I finally got a chance to get to know my S:Flo more intimately than my initial "caught on camera simple introduction" to it when it first arrived tattered and exhausted from a long journey. I think it needed its space for a couple days after such a beat down!
What I have found is that the best way to truly get to know a player is on a long plane ride. This is exactly what I'm doing with the S:Flo. After getting a chance to rest, it was going to get the fair review it deserved from it's curious owner.
In fact I now write this review on the tail-end of a long journey in coach class. I sit 30,000 feet somewhere above Minnesota en route to Chicago from Seattle. Believe me, those are the moments where you have the time to really experiment and test its abilities and features.
I'll break up my grading of this player in to three categories. 1)Video quality. 2) Sound quality. 3) GUI/ease of use. I will rank each of these categories on a standard scale of 1-10, ten being the highest, best remarks possible, one being a piece of garbage.
Let me start first by the process of getting the S:Flo set up. Like all plug and play devices it was easy to install (or so I thought)! I had a very difficult time connecting the player to my computer. It took a good 15 minutes before I finally was able to get a connection. I came to the conclusion that this was largely due to what I believe is a faulty micro USB cord. Of course this led to me getting very frustrated that I couldn't even get the drivers installed properly off the S:Flo itself. However, I did manage to get JUST the right magic touch with the cord and got everything installed and connected. Once installed I was able to create the necessary folders for my music, videos, & pics. It was all really easy from there on out.
Video quality - 6.5
I am satisfied with the video quality largely due to the brilliant-ness of the screen. Despite the fact that the screen size isn't ideal for long movies, it's respectable for half hour shows. Actually, it could really benefit from a stand to prop it up. My biggest complaint, (and this qualified as a slightly moderate one) is that the viewing angle from the top down is quite limited and different from the other view angles for some reason. The other three viewing angles (bottom up, left to right, and right to left) are quite good.
Despite this, the brilliant nature of the screen translates to very nice quality viewings of photos, which is a plus and makes up for the viewing angle "thing". Also, another thing I'm slightly disappointed with are some issues with audio not syncing properly with some of the video files I watched. Please note that I didn't experience this with all videos, just some. This, hopefully, can and should be patched up with a firmware update.
Audio quality - 9
One really can't ask for anything more than what the S:Flo produces, sound-wise. I am very pleased with its output (especially in combination with my Creative ep-630 earphones)
I an extremely pleased with the quality of sound performance. This is in large part due to the 3D customizable eq settings. This makes a big difference from other comparable players - deep basses, crisp trebles, & rich ambient sounds & background instrumentation that made me whisper "wow" while in my 747 window seat as I listened to the new Coldplay song ''Viva la Vida"
GUI/ease of use - 10
Yes. I'm giving this a 10. Honestly. This is the most user-friendly user interface I've dealt with. Even though the touch interface is eerily similar to the Apple ipod touch, the ipod touch actually should be envious of the S:Flo rather than the other way around. The smoothness of menus, the cleanness of the lines, the intuitiveness, and ease of navigation (including customizing settings) make this my favorite player to show off to others.
The only problem I've had so far is the "Key lock timer" feature. I ended up locking the player and I just couldn't get it to "come back to me" for over 10 minutes all while in the midst of me quietly panicking to restore it! Honestly, I fully chalk this up to user stupidity as I am sure there's a simple method to unlock it, but until i actually read the instruction manual, I will stick to simply using the physical lock switch on the bottom of the player. (Note: I don't factor this in to the performance of the player.) Two other things I was impressed with: 1) mp3/Song recognition and sorting in the music menu is tremendous (and I know people have had trouble/glitches so far with their id3 tags, but not I); 2) the startup & shutdown animations are simply beautiful. They truly add to elegance of the player. The best part of this feature is that those animations were created by an Mp4nation user (maderin), making this player, in its own little way, part and parcel of the community it is so closely associated with.
As I now stare down at Madison, Wisconsin, pressure building on my eardrums, only 25 minutes until I reach my destination, I realize that I have to give the Nationite S:Flo an overall score. And I realize that it deserves a generous and respectable score.
By simply tabulating these three scores, I come up with what I consider to be a very strong score of 8.5 out of 10. This is really spot-on for the S:Flo. It's a great little player with little tweaks that can make it even better (yes, there's potential to be had). What it comes down to is that it makes me want to show it off to my friends and acquaintances, and random people in the coffee shop, and strangers on the plane.
My recommendation is - buy this player in confidence. Yes, there are some minor firmware glitches people have found (including the A/V syncing problem I encountered on some of my videos) but those always get ironed out in the end. The negatives of the S:Flo don't even come close to outweighing the immense amount of positives it possesses. This is one fine mp4 player!
My Music Player List:
Creative Zen Vision W (60gb)
Nationite OS-43 (16gb)
Chuwi M70+ (8gb)
Nationite S:Flo (8gb)
RAmos v80 (2gb)
In Memoriam of the "Optimus 1" - Lest we ne'er forget.http://brycewi.blogspot.com/