A review on iAudio U2 - my latest mp3 player

iAudio U2 is the new stylish and elegant compact flash based mp3 player from JetAudio.

It offers an interesting blend of easy operability with a multitude of interesting features which makes it one of the hits currently in the market.

The player measures only 73.8mm X 25.0mm X 18.0mm and weighs just 34 grams. It fits very snugly into your palm as can be seen in the picture.

iAudio U2 is my third mp3 player and clearly has been the best (Earlier I owned a flash based 64MB classic mp3 player and later a 4GB micro drive based creative MuVo^2). It can play MP3, WAV, WMA, OGG and ASF format files. It also consists of a FM-Receiver, Direct MP3 recording from FM, Line-in and in-built microphone. The player also features dynamic playlists, playlist navigation, sound effects, clock and lyrics support.

The iAudio U2 boasts a cool blue backlit 4 line 128x64 LCD display. Although initially the display might appear crammed, you will learn to appreciate the amount of details that are available and is quite easy to comprehend as well. It shows the folder, artist, album, track names, time elapsed/ remaining, current time, progress bar, file format info and it-rate info.

The features are controlled using 3 buttons. It has a record button (REC), Play/Pause button on the top side and a 5-way navigation rocker to the right of the LCD display. It also has a hold slider which prevents accidental operation of controls.

The rocker provides easy access to all the functionalities through a menu. It also enables access to the current playlist. The menu is neatly is organized and provides nice animation to improve the user WOW experience.

The player provides true, rich bass through 7 interesting sound controls (BBE, Mach3Bass, MP Enhance, 3D Surround, Pan, play speed and 5-band Equalizer). The effect is quite impressive even with the low quality cresyn-brand earphones that come with the box.

The FM is pretty good and scanned all the channels in my place. The FM Input can be directly recorded into MP3 with multiple bitrate options. Although one drawback is that the FM uses the earphone wire as an antenna. Hence the quality of the FM depends on the earphone length.

Recording from microphone is not up to the mark. One reason might be that the mic input needs to be placed very near to the sound source. The output mp3 volume will have to be spruced up with some mp3 post processing on the PC. Sometimes it also produces a clicking sound in between which will probably fixed by future firmware upgrades. But still it serves its purpose. The same goes for line-in recording also. It produces a continuous hissing sound.

There is a clock as well which keeps running even if the player is switched off. It has a sleep timer which can be used to switch off the player after a certain amount of time.

It also features a wakeup alarm that can be used to start playing music from a specific time. An interesting use of the alarm is to start FM recording at a specific time so that programs can be recorded automatically without manual intervention.

The PC connectivity is through 2.0 USB. There is mini-B port on the player with a nice cover on top. It also gets charged simultaneously while connected to the USB drive. The lithium-polymer in-built battery gets charged from nil to full within 2 hours and provides up to 15 to 20 hours of playback. The player gets recognized as a removable drive without any driver with Win2000. Particularly JetAudio has pleased Linux freaks like me by supporting the standard USB mass storage protocol. Hence the player can be used as a storage device with Linux and Mac without any hassle.

It also plays mp3 with lyrics. The lyrics will have to embedded into the mp3 using the LDB Manager. This differs from how the lyric is set for the JetAudio software that is bundled along with the installer CD. It would have been much better if the lyrics tag in the ID3v2 had been used. This might be a good item to fix in the future firmware upgrades.


The player easily slips into your pocket because of its small form factor (73.8mm X 25.0mm X 18.0mm) and weighs only 34 grams including the battery.

Menu is well designed to provide easy access to all the features and settings.

The 5-way rocker control is a clear winner for iAudio U2. It makes operations a snap with a single-handed control of all features.

The variety of audio effects which provide a rich bass sound differentiates the player from other similar players in the market.

Direct recording to mp3 with different bitrate options provides more recording time.

The display is well designed and appears very neat.

The player also has lyrics support which has to be separately added using LDB Manger software provided by JetAudio.

The cover provided with the box fits nicely with the player and prevents the display from getting scratches.

JetAudio gives Formware Upgrades regularly even adding new features. For example very recently ogg file support , play speed were all provided through firmware upgrades.


The earphones bundled with the box are shoddy. It is very awkwardly shaped and doesn’t fit well in ears at least for me. A pair of good earphones is a must.

The manual that comes with the box doesn’t explain all the features and some of them are left to the user to explore.

The installer CD doesn’t contain all the necessary software. For example the LDB Manager needed for creating lyrics and the JetLogo needed to create Logo will have to be downloaded from the iAudio website.

Setting up the Lyrics is a little awkward. JetAudio software uses Lyrics Maker whereas the iAudio mp3 players use LDB Manager. These 2 are incompatible with each other. Ideally the same method should have been used in both the software and the hardware players. But being a Software Engineer myself I can understand how product development works ;-).

A little pricey compared to other similar players in the market.

The in-built battery will have to be replaced after probably 2 to 3 years based on the usage.

The mic and line-in recording are not good and contain lot of noise.

1 comment:

coolkrishnan said...

Well written post !
Nice photos !