MRP: Rs 950
While there's the sneaking suspicion that Zebronics products may be re-branded Chinese gadgets, there's no point complaining since they deliver unmatched features and value. Heck, I bought three of Zebronics' Cinema 4.3 PMP myself. The Nitro embodies the same ethos by mating a music player with speakers for just Rs 950.
For that price, it delivers MP3 playback through three-way stereo speakers enclosed in a sleek form factor. Unfortunately, MP3 is the only file format it can play. Music can be fed through a USB 2.0 port, SD \ MMC slot, and a 3.5 mm auxiliary input. The Nitro also includes FM functionality, but the indoor reception is flaky.
The Nitro houses two full-range speakers and a squawker.
Design And Build Quality
The device looks like a small clutch purse, housing a squawker flanked by a pair of full-range speakers shrouded behind a metal grille. The build quality is par for the price and the plastics feel cheap. Zebronics tries to liven up the exterior with a metal fascia that doesn't align very well. Nevertheless, the device stands out with its sleek silhoutte, lacking the gaudiness generally associated with cheap devices. The player can be propped upright by the means of a tiny disc masquerading as a stand.
The side panel features an SD \ MMC slot.
The side panel hosts an SD \ MMC slot, 3.5 mm headphone jack, and a power switch surrounded by two blue LEDs indicating power and memory access status. The top has three buttons for Play \ Pause
, and Next
, in addition to an LED indicating charging status. The rear houses a battery compartment and three ports: a 3.5 mm aux input jack, a micro-USB input for charging the battery, and a USB 2.0 port to connect pen drives.
The rear sports an Aux input and USB port.
Zebronics deserves credit for including a 500 mAh battery that's good for about 2 hours of playback. Generally, gadgets at this price range don't even include disposable batteries. The user interface could have used more than three buttons though. The Play \ Pause, Previous, and Next buttons handle myriad functions such as source selection, volume, navigation, and FM channel storage by using a combination of long and quick presses. This is rather unintuitive and quite difficult to remember.
The Nitro with a standard USB thumb drive installed.
The inclusion of a 3.5 mm Aux input means that the Zebronics Nitro can be used as a notebook speaker. In the tests, it held up well with TV shows, thanks to its loudness. The dialogues were sufficiently audible even for rips with low audio levels. Action movies however, were a big disappointment due to an extreme distortion of the lower frequencies.
Audio tracks with strong bass lines fared equally badly. Any audio content harbouring frequencies below 400 Hz brought about alarming distortion levels. For some bass-heavy songs, the sub 150 Hz sounds were literally farted out. Yes, the infrasonic frequencies make the Nitro sound like it has a case of chronic flatulence. This is because the amplifier is unable to deliver the grunt required by the 2.5 W speakers. The problem is so serious that even lowering the volume has no effect on the bass quality.
Keep to bass-free ballads and old-school Hindi film songs, and the speakers can be cranked all the way up with acceptable levels of distortion. Even with ideal (read: bass-free) audio material, the sound is thin, bright, and inaccurate. That isn't bad considering the price of the product, to be honest. Finally, the audio quality through the headphone jack is mediocre at best. Then again, you'd look rather daft plugging earphones into this device.
Be warned that prolonged exposure to the Nitro causes considerable listening fatigue. For example, my colleagues, who generally enjoy music at work, begged me to move elsewhere when I tested the Nitro. The bottomline is: unless you plan to stick to classic Hindi film music, this is best used as a notebook speaker.Conclusion
The player includes impressive specs for its price, but is let down by its atrocious audio quality. You might argue that its great value and features outweigh the poor performance. However, just a few minutes with Prodigy
's Smack My Bitch Up
on the Nitro will make you want to stab your eardrums with a pencil.
The device is only good as a notebook speaker for watching TV shows and less aurally demanding films. If you insist on music, go for it only if you listen to old film songs. Metaphorically speaking, the Nitro reminds me of the infernal Daya Ben from Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashma
- loud and extremely annoying.Performance:
1.5/5Design and Build Quality:
Do you agree with this Review?