Z-Cyber Macer 256MB MP3 Player Review
Z-Cyber isn’t a name you usually think of when you think of MP3 players. Apple is probably the most popular name to point to when referring to MP3 players, because its iPod is the trend right now. Z-Cyber is actually a company founded by Zoltrix, the maker of TV tuners, PCI cards, and other computer components. This company is based towards the European market. Today I will evaluate their MP3 offering, the Macer 256MB MP3 player.
“Z-Cyber is an established trademark founded by Zoltrix International Ltd., an acknowledged company in the computer industry for its expertise and decade of experience in both PC communication and multimedia technologies since 1989. Z-Cyber is dedicated to specially cater for the localized needs for European markets.”
The Z-Cyber Macer came to ModSynergy quickly and undamaged from Oxygenergy Electronics. They pack their products very nicely so there is always no harm to them during transit.
The plastic blister packaging looks very eye catching and displays the actual product on the front and shows the main features of the unit. The Macer package includes the 256MB MP3 player, FM radio attachment, a driver CD, USB extension cord, (1) AAA battery, a button cell for the FM radio unit, neck strap, and earphones.
The Macer measures 100mm (L) x 35mm (W) x 22mm (H) so it is relatively small, about the size of an irregular sized pen. The body is very light, leading one to suspect the build quality. The paint quality is not good and will chip away overtime with normal handling. Z-Cyber should have included some sort of protective casing with this MP3 player.
Frontal features of the MP3 player include a microphone located on the top left and the navigation buttons directly below it. To the right we see the LCD that is thankfully bright and easy to read having 7 different backlight colors. Unfortunately, this variety of backlight colors works against you since they change color as you you navigate through the menu. This effect is both distracting and quite cheesy.
The top of the player includes the hold function, record function and mode function.
Also at the top of the Macer you will find the battery compartment and headphone jack. I have to say that the battery compartment door was poorly designed. The door is too flimsy and will be easy to break because it hangs out by a plastic thread.
The Macer uses a single AAA battery and claims to have up to 10 hours of playback time.
Where is the volume control located? Oddly, the volume control is located on the FM radio receiver unit so you will most likely always need this unit attached to increase or decrease volume. The FM unit has an awkwardness of its own: it automatically receives an FM signal, but you have no idea of which station you are going to. The receiver has two mode buttons. One is for FM radio and the other is for “CD” playback but this MP3 player only plays MP3’s, not CD’s.
The included earphones are nothing to jump for joy about. These earphones are just simply made and have rubber on the outside of them. They have average sounding quality.
Working with the Macer
The Macer’s navigation takes a little bit of time to get used to. There is a fair amount of options inside the player such as an equalizer (EQ), presets, tempo, and replay. Unfortunately, the Macer does not allow you to customize the EQ because it only has preset EQ’s such as rock, pop, classical and so on. There is no way to tweak for more or less bass or treble, which I find really sad.
The overall sound quality from my time reviewing this MP3 player is is average. The sound isn’t as vibrant as an iAudio offering and it lacks bass and the live clarity. Every time you listen to a song, you really feel that something is missing. The sound sometimes feels flat or uninspiring. I feel that this type of MP3 player is acceptable for a person who isn’t an audiophile and just wants music they won’t listen closely to.
One of the nice things is that the Macer not only supports playing MP3’s but also WMA files thus prevents the end user from having to convert their current WMA files to MP3.
For the recording side of things, the Macer’s microphone recordings are good. The quality of recording is something anyone can listen to but it again isn’t as live or clear as an iAudio recording. There is background static noise that you will be able to hear in the recording.
One of the better things about the Macer is the ability to use this as a USB thumb drive. It automatically picks up in Windows XP and creates its own drive partition that you can find through “My Computer”. According to Windows XP, there was only 184MB available to be stored in this 256MB version partly due to some files being installed on the drive from the start. Z-Cyber claims this Macer to be USB2.0 but they don’t seem to state whether it is USB 2.0 Full-Speed (slower) or USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (faster). Regardless, I can tell you that it performs as USB 2.0 Full-Speed because it does not transfer files as fast as an DiskOnKey USB 2.0 Hi-Speed thumb drive, yet is faster than a JMTEK USB 1.1 drive.
Transferring MP3 or WMV files into the Macer is simple as drag and dropping it from your computer into the Macer’s music folder on the drive.
Driver CD + Manual
This driver CD doesn’t include any auto run feature so you have to go to the CD drive manually. The CD includes Adobe Acrobat Reader, drivers for the Mac and Windows 98, the software for the music player, a phonebook database for installing in the Macer, and the PDF version of the Macer’s manual. Some of the PDF’s are in Chinese so the manual is not terribly useful. The small phamplet manual included is very easy to understand and goes over how to operate and features of this MP3 player.
The Z-Cyber 256MB Macer MP3 player is an average MP3 player. It does what is advertised and does it while not being the best, it isn’t the worst MP3 player in the world either. This MP3 player would be a reasonable gift for family members, friends and children who are not into high sound quality.
Pros and Cons
I would like to thank Oxygenergy Electronics for making this MP3 player review possible.