC, has good sound quality, the FM radio works well, appears to have good battery life, has good memory support and it's not hard to use, so for the $11 I paid it's acceptable until I can find something better.
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