We expected the Transcend T.sonic 630 to struggle against big-name players, but Transcend’s three-pronged, advanced digital recording attack, and a cheap price tag was its safeguard. There’s a line-in port for external devices, while one-touch - even when switched off - internal (radio) and external (voice) microphones can be scheduled for use in personal or meeting environments. Voice activation detection ensures quality, gapless, recordings.

We liked the Transcend T.sonic 630’s ability to password-protect a partition for data storage, as well as its lock function when connected to a PC. Unfortunately, these pros are compatible with Windows PCs only.

You can drag-and-drop files in USB mode, while subscription tracks are transferred in MTP mode. You then have all the usual playback options, as well as an EQ with seven presets, an A-B repeat function, and a choice of playback speeds. Volume let the side down, however: at its lowest, it’s quite loud; at its highest, it isn’t enough to annoy fellow commuters.

Build quality is decent, and though awkward to hold in the left hand, the Transcend T.sonic 630’s tiny dimensions, light weight, and easily accessible lock make it a great contender for pocket perfection. It’s a pity Transcend didn’t bundle a protective case for the T.sonic 630, though scratches show up less than on other models here.

The text screen is visible from all angles and we were impressed with the detail displayed, which includes world time and lyrics. There’s a selection of screensavers available or, if you’re worried about battery life - at almost 17 hours playback there’s little need, but Transcend’s T.sonic 630 requires a minimum 10 percent charge for recording - use the sleep mode.

The Transcend T.sonic 630’s interface is easy to follow, albeit with only four lines of text. Our main niggle concerns the dual function of the record button, which is often over-sensitive. One touch in FM mode selects one of 20 presets, but hold it too long and you’re recording radio. We’re more irritated by the playlists, that we’d never have understood without the manual.

Transcend T.sonic 630: Specs

  • 4GB digital audio player
  • works with Windows 98/98 SE/Me/2000/XP, Mac OS X, Linux 2.4
  • supports MP3, WMA, WMA-DRM10
  • records in ADPCM (WAV)
  • line-in, internal (radio) and external (voice) scheduled recording
  • FM tuner with 20 presets
  • MTP device
  • password-protect secure partition for data storage (Windows only)
  • 1x0.5in Brilliant, white Oled text display
  • screensaver
  • 1support for 12 languages
  • EQ with 6 presets, plus 1 user defined
  • lithium-ion rechargeable battery, quoted life 15 hours
  • package includes earphones, neckstrap, software CD (Windows only), mini-USB cable, line-in cable
  • USB 2.0
  • 73x33x12.5mm
  • 30g
  • 2-year warranty
  • 4GB digital audio player
  • works with Windows 98/98 SE/Me/2000/XP, Mac OS X, Linux 2.4
  • supports MP3, WMA, WMA-DRM10
  • records in ADPCM (WAV)
  • line-in, internal (radio) and external (voice) scheduled recording
  • FM tuner with 20 presets
  • MTP device
  • password-protect secure partition for data storage (Windows only)
  • 1x0.5in Brilliant, white Oled text display
  • screensaver
  • 1support for 12 languages
  • EQ with 6 presets, plus 1 user defined
  • lithium-ion rechargeable battery, quoted life 15 hours
  • package includes earphones, neckstrap, software CD (Windows only), mini-USB cable, line-in cable
  • USB 2.0
  • 73x33x12.5mm
  • 30g
  • 2-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

The Transcend T.sonic 630 packs some impressive features considering its tiny price. Transcend’s T.sonic 630 looks a little outdated when compared to players that offer colour screens and video or photo playback (see our review of the Creative Zen V Plus, or the Sandisk Sansa e280), but if these gimicks aren’t important to you then you could do a lot worse.

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