New Panasonic DAP doubles as hands-free kit

Panasonic's D-snap SV-SD950N works as a hands-free kit but disappoints in its core function.

The latest in a long line of doomed-from-birth portable audio players from Panasonic Japan is a D-snap DAP that comes with Bluetooth and the ability to act as a mobile phone hands-free kit.

With an over-the-odds price tag of ¥25,000 (£109) the D-snap SV-SD950N has no internal memory at all, relying instead on its SD card slot - a 1GB card is bundled, which seems slightly mean these days.

Dedicated phone buttons

Bluetooth is used primarily to offload tunes to a compatible hi-fi component system, such as one of Panasonic's own, or one of the rare car stereos that use the wireless standard.

However, the use of the Bluetooth HFP profile also lets the D-snap answer and end phone calls on a compatible mobile, which is why it sports buttons dedicated to that very purpose. MP3 encoding is supported - albeit up to only 128Kbit/s - although it's not clear if that extends to recording phone calls.

Don't fill 'er up

Battery life is rated at a very respectable 60 hours maximum, which drops to 10 hours with Bluetooth on. Oddly, something called 'Ecology Charge' means the unit can be optionally charged to just 90 per cent of capacity in an effort to prolong the working lifetime of the battery.

Panasonic's inclusion of noise-cancelling headphones with a hands-free microphone halfway down the cord is nice, but it's still hard to see beyond the fact that this is an expensive audio player that happens to do other things that might not be all that relevant to most buyers at this end of the market.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.