Ambitious Transcend aiming for iPod nano

Transcend's T.sonic player looks great but is it enough?

With an organic LED display, a voice recorder and sculpted good looks, the Transcend T.sonic 820 has plenty going for it.

The portable audio player market is a crowded one for sure, with firms new to the market facing particularly long odds against securing just a tiny share of the riches on offer. Even with that in mind, memory specialist Transcend has chosen now to join the fray in Japan with its T.sonic 820 flash-memory digital audio player (DAP).

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From the end of February Japanese shoppers will be able to pick up the attractive new player in either 2GB or 4GB configurations for JPY16,800 (£70.40) and JPY22,800 (£95.60) respectively.

Apart from the ability to display JPEG and BMP images, audio support is limited to MP3, WMA (including DRM10 and WAV formats), which is a bit skimpy. For what it's worth, comparable iPod nanos cost slightly more and weigh slightly less, at just 40g.

Apart from the fresh good looks of the 45g upstart, there's a 1.5-inch OLED display, a voice-recording function and an FM tuner. Battery life is rated at 15 hours and the fact that it operates as a USB mass-storage device means there's no need to be tied to particular music-library software. Still, we won't hold our breath waiting for Transcend to ascend to the digital music player throne just yet. J. Mark Lytle