TDK Mojo 620

Aug 2 2002



I was either gonna go with Sony or TDK. I spent about an hour in the store just staring at both Sony D-CJ506CK and TDK Mojo 620, meticulously dissecting every inch of their design, within the limits of their sealed plastic packagings. If I had the money I would’ve gotten both.

Hands down for the D-CJ506CK, which was more esthetically attractive than the Mojo 620. Sony’s has been around for years and they certainly know how to design a product. Their latest CD-MP3 player is an example to their ingenious designs. The player looked sturdy and yet elegant with its modern style while the Mojo 620 looked like any other budget CD player with the clamshell look, but don't let appearance fool you. This baby is a bruiser with plenty to give.

Let’s look at the Mojo 620’s weak side first. When you open the players’ lid you’ll notice that it is held only by plastic hinge-like thingies and a bent aluminum that acts as a spring. When I saw this I quickly wished I had a Sony. Given the force I had to apply to lock the lid open when changing disks, I fear that these plastic hinges will break off prematurely due to the torque needed to lock the lid open.

The bait that finally set the hook for me was TDK's bigger, 4 line, dot matrix LCD, and previous success with the original Mojo. Sony on the other hand is a relatively newcomer in the field of CD-MP3 players. Besides, there was also a $20 rebate for the Mojo 620, which brings it $20 cheaper than Sony’s

I’ve had four days now to test the Mojo 620. My first impression of the player isn’t all that great nor is it all that bad. With the top-money I’m paying for this player, I expected a better performance and what I got is a mixed bag of raisins and chocolate. The first day I got it, I’ve experienced very minor hiccups when playing MP3s. I just want to emphasize that the skips would probably go unnoticed to most listeners if you weren’t looking for it in the first place. It’s a rare occasion (maybe 3 times since I bought it), so I can’t positively identify the cause of the hiccups, but my guess is that it happens when the laser buffers one MP3 file and on to the next. Browsing the menus while listening to music might also be a factor.

Another problem I’ve had is track crossover. I’ve already experienced this in two occasions: when I pause an MP3 song and resume it after awhile, it jumps to the middle of a previous song. My guess is there’s illegal memory location jumping going on. I’ve already contacted TDK about this and hopefully there will be a firmware upgrade if enough people report this glitch.

The player supports CDR/CDRW and regular audio CDs. Once the player is turned on, it boots up and detects the contents of the CD, all within 20 seconds. The last 10 CDs loaded are stored in memory in order to speed up load times. During the testing, not one MP3 file was missed. Sound quality is good overall. However, with a really bassy sound, like the THX-BASS-TEST MP3 song that I downloaded, there is considerable clicks heard when it hits the low frequencies. Even if you turn the bass off, the clicks are still audible but not as severe. Having a high quality, studio headphones will help. The software equalizer is pretty useless. It is non-configurable. You can choose from only 4 presets and they are all pathetic. The differences in sound are barely distinct.

I’ve noticed that with lesser quality MP3 songs, there’s a slight click sound when changing to another track. Nothing major here, as it is preventable by using higher bit rate MP3s.

The player supposedly has 8 minutes of buffer for MP3s and 48 seconds for regular audio CDs. This feature can be turned off and some say this helps expand battery life. I haven’t tested this so I can’t attest to it. To tell you the truth, I can’t tell the difference whether I turn off ESP for MP3 playback or not. The performance is the same and if the theory is correct, just disable ESP for MP3 playback to prolong your battery’s short life. There really is no added benefit with it on. May be I’m wrong.

From my observations and mind-bending, mathematical calculations, the player buffers about 6 MB worth of data. This translates to about one and a half worth of 4 minutes, MP3 audios at 128 Kb/s in memory. The motor spins down once the buffer is filled, to conserve power. This is a very neat feature.

The unit comes with two AA Duracell Ultra, non-rechargeable batteries, which are rated 1500mAh. They’re supposed to last for 10 hours. That’s pathetic if you ask me. Regular AA batteries that I used during testing lasted way below the 10 hours. It was more like 6 hours. I guess my constant button clicking and the LCD light turning on all the time, further reduced battery life. On the bright side, the player shuts itself off if it goes unused for 10 seconds. I like to listen to music when I go to sleep and this is a nice feature. Overall, I give one rotten egg to TDK for not engineering a much more power-efficient device. In comparison, Sony claims a 24-hour continuous playback with their player. Now that is nice. Ultimately, I suggest you go online and buy a handful of high-capacity, rechargeable NIMH, 1800mAh batteries. If you shop around you can find 2 AA rechargeables for less than $3, excluding shipping.

The player supports ID3 tags and TDK’s proprietary tagging called FIF(file in format). You can either set the player to ID3 or FIF to display song information. FIF really isn’t a tag like the ID3, where the information is imbedded in the MP3; instead it’s simply a naming format: [artist]-[file name]-[genre].mp3 It’s really that simple, but imagine renaming hundreds of songs in that format. Hell No you say. I’m with you, but it’s the only way if all your songs are in a single directory and you want to browse by genre or artist; otherwise, you’ll have to put songs in genre/artist folders before burning to disk, then you can browse by directory. FIF is used for directory navigation whether you enable ID3 tags or FIF. The ID3 tags are used only for displaying song information if enabled and not for navigation, otherwise, the FIF formatting will be used to displaying song info.

The package comes with 3 softwares: LyricSync, Navitrack, and Logo Editor. LyricSync enables you to view lyrics of MP3 songs on the players LCD, Navitrack helps with the name formatting of your MP3 files to FIF, and Logo Editor let’s you change the logo displayed on the LCD of the player when it is turned on.

Other things included in the package are headphones, a wired remote control, and a DC adapter(a plus).

That’s all there is to it. The Mojo 620 is easy to navigate and its multi-functional buttons are quick to learn. I would definitely recommend this player to anyone. If you act now you can get it at BestBuy for $100.

I will update this review if anything changes.