Unsolicited Testimonial: Evolution Neckphone MP3 Player

| 3 Comments

Cords hate me. Headphone cords, keyboard/mouse cables, all that stuff; they hate me and they try to do me harm. I tried to run with a walkman once, and I ended up snagging the headphone cord, breaking the walkman AND the headphones, and hurting myself in in the process.

In order to listen to music while running without being a danger to myself or those around me, I needed a headset MP3 player. I got the Evolution Neckphone 32MB, which is a combined MP3 player / FM radio. It fills the bill VERY well; the sound quality of the MP3 player is acceptable and it's not too heavy on the ears. I haven't gotten the FM radio to work worth a fig yet, but with the MP3 player, I don't really care. And I've never had any problem with the included MMC Toaster under Windows XP, even without updating the driver. I've only tried MMC cards of 64MB or smaller, but I've heard that 128MB cards work fine too.

Sure, there are some things I don't like - the volume doesn't go up real loud, your only navigation option is 'skip to the next track,' there's no pause, etc., but you're bound to make some tradeoffs if you're only paying $45 for the thing (on eBay, including a 32MB MMC). The only other item of note is that after a year and a half of several-times-per-week usage in a high-sweat environment, the volume doesn't always change when I turn the dial.

But the reason I'm writing this review is because I recently put the thing through the washer AND the dryer. Everything came out in the washer - both batteries, both compartment covers, and the MMC card; the four wires that connect the earpieces came out of their groove in the back of the neckband. I let the player dry out for three days, tucked the wires back into place, replaced all shed parts, said a brief prayer, and fired it up.

It worked perfectly.

3 Comments

ROFL!

I'll bet the volume control works better, too. You've just learned one of the better-kept Secrets of the Bull Nerd.

Submersion in water used to be a disaster for electronic things, and sea water still is, because the ions in the contaminants migrate around and cause shorts. But nowadays, with environmental laws and regulations, at several points in their manufacture electronic gizmos are washed. In hot water. With detergent. The components are built to take it.

The only issue is speaker diaphragms, and cheap stuff doesn't have paper speakers any more. The diaphragms are all plastic, and just as immune to water as the rest of it. (The force of a direct spray can break them, but just wetting won't hurt them at all.)

Submersion isn't too wonderful a thing, and you do have to let it dry properly before using. Oh, and things with moving parts -- tape and CD players, especially, and anything with a fan in it -- are lubricated in important places you can't get to without taking it farther apart than non-experts should, and a thorough washing will destroy that. So don't put your CD player in the wash, OK?

But no-moving-parts stuff -- keyboards, MP3 players, motherboards, that kind of thing -- will actually benefit from an occasional thorough washing. The dishwasher is best, because it has the dry cycle afterwards (tumble dryers can do mechanical damage.) Take the batteries out to be safe, remove any movable covers, etc., and put the thing in the diswasher, by itself (no food residue allowed.) It'll be the better for it.

Cell phones are a special case because of the display, which may be a bit delicate. Just make sure the spray doesn't hit the display directly. And digital cameras have hollow spaces inside, and wash residue on the sensor will make weird pictures. Even cameras can be cleaned that way, though, if you're prepared to take it apart and clean the sensor off afterwards with, e.g., Windex and a soft cloth.

Regards,
Ric Locke

I kinda knew some of that (I figured as long as none of the wires got torn loose and the diapragms weren't damaged, I had a decent chance of having it work again as long as I gave it enough time to dry), but I didn't know about the plastic diaphragms.

And yes, the volume control worked fine for about ten workouts before it went back to its old tricks. Although maybe it's just me - the volume controls on my car stereo and my home stereo all behave in a similar fashion.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on October 12, 2004 9:57 PM.

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