MSI Mega Stick 1 - The Mini Wonder

by Andrew Ku on 11/12/2003 10:50 PM EST


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  • duxxyuk - Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - link

    Nice detailed review.
    Like others here I would like to point out that there is the iBead 100 and 200 models made in Asia and notably imported into europe by JENS of Sweden and ISM of France.

    The iBead is almost identical to this unit with the addition of an integrated 14 hour Li-ion battery that recharges off the USB. Also it can read its own .wav recordings and it has up to 20 FM radio stations with an auto scan and save function perfect for the frequent traveller who likes to have the main local radio stations preset on arrival into a new city.

    It remains yet to be seen if the MSI MegaStick will be competitive against the already extablished iBead and Creative MuVo devices. that depends on its price, availability and support.
  • gemere - Saturday, January 31, 2004 - link

    The new 256MB version has just come out but for some reason MSI have done away with the cool white and gone for ametallic blue. Even worse they have replaced the neat headphone unti. It now come with a separate metal neckchain which is better BUT the heaphones are now completeley rubbish. No longer in ear they are totally lacking in bass response making the unit sound like a cheap transistor radio! Reply
  • aryaraj - Saturday, January 03, 2004 - link

    I've just got my MSI megastick from
    It sound good...wasn't able to delete my Voice files, w/o conn. to PC.
    Overalla great small as advertised..and the sound quality is impressive. U cud do with better earphones..but wht the heck..for this price its more than value for money.
  • BJako - Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - link

    I got today Megastick 1 with firmware 2.02 and upgraded it to 2.04. I love it.
    But bad feature is that you can't use it as USB memory stick without loaded battery - but you can disconnect battery after connecting it to USB port. That's very odd, no memory stick doesn't need battery...
  • JKPCHelp - Monday, December 15, 2003 - link

    Anyone have an idea when the Limited Edition versions are going to be available? Thanks Reply
  • JKPCHelp - Monday, December 15, 2003 - link

  • darcon3k - Saturday, November 29, 2003 - link

    Just got a megastick1 from newegg which came with firmware 2.02.
    I tried the voice recording and wav playback works !!! Same with FM recordings.

    I love that it uses a AAA battery instead of a builtin hard to replace rechargeable. I use rayovac's new 15min rechargeable batteries which last about 11-12 hours and recharge in 15 minutes =D I feel sorry for people with ipods and its unreplaceable battery, for more info on that check out
  • Z3mr2 - Wednesday, November 26, 2003 - link

    There is also another company called NAPA that has been in the MP3 Market for a while, and is not metioned here. There model is very similar and is definitely a worth taking a look at because of it's price.

    The Napa PA12FM is an MP3 player, Data Storage, Voice Recorder, Voice Playback, Digital FM Tuner unit that also has an External Memory Slot for SD or MMC, Which gives this unit alot more funtion posibilities by just switching the Memory.

    Although the Internal memory is only 64MB. You can expand the memory (Up to 1GB)or switch memory cards in an instant.

    Total Price of the Unit with additional 64MB SD card (Totaling 128MB) is only $79.00. If you go with the 128MB Card, it's only 98.00!!! Still cheaper than many other similar products in the market.

    Here is a link to the NAPA PA12-FM:

  • bobdobba - Saturday, November 22, 2003 - link

    This review is simply embarassing. I realize Anandtech has to maintain their relationships with Taiwanese mobo companies - but this is shameless and spineless.

    Products like this are a dime a dozen in Taiwan. To say that anything about this product is 'revolutionary' is a joke.

    The review had NO information about MP3 playback. Nothing about sound quality, ability to handle VBR, ABR, and high CBR MP3s. Lots of mobile players drop the ball here. Does the MSI one? Who knows?

    Volume is also a major issue for a lot of players. Is the highest volume high enough? Who knows?

    Are the included headphones comfortable in the ears? Who knows?

    And the crucial fact that you can't even play back voice notes on the player isn't even mentioned in the conclusion?????? WTF! Just this makes it basically useless as a voice recorder.

    A terrible review, essentially useless, worse than a press release. I expect better from Anandtech.

  • geckojohn - Thursday, November 20, 2003 - link

    I bought this MSI mp3 player and have been using it for an hour or so and love it. Compared to the Muvo, the sound is much louder and more crisp. The fm tuner is really nice too. You can't beat this mp3 player for the price. I highly recommend it.

  • Aaapold - Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - link

    Outwardsound carries the Jens of Sweden, but it lists for $219.95.

  • geckojohn - Monday, November 17, 2003 - link

    So, has anyone tried out this MSI mp3 player?

    I'm really thinking about getting it... Do you know what Newegg's return policy is? Could i return it if it suckS?
  • Zoomer - Monday, November 17, 2003 - link

    It has been around so long, practically all the taiwan/china odm/oems have jumped onto it and produced tons of them.

    If it gets imported to America en masse, I wouldn't be suprised if the price falls to around $70. In fact, I just saw the Hyundai HY-208 MP3 Player + 128Mb Mini Usb Flash Drive for S$139 - that's about USD$77. I would imagine that it would be even cheaper in HK, S.Korea or Taiwan.

    The reason for such popularity? Well, if you are going to get a 128MB usb flash disk for $50, why not toss in another $20 to have it be able to act as a FM tuner/recorder/MP3 player?
    Besides, they are small, stylish, "in" (the current trend).

    This gets me thinking - how much profit would we be able to get if we get them and sell them on ebay? :)
  • geckojohn - Sunday, November 16, 2003 - link

    Hey, So what one would you recommend besides the Sweeden one? Reply
  • OCedHrt - Saturday, November 15, 2003 - link

    Here's some more.
  • FRiC - Friday, November 14, 2003 - link

    Not to mention, Acer has been selling this exact same MP3 player for a few months already, and for a lower price, before MSI released their version... Reply
  • Andrew Ku - Thursday, November 13, 2003 - link

    Well, one more point I need to emphasize, and then back to the other reviews we got on the burner.

    The MSI Mega Stick 1 can't be seen just for its feature set, as size, weight, and price are just as important. If you compare it to the Nomad Muvo, there is a distinct differential in those three specific groups. This is also the case with iRiver.

    Ultraportable notebooks are the "all the rage" overseas, but are not necessarily in the same situation domestically. And in the context of motherboard makers diversifying their portfolio, we do see this to be the first type of product to market. We can eyeball the foreign markets all we want, but the American demographic (I am getting a bit political here... :p ) is very very different from the rest of the world. Not being able to be successful in the American/North American demographic has been a big roadblock to the success of many products.

    And to answer your hint of more MP3 player reviews: yes, we will have more down the road. The reason there are 4 and not more is because we took a hiatus from this section for a while. Our lack of reviews in that time is not an indication that we don't see the MP3 player market proliferating.
  • araczynski - Thursday, November 13, 2003 - link

    america is usually behind in technology, europe/japan always has the newest/smallest gadgets at least a year before america decides to copy them... i remember my brother brining home a cell phone from japan many years ago, while everyone was carryign those bricks around here, they had things a third of the size.

    america doesn't innovate as much as people think, america's good at copying and mass producing at lower prices, which is good too :)
  • boran - Thursday, November 13, 2003 - link

    ehm, may I point you to this site here:

    it's just a "george" or "fred" with the buttons swapped around a bit, even the transfer speeds etc are the same, which makes me believe msi isnt really as innovative as the article is, since the review bout the george dates 11 feb 2003 and you cant claim different weight, specs for function, I believe they R 99% alike (besides logo, firmware and button arrangement)

    you can find around a million clones of the george or fred players on the market, imho my first misinformed review on anandtech cous if the reviewer just would have looked at the available players on the market for just a second he would have seen that there is nothing new or innovative at all with this MSI mp3 player.

  • Oxonium - Thursday, November 13, 2003 - link

    I agree that Anandtech is extremely behind the times with this review. I just hope they make it up to us by having this be the first of many such reviews. Looking at the audio reviews menu, I see only four mp3 player reviews in 2.5 years. The mp3 player market is exploding and evolving as fast as SFF and it is barely being covered. Reply
  • marqiuz - Thursday, November 13, 2003 - link


    for this once, I find an article on Anandtech speaking gibberish.

    First time you see such a gadget in the market?!??

    It's all the rage in the Asian Market, wake up. How long has ANYONE in Anandtech gone to Japan, Korea or Taiwan, or on the web this side of the world for that matter?!??

    Several brands to look at:

    safa (Best of the stock - with inbuilt speaker)
    Phillips (this one is new)

    And many more, many being more cool looking than that MSI product there. As I said, this is a trendy item in Asia; going for as low as 600HK and as costly as 2000HK (for ref. 7.8hk = 1 US).

    Goto this website to have a browse.

    select MP3 and presto!

    America is truly too far behind on this.
  • Andrew Ku - Thursday, November 13, 2003 - link

    The JoS is a very interesting product, and the actual LCD interface does seem a bit "cleaner." The resolution for the LCD seems to be higher, but the size of the actual size of the LCD module looks to be the same size (according to their PDF actual size scale). We didn't find any information referencing its ability to playback recordings, so we will have to wait till we get one on hand to tinker around with.

    Btw, it is actually 88x25x16 (MP-100). To top it off, it is basically double in price (MP-100 - 256MB). The fact that it is all but scarce domestically doesn't help its case... But we will get back to this stuff some other time.
  • smm2k - Thursday, November 13, 2003 - link


    which do you think i should get for xmas?
  • Grimner - Thursday, November 13, 2003 - link

    Xtian, you beat me to it :)

    Have been using a JoS 256 since spring. The Mega Stick lock a lot like it - sharing the layout down to the buttons. Nice touch with the replacable battery, tough.

    Could the Americans, for once, be waaaaay behind Europe? LOL
  • Xtian - Thursday, November 13, 2003 - link

    andrew Ku.
    "Those MP3 players that have a large capacity, larger display, more features, etc... don't come as small as the Mega Stick 1, at least not yet."

    Well, Jens if Sweden has it, and it's been out
    for some time allready. It can playback your
    voice or radio recordings, has 256Mb memory,
    charge from USB and, it's 80x25x16mm compared
    to MSI's 95x30x18mm.


    What I like to see now is USB2.0 interface
    combined with faster flash memory to get a
    better transfer rate.

  • Andrew Ku - Thursday, November 13, 2003 - link

    Hello all,

    I would remind you guys that this is smaller than the Nomad Muvo, and it has an FM tuner (and the ability to FM record), which most others lack. Also, keep in mind that this is MSI's first MP3 player and is much smaller than almost everything on the market. The ability to charge via USB is something that AnandTech would love to see implemented in the next generation of Mega Stick, and we already cited that in the article. Those MP3 players that have a large capacity, larger display, more features, etc... don't come as small as the Mega Stick 1, at least not yet.

    Btw, I have seen the Mega Stick 1 at 100 flat.
  • Xtian - Thursday, November 13, 2003 - link

    This was the first time Anandtech made me confused about what year it is.
    I bought my northstar Nov 2002, and since then
    numerous companies had offered all these
    features, more memory, USB-charging of batteries,
    playback of recorded material, larger displays,
    longer battery life, smaller size, better design.
    Are you sure this review is not 1+ year old?
  • yanon - Thursday, November 13, 2003 - link

    Actually, there are several other companies already making similar products. I am thinking about buying one of these usb pen drive/mp3 player/voice recorders for Christmas. Andrew Ku didn't do a real good job on testing the device since he didn't even bother to come up with a qualitative testing method for sound quality and voice recording quality. I am wondering how good is voice recording funcitons because I will be using it to record class lectures. Another thing that is kind of disappointing about the Mega Stick is that it can't playback the file it records. Man, whoever designed the mega stick must be on crack since I just never heard of any audio recorder that can't play back the files it recorded.
    BTW guys, please give me some suggestions on which mp3 player/voice recorder to get. I prefer one that is not too expensive less $125 and has decent recording quality for recording 3 hours worth of lecture.
  • xionn - Thursday, November 13, 2003 - link

    You guys need to get with it.
    Ever heard of the company ibead or 'Jens of Sweeden'? They do everything that this drive does and much more. Plus it does it much quicker.

    Get with it guys, has better info.
  • smm2k - Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - link

    hmm i wonder if the iriver flash player is better or worse?
  • skitlets - Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - link

    what took so long for something like this to enter the market? I'm afraid plug and play usb flashdrives/mp3 players have been out for awhile, such as the Nomad Muvo. Reply

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