Transcend T.sonic 820

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Transcend announces its new T.sonic? 820 series of MP3 players. With 1.5-inch SuperColor OLED screen. the T.sonic? 820 is an advanced MP3 player designed to play music, photos and video.

In addition, the T.sonic? 820 player has a FM Radio and Advanced Digital Recording features including, recording using its Built-in Microphone, an External Microphone, or Line-In device. It can also be used to read E-books and store your computer files. T.sonic? 820 is available in two high capacity colorful models, 2GB (White) and 4GB (Black).
If price was never an issue, every single person on the planet would have bought the best MP3 player out there.

The words 'compromise' and 'value' would have never made it to the dictionary. Fortunately or unfortunately, they both exist in our word-bank and even outside it. Not everyone who wishes to listen to music can afford the iRivers and iPods, but one doesn't have to opt for some cheap unbranded player that passes noise for sound.

For those seeking reasonably good sound quality at a reasonable price, here comes brands like Transcend.
Turn ons

Battery life, Loads of settings, Simple Interface, Video playback, Bundled Security Software, Value for money.

Turn offs

Bundled earphones could have been better, Can play limited formats, Average build quality.
What's in it for you?

The Transcend T.sonic 820 comes bundled with a standard set of earphones, USB extension cable, line-in cable, neck strap, a driver CD and an instruction manual. With this 2 GB player you can listen to music and radio, record voice and FM, watch videos, view photos, and read e-books.


Storage capacity: 2 GB, Dimensions: 82mm x 40.5mm x 12mm, Weight: 45g, Screen: 1.5" (128 x 128 pixel), Music formats: MP3, WMA, WMA-DRM10, Photo formats: JPG, BMP, Recording format: ADPCM (WAV), Video format: MTV, FM Radio, Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion

The layout of the T.sonic 820 is such that it feels like a mini mobile phone. When held in the palm of your hand, all its keys are within the reach of your thumb for easy navigation. The buttons are well spaced and you'll hardly misstep. However, the build quality and feel of the buttons is strictly average and they're not soft-touch.
The Menu

The T.sonic 820 greets you with a flashy Transcend logo, followed by the available memory info on the screen. It takes about 3 seconds for it to start, and around the same to switch off.

The menu is quite intuitive, and you get a hang of it almost immediately. If you must know the details, here's a run through of the menu brass tacks.


You can listen to MP3, WMA, WMA-DRM10 (subscription music) and WAV music formats on this player.

Apart from the standard functions like play, pause, previous, next, rewind and fast-forward; you can have some fun using the record button to continuously play a designated part of an audio piece - this is called the A-B function.

When transferring music to the player from your PC, you can segregate it by genre, artist, album, etc. This in turn helps you quickly find the music you want to listen to with the help of the menu and navigation keys.


When you choose the radio function, the player automatically searches for frequencies and saves the strongest radio stations; you have the option to select them manually as well. You can save up to 9 stations on it. That's a bit strange as the cheaper players from the same company let you save 20 stations. You can record a radio session by holding the record button for 2 seconds to record what you're listening to on the radio. The quality of FM reception is pretty decent.


You can record voice on the 820 through the in-built microphone by pressing the record button for 2 seconds; or through an external device like your music system with the direct line-in recording facility.

Anyone can get a hang of recording with either options as it is not at all complicated; else there's a useful manual for step-by-step instructions just a click away.


You can add BMP and JPG images simply by 'drag n drop' through your PC. The picture quality is not great, and you'll only be able to see a close-up well enough. Images are grainy; nevertheless, provide for a go-through of the pictures you want to see.

Inspite of the small 1.5" screen that makes for a tiny and distorted video playback, I still think it's a nice addition to this player as a part of the whole deal. Staring at the screen for watching a movie could be strenuous, but fun nonetheless.

All video files need to be converted to .MTV format to be played on the player. A 700 MB AVI file took about an hour to convert. After conversion, it shrunk to 258 MB in the MTV format.


You can read TXT files on this player. The screen size being petite, it's not fun reading long articles on it. I would prefer storing small text files like addresses or notes on it.


This contains a big gallery of options and features for this little player. The following is a list of the available selection:

-Equalizer: A standard one, it lets you customize the sound to your preference with a 5 band equalizer.

-Screensaver: You can set the time delay for the screen to go blank, display the logo, display the song title, display clock, or even photos.

Repeat Mode: You can choose from: normal, repeat one, repeat all, shuffle and normal/repeat/shuffle all the files in a Folder.

-Record quality: The quality of an audio recording can be set to Low (8,000Hz), Medium (16,000Hz), or High (32,000Hz).

-Language: You can choose to use any one of the 13 languages.

-Sleep: You can set a time delay to make the player shut off automatically.

-Real time clock settings (RTC): The RTC displays the local time and date, both can be adjusted and an additional setting that lets you enable Daylight Saving Time (DST) to allow for local Summer and Winter times.

-Contrast: You can set the contrast of the OLED display.

Media transfer modes (MTP) has 2 options:

a) MTP: If you plan to buy and play WMA-DRM10 (only) music files, you'll need to select Windows Media Player 10 to transfer and synchronize your WMA-DRM10 music files with the T.sonic 820's MTP Folder.

b) USB: If you are using a Mac /Linux computer, or you want to create specific folders on your PC for each of your media files (Music, Video, Photo, E-book), you'll need to select the USB (WMA-DRM10 NOT supported) Media Transfer Mode to transfer multimedia files to your player.

-Sync lyrics: A karaoke-type feature that displays the lyrics of a song on the screen during playback.

-Playback speed: You can increase or decrease the playback speed of an audio file.

-Radio reset: Deletes all presets and starts afresh when you use the radio function next time.

-Playlist manager: A quick way to manage your favorite music.

-Slideshow maker: You can set delay time between pictures.

-World time: You can view the local time for different time zones.

-Record quality: The quality of an audio recording can be set to Low (8,000Hz), Medium (16,000Hz), or High (32,000Hz).

-Record input device: You can select the medium you're using to record audio - built in or external microphone, or Line- in.

-Voice Activation Detection (VAD): This helps you in making gapless audio recordings. This means the player will only begin recording when it detects the subject speaking, if the person(s) pauses, or stops speaking the player stops recording until the person(s) starts speaking again.

Sound Quality, Earphones

The earphones provided with the T.sonic 820 are standard and produce above-average sound for its bracket. The highs sound almost shrill, especially if you listen to heavy metal. The lows and mids are average and just about acceptable, all in all making it an above-average pair of earphones.

Needless to say, investment in a better pair of earphones will pep up the sound quality. It will be noticeably better, but don't expect miracles.

Apart from the quality of the earphones, another concern is their color. Transcend bundles black-colored earphones with a white T.sonic 820, which I must say looks like an ugly combination.


The provided rechargeable Li-ion claims to give you 15 hours of playback. In reality, a continuous playback of music lasted exactly 13 hours, which is pretty good. It will be a little lesser if you're watching videos.

A complete battery charge takes about 4 hours.


The player is available in two color options - black and white.

You can disable all keys anytime by using the push-lock .

In case the player hangs up, you can use the "reset button" placed at the bottom of the player to restart the player again.

Included Software

-MTV Video Converter: Very simple to use, just add the video file you want to convert to MTV, and sit back for a few minutes; the wait would be longer if the video file is big. After the file is converted, you can simply drag and drop the MTV file to the player.

-Slideshow Maker: T.sonic 820 only plays pictures with SLS extension for a slideshow. Therefore, if you want to use the slideshow feature on this player, you must first convert your photo files to the SLS file format using the slideshow maker program, then transfer the converted files to the player.

If the mountain of setting options wasn't enough, here's more. You can install the "T.sonic Utility" software from the disc provided in the bundle to have the following features:

PC-Lock Function: When the PC-Lock Function is enabled, you can use your T.sonic as a key to lock your computer protecting it from use by others.

Boot-Up Function: If you are using the Windows 98SE Operating System, the T.sonic can be configured to act as an MS-DOS Boot Disk. After you've setup the T.sonic, you can use it to boot-up your computer, allowing you to run MS-DOS programs; this does not make the T.sonic a Rescue Disk for Windows, nor does it put Windows Startup files onto your T.sonic.

After booting with the T.sonic, you must start Windows from your hard drive, or a previously created Rescue Disk.

To use the Boot-Up function, you must log in to the Windows OS with Administrator rights. A maximum capacity of 512MB is reserved for the Boot-Up disk sector in the USB-HDD format.

Partition & Security Function: Enabling this feature allows you to setup a secure area on the player to protect your personal information with a password. You can partition the player into "public" and "private" password protected areas. Data and information in the private area is kept secure and can only be accessed by logging onto the player using the correct password.

The partition & security function is not supported in the Mac or Linux Operating Systems. To use this function, you must log in to the Windows OS as the Administrator.

Recovery Function: If your T.sonic 820 ever stops working properly, try powering it off and on a number of times. Alternatively, you could try to solve the problem by "Resetting" the unit. If neither of these options solves the problem, you can use the T.sonic Utility program's Recovery Function to restore the player's default factory settings.


The Transcend T.sonic 820 is available for about Rs. 4000 with a 2 year warranty.

The player's sound quality is average, but that can be upgraded with better quality headphones. The picture and video quality is not great too, but it still adds to the bundle for the price it's available at. With this price and overall features, it makes for a very neat 'value for money' portable music/video player option.

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