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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 7:39 pm 
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My review of the Nationite S:Flo2

Nationite S:Flo2 Review

The Nationite S:Flo2 is a little known music player from China. What attracts most people to this player (it certainly attracted me) is the technical specification. Dual Wolfson WM8740 chips like those in the Cambridge Audio Azur 640 CD player is not the sort of circuitry that you usually find in a portable media player. It would be interesting to compare a player with just one WM8740. I find DACs interesting, they all have different numbers and manufacturers are cagey about which ones are good and which are cheap and therefore the best. DACs are only one element (if a significant one) and a player can be compromised by other elements. For people like me with little knowledge of electronics I can only rely on what I hear through my headphones (Sennheiser HD555). This can be deceptive, as your ears and/or brain require a little time to adjust to a particular player. My previous player was a HDD Samsung YH-999. The S:Flo2 sounds less bassy with more detail and a little more clarity. They do in fact sound quite similar with my 192kb/s mp3s. The S:Flo2 has a fairly cold sound unlike some players that perhaps enhance harmonics in their DAC/pre-amp section. Balance seems good, as do the dynamics of the sound. Comparing this player to others I have owned I would say in terms of sound quality:

S:Flo2/Samsung YH-999/Cowon S9/Samsung YP-P3/Ipod Video 5G,Nano 1G/Ipod Touch 4G
In terms of user interface:
Ipod Touch 4G/Ipod Video 5G,Nano 1G/Samsung YP-P3/Samsung YH-999/ S:Flo2/Cowon S9

You might want to read my thread `Thoughts on the Nationite S:Flo2 user interface’. This player is definitely one for Hi-Fi headphones. Listening with earbuds you might well place the Cowon S9/Samsung YP-P3 at the front for sound quality. When listened through headphones these players lack bass and percussive amplification (compared with the S:Flo2) in order to achieve their long battery life. The Cowon S9 at 55 hours is a classic example of this. In the early days of mp3 players battery life was low because batteries weren’t as good but also because circuitry was more hi-fi orientated. Once mp3 players became widespread manufacturers concentrated on big increases in battery life and that meant sacrificing sound quality but as most users didn’t have hi-fi headphones this would give them far more usability. So today if you see a player with 8 hours battery life it is either a top end hi-fi player or a cheap low-grade player. Battery life for players I have owned:

S:Flo2=10hrs/Samsung YH-999=12hrs/Cowon S9=55hrs/Samsung YP-P3=30hrs/Ipod Video 5G,Nano 1G=12hrs/Ipod Touch 4G=40hrs

The S:Flo2 has quite a low battery life because it has a detailed mid-range as well as strong bass/percussive amplification. Naturally having 2 DAC’s reduces the playing time. This makes it more of an alternative to plugging into your Hi-Fi system than an outdoor/on the bus type of player. The player has quite a large battery that takes 5 or 6 hours to charge fully. These players are supplied with a mains charger (2 pin). There is a slight bug in that it says `charging complete’ flashing the whole time. These slight bugs unfortunately appear in many areas, some more examples are:

Screen goes to maximum brightness occasionally
Player goes haywire on switch on – acts by itself
Player forgets last song playing (when previously switched off) and randomly picks another
Pause/play symbols get mixed up
After playing an album it might start playing again (even if repeat is off)

Then there are some other characteristics you won’t find in an Iphone. The S:Flo2 lacks a certain amount of refinement. When you switch on you hear thuds and there is also noise when the backlight is on. Switching on involves holding the button down for a little while and nothing happens until the graphics appear. The physical layout of this player is not the way I would have arranged things. I prefer the headphone out at the top of the player and the volume controls at the right hand side in the form of a lever (like the Samsung YP-Z5). There are probably manufacturing/cost/convenience reasons for having things arranged in this way. A numerical indicator for the volume level would be useful. I find the S:Flo2 volume control too sensitive in the area I am usually listening. Another slight dislike that applies to numerous players is the following of Artist/Song/Album that Apple has always used. Why can’t things be ordered: Artist: Pink Floyd /Album: The Wall /Song: The Thin Ice - to mirror the directory structure. Options to change this to an alternative to the Apple format this would be useful. Another criticism is if you have paused a song and you then select back arrow the previous song starts to play. When a song is paused I would prefer to be able to use the arrow keys to navigate to a song and then press play. I have an idea that when music players are plugged into a PC there would be software that enables you to select preferences which alters the player’s behaviour via firmware. Some options might be:

Does the player continue to next album once finished playing Y/N
Forward/Back Arrow options
Hold function options
When I press music icon go to Last Played/Directory
Disable shuffle
Disable A-B facility

This kind of thing might enable a simplified (greyed out) interface based on the users choices. So a media player might have a highly complex interface that the user can then leave as is or change into a fairly complex or a simpler interface. This is an alternative player for people who want high quality with headphones (not earphones) and can accept a quirky interface. It’s not for the majority who want good sound quality and minimum inconvenience. More for people who encode at high bit rates and are interested in external amps and expensive headphones.

For:
Hi-Fi sound quality
Low price
Expandable storage
Durable/scratch resistant
Line out/Volume potentiometer
Charger supplied
No proprietary cable (micro USB)

Against:
User Interface needs rework
Many operational anomalies


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 7:46 pm 
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thanks - cam you paste words into the thread rather then a document please and then it will get more attention - cheers

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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 11:18 pm 
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+2 agreed with mad. who will be bothered to download it if people are using public computer(library..hotel..etc) or on the Tablet? Just a bad idea to be honest.

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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 11:38 pm 
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+3 post your review.


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 11:46 pm 
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i thought i had seen this before, you made a review of the sflo2 UI in the same format - no one replied to the thread, simply because if they download and read they become detached from the forums and either forget or cant be bothered to go back and comment, so to help users and get the best reaction and feedback its always best to not force people to download docs .. (ps - i did download your sflo ui review but never read it>>)

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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 11:55 pm 
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maderin1 wrote:
(ps - i did download your sflo ui review but never read it>>)

LOL!!! I'm not bothered to download at all, even I do. I'll never go read it and I'll forget anyway.

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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 12:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:32 pm
Posts: 27
Nationite S:Flo2 Review

The Nationite S:Flo2 is a little known music player from China. What attracts most people to this player (it certainly attracted me) is the technical specification. Dual Wolfson WM8740 chips like those in the Cambridge Audio Azur 640 CD player is not the sort of circuitry that you usually find in a portable media player. It would be interesting to compare a player with just one WM8740. I find DACs interesting, they all have different numbers and manufacturers are cagey about which ones are good and which are cheap and therefore the best. DACs are only one element (if a significant one) and a player can be compromised by other elements. For people like me with little knowledge of electronics I can only rely on what I hear through my headphones (Sennheiser HD555). This can be deceptive, as your ears and/or brain require a little time to adjust to a particular player. My previous player was a HDD Samsung YH-999. The S:Flo2 sounds less bassy with more detail and a little more clarity. They do in fact sound quite similar with my 192kb/s mp3s. The S:Flo2 has a fairly cold sound unlike some players that perhaps enhance harmonics in their DAC/pre-amp section. Balance seems good, as do the dynamics of the sound. Comparing this player to others I have owned I would say in terms of sound quality:

S:Flo2/Samsung YH-999/Cowon S9/Samsung YP-P3/Ipod Video 5G,Nano 1G/Ipod Touch 4G
In terms of user interface:
Ipod Touch 4G/Ipod Video 5G,Nano 1G/Samsung YP-P3/Samsung YH-999/ S:Flo2/Cowon S9

You might want to read my thread `Thoughts on the Nationite S:Flo2 user interface’. This player is definitely one for Hi-Fi headphones. Listening with earbuds you might well place the Cowon S9/Samsung YP-P3 at the front for sound quality. When listened through headphones these players lack bass and percussive amplification (compared with the S:Flo2) in order to achieve their long battery life. The Cowon S9 at 55 hours is a classic example of this. In the early days of mp3 players battery life was low because batteries weren’t as good but also because circuitry was more hi-fi orientated. Once mp3 players became widespread manufacturers concentrated on big increases in battery life and that meant sacrificing sound quality but as most users didn’t have hi-fi headphones this would give them far more usability. So today if you see a player with 8 hours battery life it is either a top end hi-fi player or a cheap low-grade player. Battery life for players I have owned:

S:Flo2=10hrs/Samsung YH-999=12hrs/Cowon S9=55hrs/Samsung YP-P3=30hrs/Ipod Video 5G,Nano 1G=12hrs/Ipod Touch 4G=40hrs

The S:Flo2 has quite a low battery life because it has a detailed mid-range as well as strong bass/percussive amplification. Naturally having 2 DAC’s reduces the playing time. This makes it more of an alternative to plugging into your Hi-Fi system than an outdoor/on the bus type of player. The player has quite a large battery that takes 5 or 6 hours to charge fully. These players are supplied with a mains charger (2 pin). There is a slight bug in that it says `charging complete’ flashing the whole time. These slight bugs unfortunately appear in many areas, some more examples are:

Screen goes to maximum brightness occasionally
Player goes haywire on switch on – acts by itself
Player forgets last song playing (when previously switched off) and randomly picks another
Pause/play symbols get mixed up
After playing an album it might start playing again (even if repeat is off)

Then there are some other characteristics you won’t find in an Iphone. The S:Flo2 lacks a certain amount of refinement. When you switch on you hear thuds and there is also noise when the backlight is on. Switching on involves holding the button down for a little while and nothing happens until the graphics appear. The physical layout of this player is not the way I would have arranged things. I prefer the headphone out at the top of the player and the volume controls at the right hand side in the form of a lever (like the Samsung YP-Z5). There are probably manufacturing/cost/convenience reasons for having things arranged in this way. A numerical indicator for the volume level would be useful. I find the S:Flo2 volume control too sensitive in the area I am usually listening. Another slight dislike that applies to numerous players is the following of Artist/Song/Album that Apple has always used. Why can’t things be ordered: Artist: Pink Floyd /Album: The Wall /Song: The Thin Ice - to mirror the directory structure. Options to change this to an alternative to the Apple format this would be useful. Another criticism is if you have paused a song and you then select back arrow the previous song starts to play. When a song is paused I would prefer to be able to use the arrow keys to navigate to a song and then press play. I have an idea that when music players are plugged into a PC there would be software that enables you to select preferences which alters the player’s behaviour via firmware. Some options might be:

Does the player continue to next album once finished playing Y/N
Forward/Back Arrow options
Hold function options
When I press music icon go to Last Played/Directory
Disable shuffle
Disable A-B facility

This kind of thing might enable a simplified (greyed out) interface based on the users choices. So a media player might have a highly complex interface that the user can then leave as is or change into a fairly complex or a simpler interface. This is an alternative player for people who want high quality with headphones (not earphones) and can accept a quirky interface. It’s not for the majority who want good sound quality and minimum inconvenience. More for people who encode at high bit rates and are interested in external amps and expensive headphones.

For:
Hi-Fi sound quality
Low price
Expandable storage
Durable/scratch resistant
Line out/Volume potentiometer
Charger supplied
No proprietary cable (micro USB)

Against:
User Interface needs rework
Many operational anomalies


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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 1:01 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:50 pm
Posts: 21140
many many thanks TNation - thats a whole chunk of better right there :) - gonna move it to first post though - cheers

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  • Fav App: Strava, IMDB, Jewels
  • Portable Audio: currently none
  • Headphones PC: Brainwavz HM5
-------------------------------------------------------------
  • MP4nation webstore: Here


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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 2:42 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:23 am
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Thanks for putting up the review. Now we can see what's all about the sflo:2.

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My Rig
My MIDnite mini review.
VX610 upgrade guide.


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PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 3:36 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:33 am
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Thanks for the review. I'd really like to see an updated version of the S:Flo2 with a better UI and file sorting. I think the chinese PMP market could use more music dedicated models.


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