MP3 players are quite a proliferate item these days, and they vary quite a bit in their specifications and in some cases even their purpose. What's that? An MP3 player is an MP3 player, right? Well, yes and no. is aimed at a different market than your average MP3 player. The 150VM features not only MP3 playback but also Digital Voice Recording too, so if your job or hobby requires you to make a lot of notes then the 150VM has been designed with you in mind. With Voice Activated Recording but only 64mb of storage, does it actually do its job? Let's find out.
• 18-hour recording time
• Voice operated recording
• Includes iRock!® 100 Series Voice and Audio Manager software
• 64MB of memory built-in
• Five mode equalizer (MP3 Mode only)
• EL backlighting
• Time/date stamping
• Alarm clock function
• Includes 1 AAA battery, USB cable, earphones, CD-ROM and handstrap
• Processor: 8bit CISC Processor
• Digital Audio Standard Supported: G.729/MP3
• Built-in Memory: 64MB
• Software Included: iRock! 100 Series Voice & Audio Manager
• Operating Systems Supported: Windows 98/ 98SE/ ME/ 2000 PRO/ XP Home/ XP PRO
• Size: 1.5" x 4.2" x 0.6"
• Weight: 1.8 ounces
• USB Transfer Rate: Approx 500Kbps (10sec for 5MB typical)
• Battery Life with 1 AAA Battery: Voice Recording: 5 hrs; MP3: 7.5 hrs
• EQ [MP3 Mode Only]: Normal, Rock, Jazz, Classical and Bass Boost
• MP3 File Bitrates Supported: 32Kbps to 320Kbps
• Output Power: 2mW in MP3 Mode and 3.5mW in Voice Mode
• Output Frequency Range: 300 - 3300 Hz
• IBM compatible PC Windows® 98/98SE/Me/2000 Pro/XP Home/XP Pro
• Pentium 166MHz or higher
• 64MB available RAM (recommended)
• USB port Internet access (recommended)
• Sound card
• CD-ROM 4x or higher
Yep only 64mb of storage, but do try to keep in mind here that this isn't a dedicated MP3 player, although it will function in this manor. The 150VM is designed to be an all round device, providing voice recording, alarm/clock functions and the aforementioned MP3 playback.
Unlike the 860 I reviewed before, the 150VM comes in a more professional appearing box, but retains its listing of the important features. I personally prefer this to a plastic carton style packaging that can often be a hassle to get into; with a box you simply open it. This is in line with its intended market of those folks who need a voice recorder; the MP3 function just adds to its appeal. Inside the box, the 150VM is carefully presented to you in an insert display, with the rest of the contents below.
Note in the contents that iRock supply a battery which means that the 150VM package has everything you need out of the box. Like the 860, iRock once again include the high quality earbud style earphones, and whilst the 150VM has a jack for a microphone with one built in iRock does not include an external mic with the package. As you can see, the 150VM is smaller than a CD in size, which makes it ideal to put in a shirt pocket.
Starting our tour with the face of the unit we are presented with a circular display that when the unit is not in use will display the current time in 12hr Digital format. Below the display and just off centre to the right we find three flush sitting buttons, the first of which being the record button for use when in voice recording mode. Below are the two buttons for volume control. Above the display, we can see a red LED which will light to indicate the unit is recording.
Turning the unit over, we can see the battery compartment as well as a mini speaker. Just to note here that the speaker can only be used for listening to your voice recordings; MP3's will only play through the headphones.
The right hand side has the majority of controls for the device. Starting towards the bottom of the unit we have the display button which will cycle between the date, the time and back to your function display be it MP3 or Voice recording. Next to this is the A-B repeat button followed by the folder button. This button will cycle between the 4 folders you can use to record with. This allows you to save 4 separate recording areas so that you don't record over any you may have saved. Next is the fast forward/rewind rocker switch and menu buttons that are used for navigation and setup features. The final button is the Play/Pause button that also doubles up as the power button when held for longer than three seconds.
The left hand side has three buttons; starting towards the top we have the Hold switch. When this is slid into the hold position, all button presses are ignored, so you can be assured you won't accidentally press the wrong button when it's in your pocket or bag. Next is the mode button that will switch between MP3 Playback and Voice recording modes. To get back to Alarm/Clock you need to turn the unit 'off' via the Play/Pause button. The final button is the erase button which should be fairly explanatory to its function.
Moving to the top we can see from left to right the headphone jack, the inbuilt microphone and the microphone jack. As I commented earlier, iRock does not include an external microphone for use with the iRock, but as you can see one is built in and works rather well. The bottom of the 150VM has the tiny USB Connection protected by a rubber insert.