For a while now, the market’s been dry when it comes to portable media solutions. That could be because of the overpowering surge of Java mobile handsets that have hit the market. The handsets offer integrated multimedia in the same price range as an iPod or Cowon music player so why bother with a singular device when you get a Dual SIM mobile handset with a camera, music player and social networking. Nevertheless there are still those out there who do prefer to keep their media and mobile segregated and the Zebronics Zebmate 10 has been designed for those individuals. But as cheap as it is, is it worth it? Read on to find out.

Form Factor
Following the iPod Shuffle’s clip style design the Zebmate 10 is a highly portable and easy to carry device. Since it's so light at 12.5g, packing either 4 or 2 Gigs of internal space, the design allows you to just clip it anywhere while you’re listening to your tunes and when you’re done. It has a 3.5mm slot on the same side as the power switch and shuffle and repeat switcher. A mini USB port for PC connectivity and charging the device is located on the other side along with volume and skip keys. It’s not a bad looking mp3 player with its brushed metal like finish, but it does lack a little pizzazz. The bundled earphones are quite comfortable but the outer plastic coating can start to a bit painful after about an hour in yourears.

It’s a simple player that requires no audio conversion or transfer software of any kind to send files to the drive. Drag and drop your MP3’s or WMA Files and you’re good to go.

Audio quality is just average at best but the fact that it’s so basic and lacks any adjustable settings will leave you a little underwhelmed. The higher tones are just a little bit on the sharper end and the lack of an substantial bass doesn't quite make for an enjoyable experience. What you’ll end up with is a mediocre audio experience that you can easily live without.

The volume is loud enough to drown out the outside world but I really don’t recommend walking around with the volume peaked as the sharp tones will start seeping into your brain and become quite cumbersome after a short while. It's an even bigger issue with the earphones as peaking the volume would jarr the speakers producing a scratching sound.

Charging the device will take no more than an hour. According to the company the Zebmate 10 can dish out up to 10 hours of non-stop playback. That seemed like a reasonable expectation and in reality it managed to live up to that. It averaged in at 9 hours and 50 minutes. That’s not bad at all.

The Bottom Line
The Zebmate 10 carries a price tag of Rs. 1,200 for the 2GB model and Rs. 1,600 for 4GB. It may seem like you’re getting a good deal considering the price but don’t let that be the decision maker for you. There are other options which might require you to shell out a bit more, like the Samsung-YP-S2QB or the Cowon E2 but that would also include higher audio quality and a better battery life. That should one of the main features to consider before a purchase of a basic MP3 player.

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