The last Zebmate MP3 player that came out of Zebronics, i.e. the Zebmate 10, did not fare very well at all. This is the upgrade to that model, the Zebmate 20 that is loaded with plenty of features one usually looks for in a DAP (Digital Audio Player). But here’s a closer look at how those features actually functioned.

Form Factor
It’s a rather generic design as MP3 players go and weighs in at 21g which makes it easy to carry around. Then again that’s the same with all devices in this category. The Zebmate 20 comes with a multicolour 1-inch display that’s clear enough to read anytime anyplace. The navigation system is quite simple but I suggest you do a quick read of the manual just to get the sequences right. Volume keys and the power switch are located on one side with a 3.5mm earphone socket on the other side and a mini USB (2.0) port at the top. The funky colours do make the device quite attractive, not that that really matters. Initially I was a little surprised to find that a hold switch to lock the keys was missing but after using it for a day or so I realised it’s not really necessary at all.

Features and Performance
The UI is very simple and easy to navigate. The icons and information may be small but it’s all very legible. Sub menus and settings are well arranged and not hard to figures out where they are once you had a go with it for a couple of minutes.

The audio player works like a charm. The tones decently balanced although lean just a little towards the higher frequencies. With the help of the few EQ presets that are available the audio quality is boosted. Thanks to the comfortable earphones and high decibel level (which you’ll never be required to peak) you’ll be able to enjoy your tunes even in crowded areas. You can save music into specific folders like playlists making it very convenient. It reads MP3 and WMA formats just fine.

The device also comes with an FM radio that worked out quite well even though it did take quite a while to scan and save channels. It found 6 out of the 9 available stations on auto and the remaining three I had to manually locate. Still, reception quality in general was not bad at all in most places with a decent amount of pick up during my commute if I were next to a window.

A pleasant surprise is that the Zebmate 20 also comes equipped with a recording option for the radio in addition to the voice recorder function. If you’re in an area with good reception your recordings will obviously come out quite well. With the built-in voice recorder though, you’ll have to be within a 1 foot radius in order to get clarity. The Zebmate 20 also has an E-Book reader for .TXT files, but I don’t advice trying to read anything on the tiny display no matter how clear it may be.

The company claims 20 hours of battery life but that’s quite an exaggeration. The Zebmate 20 averaged in at about 14 hours tops, which is not something most people would complain about.

The Bottom Line
The Zebronics Zebmate 20 is available in two capacities 2GB and 4GB with price tags of Rs. 1,600 and Rs. 2,000 respectively. This model has quite a bit to offer users in terms of features and quality of the same and huge improvement over the previous model, the Zebmate 10. If you’re looking for a low budget DAP, the Zebmate 20 is a great choice.

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