updated 01:35 pm EDT, Thu April 5, 2007
Panasonic D-Snap SD850N
Panasonic on Thursday claimed to have solved the problem of tight space on small players through its new D-Snap SD850N. Much as with the recently introduced Samsung UpStage, the SD850N has controls on its reverse face: users scroll and select using a touchpad on the back but control the songs themselves with touch buttons on the front. The front is also home to an active noise cancellation button that filters out 83 percent of outside sound with the included in-canal earbuds. FM radio is available for listening when AAC, MP3, and WMA playback runs dry.
More than just the controls are unique, the Japanese firm adds. Although it uses a lithium-ion battery, the new D-Snap promises an exceptional 60 hours of playback with noise cancellation turned on, and 80 hours turned off; an "echo charge" effect keeps the battery alive where others would fail and also doubles the expected lifetime of the battery to 1,000 full charges. Owners can also use line-in recording from compatible stereos (including Panasonic's new networked D-Dock PM770SD and NS550SD models) to capture audio directly in MP3 format.
Rather than sell different storage levels, the company's new audio player will sell for $168 using only a card slot: it's up to owners to load the SD850N with up to 8GB of music through SD or SDHC cards, Panasonic says. It ships in multiple colors with the accompanying D-Dock stereos on April 26th.