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Author Topic: Gamma Group first impressions  (Read 26121 times)
pete7919
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« on: September 13, 2005, 09:08:57 pm »

I received my gamma 442 today and thought it would be helpful for me to post my initial thoughts of the 442.  After all, this is supposed to be a feedback dealie, right.  I'm surprised no one else has started this thread.  If it's not helpful... well too bad 'cause I'm gonna rant anyhow:

 
  • Package first arrives - Gasp! Upon opening the player has shifted in transport making the box seem like it can't do it's job.  First impressions are key!  

  • I really wish I had not even looked at the pitiful quick start guide that was included.  It really hurts the perceived value of the recorder!  You guys better ditch that doc quick, and I would eliminate every trace of it from your support website because it's a joke.  I'd be embarrassed to print that thing.  Enough on that...

  • Now for some positive.  I was struck at the silver color of the housing.  The pictures I've seen make the 442 look more gray. I really like the color. I do wish the whole unit could be smaller (or build in an FM transmitter or other reatures to justify the pocket space. (Don't get me wrong, this thing does have features, but with the intro of these crazy small cell phones and now the Ipod nano, the 442 will look bigger and bigger with time! The 442 is quiet and I think the screen is very nice even though the UI doesn't do it justice. More on that below.  

  • As for the included case, I like the design where you can get to the important functions.  I'm not quite sure though what the case does for the 442.  It doesn't protect well from the elements, I dropped it once and the corners are not well protected, either.  And I sure as hell am never gonna wear this thing on my belt!

  •  I like the thought of the rubber connector cover, but I think I'm going to rip it off soon because it's always in my way.

  • I'm big on first impressions.  The UI at first seems rather simple, I can tell this is where most of the work will be done in the Gamma stage (or I can hope!) Beyond the main menu the UI seems abandoned, with very little interface for audio or video playback or video recording.  I hope others agree and can expand my thought here with their own improvements.  A killer interface would go a long way to making this thing a hit with the masses.

  • I absolutely hate the four way button. It's difficult in every aspect to operate.  It's very stiff and my medium sized fingers slap both an arrow button and the play/pause button at the same time.

  • As I mentioned in the support forum I tried to jump the gun and convert some video to load when the 442 arrived.  The results were that not a single one of my videos worked!  I hope to have that resolved soon.  I did find a copy of Finding Neverland that would play and intially I'm impressed with the playback.  I need more time to explore this, though, as I only have the one file to play.

  • I think this is a technical defect, but when I tried to record a show off TV I plugged the cable in and I didn't get video.  I pulled the plug out a bit and video flickered then came in fine.  I tried this a few times with the same result each time.  Please respond if anyone else has this issue in case it really is a bigger problem.


Well, those are some fresh thoughts just after using the 442 for a few hours.  I hope this is helpful and I'll post more random thoughts as time marches on.

P
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FJ
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2005, 11:29:47 pm »

Pete-

Thanks for the feedback. I posted answers in other threads where you will find info you might find useful (with the pseudo FJ). You actually use a keyword search (my pseudo or any keyword for that matter)to figure out if some questions or issues have already been discussed.
As for the files you converted, gasp! Uncool. But you will find a software (Ulead) on the CD to convert your files into DivX (yeah again, sorry man, but it should work out fine).

Keep the feedback coming, we are listening and will make sure we address the flaws that are reported.

Johan

Neuros

FJ
« Last Edit: September 19, 2005, 03:33:17 pm by FJ » Logged

FJ
fdisk
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2005, 08:39:41 am »

I just got mine yesterday too, and I had the same box shifting issue that pete7919 had.  The player was shifted up and to the left from the slot where it should have been positioned.  I think the pad below the player that holds it up needs to be thicker to keep it more pressed to the box top.

I also have to agree with the quick start guide.  It is not at all clear (or properly worded) on how to set up the 442.  If you're wanting this to be something that appeals to the masses, and not just the technophiles, that really needs to have some serious work done to it.

The device itself, though, is phemomenal.  I threw some AVI files in DivX and in WMV9 format, and it took most of them.  I have had some problems with audio seeming to skip on some video files, but those turned out to be problems with the files I had converted.
*EDIT* WMV9 files don't work

One thing I noticed, after finding out on the forums that WMV was not supported, was that though the files are not supported, the 442 still attempts to play them.  It shows what codec they use, and appears to try and load the file, but will never actually start playing.  I have tried files that I knew were unsupported, and they show up as unsupported.  I just thought it odd that WMV attempts to play, even though it is not currently a supported format.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2005, 11:36:50 am by fdisk » Logged
Invisible Monkey
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2005, 09:14:37 am »

I got mine yesterday, and it also had shifted in the box.  It seems fine, but since everyone is mentioning it, I can confirm it was a problem here as well.  Same thing, up and left from where it seems like it should have been.
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LadyGeek
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2005, 12:52:42 pm »

Didn't have a problem with mine shifting, and (speaking as the tech-type here) didn't have a problem with the manual, which held about as much information as the Roomba manual did.

The only two negatives I have so far is that the on/off switch isn't as quick to respond as I'd like (this might be addressed by allowing the button to sink in a bit further when it's on.  Yes, I do see the power light, but haven't learned to trust it yet.  This is a piddly little detail, however.)  The buttons and menus, while intuitive to me may not be as intuitive to others.

I'm currently playing with mine, and I can see that it's going to get a LOT of use in the future!
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Doug M.
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2005, 02:22:00 pm »

I had the same shifting

first impression is a good one so far... I've only played with it about half a day
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bchawks
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2005, 04:15:37 pm »

I too had the shifting.

There is a lot left to be desired with this piece.

- I had trouble with the audio staying locked in with the movie while fast forwarding. After I reached the spot that I was fast forwarding to, the audio was minutes behind.

- I think when you go into the audio folder, you should have a menu option to see the properties of the song instead of taking up the whole right side of the screen for it. I would rather see the title of the song across the screen.

- I wish there was a shuffle option as I hate to hear the songs in the same order all the time.

- I think the SD slot should have a door to prevent dust.

- I also wish that the size was a little slimmer, but its not that big of a deal.

- My headphones or jack seems a little shaky as i get static when i bump it sometimes, but that might be natual.

- The graphics on the initial startup are awesome, I love them. I just hope something is done with the rest of the screens.

- I also had a little trouble with the speed of the video (a converted MP4 via PSPVideo9)after fast forwarding. I couldnt get it to go back to normal speed. It was slower than the 2x fast forward but still very quick.

I have only played with it for about an hour and these are some things that I have noticed. I will post back with anymore things that I find that might need a look.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2005, 04:16:37 pm by bchawks » Logged
miglo
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2005, 06:38:37 pm »

Heres what I've noticed after an hour or so playing with it:


* First impression was this thing is big. Any size reduction would be awesome. Even an all black unit might be nice.
* Microphone jack - a little tempermental
* Interface is a ugly, this would probably change with software/firmware upgrade. I'm looking forward to having/making custom skins.
* Long filenames get truncated. Maybe have the filename scroll across or something.
* MP3 Player is bland. No visuals, no skins, no nada. Just a barebones MP3 player. More options would be welcomed.
* Video Player needs support for subtitles. I could not select my .SSA file or anything. Automatic selection if it exists would be nice.
* Aspect ratio, some of my movies are stretched weirdly. Maybe its just the movie.
* Allow shuffle play, album art, etc etc.
* Not a big fan of the 4-way controller. Its even worst when you put it in the case.

Overall its a decent machine.

Will play with it more.
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Murali
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2005, 06:38:39 pm »

Video Player    Composite video output to TV: NTSC/PAL
Playback of MPEG4/DivX 3.11/4.0/5.0/WMV v9

The specification clearly says WMV 9 is supported.
But 442 won't play it?
It is very important for me that it plays WMV files.
I haven't received the 442 yet, should I just not accept it from Fedex and get my money back?
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DCNY
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2005, 07:49:13 pm »

I too had some shifting in the box. Not a big issue in my mind.

Got mine this afternoon.  Had no problem downloading pictures or audio ( even did a transfer directly from an SD card).  The unit would NOT play songs that I downloaded off of MSN. Have not been able to get WIndows Media to recognize player as anything other than an external hdd.

Sound quality has very good.  Need to make the UI much more user friendly. Everyone covered the obvious flaws.

All of the file mangement UI needs to be improved. Needs to be much more robust in features and dummy'd down in format.

Liked the case, but it should have a zipper and they need to lose the belt clip.

I would like to have a USB cable that can charge the unit as well as tranfer files. I'm on the road too much and carrying an additional charger (or remembering to take) is a pain.

Other than those..think this baby is a winner.

Glad to be part of the gamma test team.[8D]
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djmv(at)yahoo.com
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2005, 09:08:39 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by miglo
* First impression was this thing is big. Any size reduction would be awesome. Even an all black unit might be nice.



Black cases are a nightmare! They show smudges, fingerprints, everything. I have a black cell phone, and cannot wait for my contract to expire so I can go back to silver on my next phone. Funny, people with black media devices complain and wish they had silver. I guess the real winner hasn't been found yet.

-mvaughn
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-mvaughn
miglo
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« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2005, 09:27:22 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by djmv(at)yahoo.com


Black cases are a nightmare! They show smudges, fingerprints, everything. I have a black cell phone, and cannot wait for my contract to expire so I can go back to silver on my next phone. Funny, people with black media devices complain and wish they had silver. I guess the real winner hasn't been found yet.

-mvaughn



Grass is always greener syndrome Smiley
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spiffytee
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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2005, 12:05:15 am »

Well, it was seated in the center of its box when i first opened the box.  Upon lifting it up, it is nice to the touch and has a feel of quality.  It looks good despite what others have said about it's design being out of style.  The screen was bigger than i thought it would be.  The protective case provided is also good, however, there should be something to protect it from sliding out on the right.  Good usb2 interface, comp detects it like it would an external hd, complete plug and play.                                      

When viewing, you should hold it about 6inches away or else you will notice the pixels.  The colors are good.  No srt subtitle support, mabye support other formats?  One file I put on does not play, wish the thing would give me feedback on why.  There's no built in speaker so you have to use headphones.  It doesn't have a resume where you left off, but it does ff up to 16x.                                                  

As for pictures, there should be more user control.  It works like a slideshow.  one should be able to turn that option off and go at their own pace.  Loads up pics relatively fast - i tested it out with 1mb+ pics.                                                      

finally as everyone has said, the directional pad is kinda lame.  it would be nice if it was a flat surface instead of a raised box.  i hope the top rubber thing doesn't come off like the other guy's.  From what i did try, it charged pretty fast and has a simple main menu.  A lot of the stuff that i've said can be updated with firmware.  More as i test other things.

current firmware - 1.2.2, hopefully upgrading is easy  Smiley
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game_writer
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« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2005, 12:51:34 am »

Got my Neuros 442 today. Very cool little machine. Image quality on the unit is very good. Image quality on the TV from the machine is not DVD quality, but is acceptable. It took me a little bit to figure out a few things, as the one-page instruction manual didn't tell me much but the specifications.

First of all, I guess I didn't get the shipping shifting. Mine seemed okay, but the thickness of the Neuros packaging seemed think.

The following are my gripes, after playing with it for awhile (and I have NOT yet hooked it up or installed the software):

1. I can't seem to change the filenames of movies I have recorded. But I haven't hooked it up to the computer yet, so I imagine that I will be able to do it that way.

2. Bookmarks are not saved while watching movies. If I pause a movie, exit it, and go back into it, it starts over. Movies should keep a record of their last point, like my dish network DVR.

3. I didn't understand why my player wasn't displaying on a television. I thot maybe I had a defective unit. It took awhile for me to discover that you press the TV/Lock button to swap between the line out and the built-in display.

4. The little black rubber plug cover on mine ripped off almost immediately after I started using it. Oh well. I don't know if I like it anyway.

5. I didn't know when my player was charged. The light was flashing with the A/C plug so I assumed that meant it was charging. After awhile, it stopped. I wished I had a better manual.

6. You can't pause a recording by pressing the pause button while recording a movie. This would be great for removing commercials. You can only exit the movie, not pause it.


Now for my LIKES!

1. The case is pretty cool. Usually I have to buy a case for all of my electronics, but this one will probably do. It even has a belt clip. Cool. Or you can use the belt loops. Double cool.

2. The operation of the menu system and recording is rather simple. Simple is good.

3. I got TWO sets of video cords so that I can have record and playback cable connected at the same time.

4. Playback in high resolution and low resolution looked pretty good on my 32" television, even tho it wasn't as good as the original. The 640x240 resolution was a little choppy and didn't improve the quality that much--I assume this is for computer replay, not television replay.

5. The display looks GREAT! Even movies that showed image degradation on my 32" television looked great on the built-in screen. Nice. I also like how you can display EVERYTHING on the television display, like it was showing on the built-in display (like battery, menu system, etc., all on the TV)

That's a very quick review. Overall I'm very pleased, but give me time to come up with more grips and likes!



New 442 owner
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Game_Writer
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« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2005, 12:55:48 am »

Now, the biggest question I have is: How do I get my Digital Video Recorder (instead of the cash rebate)?

Nothing in the package that I could see told me anything about how to get the recorder. Granted, I haven't had time to look at the CD yet, but I haven't seen any survey that I was expecting to see and I didn't notice any warranty card. I very much want the recorder now that I've seen the player!





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Game_Writer
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