In this review we’ll be taking a look at the Coby MP550 MP3 Player. This is a very low end, bare bones, clip-on MP3 player. Is it ideal for those times when you don’t want to take along a more expensive digital music player? Is the quality too poor for you even to consider it? How does it measure up? We’ll take a look at these questions and more.
Review Continued Below…
The Coby MP550 MP3 Player comes in both 1GB and 2GB sizes and in several different metallic colors (blue, red, silver and black). It’s very small (2.52 inches x 0.86 inches x 0.34 inches) and very lightweight The controls consist of a single joystick style control, a lock switch and a random play switch. The joystick allows you to play/pause, raise/lower volume and forward/previous tracks. It does not have a screen. The unit also comes with a pair of useless earbuds and a USB Type A to Micro-USB dongle. The Coby MP550 MP3 Player supports MP3’s and WMAs but not DRM or subscription WMA’s.
The Coby MP550 MP3 Player runs off of an integrated rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery. They say the battery life between recharges, done via the USB port, is about 5 hours. In practice, I found this to be quite optimistic. I’ve generally gotten about 2-3 hours from a charge. Essentially you can put more music on it than it can play on a single battery charge. I greatly prefer the 20 hour plus life I typically received from digital music players using standard AAA batteries.
Operationally, I found the Coby MP550 MP3 Player less than satisfying. The joystick control is a bit imprecise to operate, causing you to repeat or double up commands. The volume always goes to very low on each restart rather than retaining the previous setting. I suppose this is a hearing safety feature for headphone listening but it’s annoying when you’re plugging into an AUX port. The sound quality of the unit was adequate when plugged into a vehicle’s AUX port and through decent earphones. The lack of EQ adjustments didn’t do any favors for some tracks though.
I doubt the Coby MP550 MP3 Player would be very durable over the long term. However, given its price point, it would be good for a near throwaway player to take on outings where you didn’t want to risk a more expensive player. However, its lack of battery life may make it less than an ideal choice for this duty. If you’re willing to put up with these limitations and find a good price (I paid $12.99 for mine) the Coby MP550 MP3 Player isn’t a that bad of a choice although there are better, although slightly more expensive, options.