It's a good-looking player, probably meaty enough to crush a medium to large insect. But be warned: it looks like a touchscreen player, but it isn't. Instead, it has touch-sensitive buttons. Epic meh.
It has haptic feedback (quick, little vibrations behind the control pad) for every button press, however, and this, combined with a clear menu system, makes browsing music and video very pleasant.
As for format support, we had the B30 playing AAC, MP3, WMA, WAV, WMA Lossless, APE, FLAC and OGG audio formats, and DivX, Xvid, H.264, MPEG-4 (simple profile) and WMV video files. DRM-free iTunes Plus downloads are also supported. Our reference video files looked okay, but significantly better screens exist on the market for watching video, such as Cowon's S9. Also, the highly glossy screen made viewing in sunlight a pain in the eyeballs.
The good news is that sound quality was excellent through our reference Denon AH-D5000 headphones, with clear, powerful sound and deep bass. There's a heap of equaliser settings too, including a custom EQ and SRS WOW. Album art can be displayed (see a photo over the page), but there's no gapless playback option, so it's no use for fans of live albums.
At least in our office, DAB radio reception was, to be brutally honest, an enormous pile of crap. But it can be good, so long as you get a good signal (and the B30 has a telescopic aerial to help). Radio stations are presented on-screen in a list, and both DAB, FM and indeed your own voice can be recorded directly to the player's memory. Note that for voice, there's a built-in microphone.
Other features, such as playback of SWF Flash games, a built-in speaker, subtitles for videos, a built-in microSD slot for expanding the internal memory, and being able to capture stills from videos, make this a fully featured player. It just lacks the advanced, pretty interfaces granted to players from Sony or Apple.
It's good value though. Advanced MP3 Players will be selling the 8GB model for around £139, and the 16GB model for around £179, although these prices may change before the B30 goes on sale around mid-August.
We've got a bunch of hands-on photos over the next few pages and will have a full review for you soon.