Recently on Amazon I saw a couple lightning deals that I thought would be interesting to look at on the website. One was the cheapest mechanical keyboard I have ever seen and the second was a lossless media player by AGPtek.
If you haven’t heard about APGtek I really couldn’t fault you for that. In the deep recesses of my mind I seem to think the name rings a bell but I still can’t reason out as to why. The company appears to be in a little bit of everything when it comes to technology.
They produce many different types of computer music accessories and today we look at one of the latter. MP3 players. Specifically audio players capable of playing back lossless style audio like FLAC.
Now I’d be the first one to tell you that I am not an audio snob but I do require a certain level, albeit a lower level than some, that the audio sounds good. The problem with audio is that it is really subjective. What I may like, Dan may not like. What he likes, Cynthia may not like and so on. So bear this all in mind as we take a look at AGPtek’s MP20 lossless audio player.
I was initially surprised by the box when it arrived. It’s one of the smallest gadget boxes I have ever seen but nicely done. The white face has a nice photo of the MP20 on it. The left, right, bottom and top are black with various writings on them like the AGPtek logo and what the MP20 can do. On of the listed features on the box is that they are always looking for feedback on how to improve their devices. Not sure if I would have listed that as a feature but kudos to AGPtek for making an effort to say they are always willing to improve.
Inside the box the first thing you see is the MP20 itself. More on that in a bit. Digging further in we find a USB to micro USB cable that’s about three feet in length, a pair of earbud style headphones with AGPtek logos on them and an honest-to-goodness manual in english amongst other languages. Maybe many of their devices are made in China but they certainly have roots in the US as their website states. I find it hard to get any manuals nowadays with anything made and shipped from China. If anything you get a piece of paper with a bunch of Chinese style characters and that’s it. The MP20’s manual while brief is very useful though to be honest I usually skip the manual and figure things out myself.
The MP20, besides sounding like some kind of high-powered rifle, is actually a small audio player akin to the original iPod nano though squatter and deeper. The frame is all metal around the edges and makes the MP20 feel heavier that you would have originally thought. I have to admit that the picture on the Amazon page sure made the device look bigger. The back plate is a sort of brushed aluminum looking plastic and the front has a small OLED black and white display and up, down, back track and forward track buttons. Below the back and forward track buttons you get a back button and a menu button. All of those buttons are touch sensitive. There is one tactile button along the button that serves as your enter button and play/pause. The left side has two individual round buttons for volume up and volume down. The right side of the MP20 has the hold switch and the power on/off/wake switch.
The physical buttons give a pleasing amount of feedback even for simple switches though the buttons feel almost sharp around the edges. In fact the metal frame feels the same way. As much as I love the design the MP20 is not something that would be comfortable holding in one’s hand for very long. It seems AGPtek thought about this though. Above the screen there is a slit in the frame allowing the installation of a lanyard of your choosing. Touche, AGPtek, touche.
The OLED screen is interesting. On the Amazon listing it gives a definite blue hue to the lettering on the display but it turns out that its a white text on black background display. This is fine for the most part but I think having a different colour like blue may make this display easier to read. That said the screen is really only an inch wide and maybe half an inch tall giving you three lines of text. The navigation of the unit is rather easy in theory but in practice it can get a bit tedious especially if you are looking for a specific track on the device to play. The player would benefit greatly from a search function.
Now, I don’t have any FLAC files to test for audio but I do have a relatively substantial iTunes library. Yes, the MP20 IS compatible with your non-protected M4A music files purchased from iTunes. They do not list this on their website or on the Amazon listing but I can confirm that they play flawlessly. It should be mentioned that the MP20 also has 8GB of internal storage and an extra micro SD card slot that is good for another 64GB of memory.
Audio quality on the device is akin to an older generation click-wheel iPod. Which means pretty great really. For the price of this device I am floored at the quality at all volume levels. It never once crackled or hissed at high levels on any track I played on my Sennheiser HD201 studio headphones. The lows are pronounced well but they don’t distort the mids or highs at any time. The included AGPtek headphones while adequate did have a few issues at higher volumes and I found them uncomfortable to wear.
I gotta say, audio players have come a long way. I’ve went from cassette player to cd player to iPod to cell phone to this MP20. The MP20 is incredible value at it’s regular 45 dollar Canadian price tag. It makes me wonder why we don’t hear more about this brand. If you are in the market for a new audio player and don’t want to use your cell phone take a serious look at the AGPtek MP20 or it’s siblings.