Mega Stick 1 — Supercharged USB flash drive

Mega Stick 1 is a bit larger than most USB flash drives, and this limits portability to a degree. However, MSI aims to accomplish a lot, and the size of the drive is perfectly understandable. Over all, the Mega Stick 1 measures 3.8 x 1.2 x 0.7 inches, weighs in at 1 ounce (1.4 ounces with battery) and feels very similar to a garage door opener or a keychain-sized pepper spray can.

The front of the unit draws the eye to the Mega Stick 1's mini, 1.2 x 0.4 inch, 96x25, two shades, backlight screen, and simple-to-use play/pause/power on/power off button. Flipping over the Mega Stick 1 doesn't reveal anything, as the AAA battery is hidden behind the cover. Removing the top cover reveals the USB interface, where the battery can be accessed.


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It is hard to peg Mega Stick into a specific category because it is multi-purpose by nature. It functions as a storage device, but it is intended to be used also as a MP3 player. Since most of the time it will be used as a MP3 player, we categorize it as such. However, unlike many of the MP3 players on the market, this aims to function in a different manner. The interface for iPod comes via firewire, and Mega Stick aims to use the more popular USB interface for cost issues and to dual its purpose as a USB flash drive.


 

 

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The left side of the unit is where the microphone in and headphone (stereo) out ports reside. Between the two ports lies the secure strap loop for the neck strap.


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The top side of Mega Stick 1 is where the majority of the buttons lie. On the far right are two slots in the casing and this is where the onboard microphone lies. To the left of this is the function button, which sets the repeating playback function during MP3 playback and enables FM radio mode. Next are the record, menu, and the volume up/down buttons. The menu button gives access to the majority of functions including: preset equalizer settings, record quality, display settings (contrast and backlight), etc.


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The bottom side of the unit resides the hold toggle. Basically, This prevents the rest of the buttons from performing any function, but we should note that this doesn't write protect the built-in flash storage.


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The backlight of the Mega Stick 1 isn't on by default, as it must be user defined. It isn't on all the time, rather only a few settings are available: 2, 5, 10, and 30 seconds. This would be in terms of the time it takes for the backlight to turn off, once a button has been pressed. It does look reasonably bright in our opinion, as we could sort through our MP3 selection on a late night flight.



Index Mega Stick 1 – Supercharged USB flash drive (continued)
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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.
    Reply
  • 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 newegg.com.
    It sound good...wasn't able to delete my Voice files, w/o conn. to PC.
    Overalla great piece..as 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.
    Reply
  • 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...
    Reply
  • 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

    Reply
  • 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 http://www.ipodsdirtysecret.com/
    Reply
  • 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:
    http://www.royalcomputer.com/royal/go.asp?ic=300mp...

    Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
  • 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.

    -
    Reply

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