Packard Bell AudioDream full review

Packard Bell's entry into the overcrowded flash memory digital audio player market has some nifty additions, such as its photo-viewing feature. But it doesn't quite hit the mark. It's a bit limited and a little too expensive to pull in the punters.

The AudioDream stores about 20 hours of MP3 or WMA tunes - roughly 300 tracks unless you're into prog rock - and it has a built-in microphone so you can record up to 64 hours of audio. Top marks also go to Packard Bell for supporting an optional FM tuner and a line-in so you can record from external sources. Playback lasts for about 10 hours, thanks to a fixed rechargeable lithium battery that needs the bundled power adapter to refill with juice - it's a shame power can't be leeched from a PC when it's connected.

On first looks the AudioDream holds its own. The brushed-metal-effect case looks sleek and it's light enough to be a perfect option for the gym. Unfortunately, the AudioDream doesn't feel built to last.

We were also put off by the lack of a hold button, and the power-off button will rip off anything but nails of purest steel. While the headphones seem cheap, Packard Bell has obviously addressed the quiet audio that plagued the first AudioDream, for this version is loud - but whack the volume beyond two-thirds and it becomes distinctly distorted.

Powering up the AudioDream reveals a bright 1in display, and we commend Packard Bell for deploying the nascent Oled (organic LED) technology. Oled provides a brighter display than LCD, making it great for viewing outdoors.

We did think that 65,000 colours was somewhat excessive. All the colours of the rainbow, some might say; we call it garish.


Packard Bell AudioDream: Specs

  • 1GB flash memory
  • rechargeable lithium battery
  • supports MP3 and WMA files
  • voice recording
  • 68x38x12mm
  • 30g
  • 2-year return-to-base warranty