Amidst much fanfare of embellished ‘i’ devices, the audio arena has welcomed several new emerging players. One such company is Zebronics and we recently got to lay our hands of a couple of its audio products. We have earlier seen its Cinema 3.0 media player which evidently failed to create ripples. However, the next in our tow is one of the newest Zebmate that touts to offer a battery life of 75 hours. The company has marketed the device with this highlighting features and has also gone ahead and named it the Zebmate 75. As this next Zebronics device zealously enters our review labs, we bring to you a detailed analysis of the device.
As one may evidently recognize a Razer box, we have now come in terms with the typical Zebronics packaging. A colorful box with a transparent window on the top was cut to let us peep into the device. The box had one side open to pull out the prominent zebra striped inner box. Just like the packaging that carries the Cinema 3.0, this one also opened as a book. On side shows off the device while the other is spacious to hold a USB cable, charger, neck strap, earphones and a velvet pouch.
At a glance, the Zebronics Zebmate 75 looked like a USB stick, although a tad thicker and wider. The simple design isn’t something to awe about but the size and its lightweight surely comes across as a plus point. The front surface along with a very small portion of its sides is white while the rest of the device is painted in blue. Girls who strongly believe in ‘blue is for boys’ can pick the other color option offered by Zebronics in the form of red.
Those who have been cribbing over why shuffle does not come with a small screen would be glad to see the Zebmate 75 make it to at least 1-inch CSTN color display. However, we wonder why Zebmate did not utilize the free space on the surface for a larger screen. Now, we aren’t comparing it to Shuffle and also remember you get what you pay for. Moving further, just below the screen is the Zebronics logo while above the screen the product name has been printed. Though these logos are sketched placing the device in the vertical position, the device screen is oriented in the horizontal direction for readability. Keeping this in view, we can say that to the right of the screen is a metallic circular navigation button marked with volume controls, forward and rewind on the circle while Mode button at the centre.
The right side takes on the mini USB port while the left has a slot for a wrist strap. The top edge has been embedded with a Hold switch, repeat button and play/pause button. On the lower edge, a minute reset slot has been carved, allowing users to reset the device using a pin or other pointed objects. At 26 grams, the device measures 70.5 x 28.5 x 12.6 mm and could easily slide into pockets and purses. Apart from its metallic control buttons, the device goes all plasticky but with a rubberized texture. It does appear to be sturdy and the backside of the device reveals its 4GB memory capacity with some more scribbling from the company.
The interface is simple (as expected) while the screen comes across dull to some extent. It shows options like Now Playing, Record, FM, FM Transmitter, eBook, Resource Manager and Settings. Though the interface is simple, getting used to navigation controls did take time. So initially, it is advisable to run through the user manual for all navigation controls pertaining to short and long presses. The play/pause also serves to power the device.
While using the player, we required the manual due to the aforesaid short and long presses to get to the desired folder or file. This audio device’s highlight is its 75 hours music so we filled it to the brim with all our favorite music, recorded some clips and listened to the FM. Well, it did manage to run a long way but was exhausted of all its juice almost two and half hours before reaching the 75 hour mark.
Talking about its most important aspect, sound delivery, here we were left with an average listening experience. The seven preset equalizers and the Play mode couldn’t help much either. An audiophile could be displeased with the bass and treble. The listening experience is simply average and the device has nothing out-of-the-box to deliver. The included earphones enable a good fit for longer listening hours. However, this doesn’t help enhance the audio quality either.
Although the device tags along the term Unique with its name, we didn’t really find its design distinguishable but the simplicity, sturdiness and convenience brought out by its appearance does put the device into the well designed lot.
The sleek and extremely lightweight device can easily slip into pockets and purses.
The Zebra striped packaging bundles up decent earphones.
The battery life nearing 75 hours is appreciable, making it a good companion while traveling.
The device comes with an alluring price tag.
Though the interface is simple, we wish the controls had a similar story. We did take some time to get used to the long and short presses of buttons for swift navigation. Moreover, the circular navigation button was slightly hard to press.
The company should have elevated the audio quality.
For the price point at which Zebronics offers the Zebmate 75, it seems a decent device. The key feature is the lengthened battery life that makes it a good travel companion but the audio experience could have been better. Overall, it seems a fairly fine deal. The Zebmate 75 has garnered a rating of 7 on a scale of 10. It can be procured at a price of Rs.1999.