At this time of year, many of us start to panic when we run out of time and find ourselves not knowing what to buy from the youngest in our lives. Technology can be a random buy, and it’s easy to go wrong. However, I think I have found a little gadget that will appeal to teenagers etc who love tech and music but may not have enough data to stream Spotify or have a smartphone with very little memory space on which to store music files. If this sounds like someone you know, you might consider getting them this cute little Shanling music player.
The Shanling M0 is a tiny music player weighing just 33g and made of aluminum and smaller than a matchbox. It is available in black, red, blue, titanium, and purple finishes, and can handle just about any music file format, including DSD. This amazing little reader sports a color touchscreen measuring 1.5 inches and with a resolution of 240×240 pixels. It stores files on MicroSD cards and can handle card sizes up to 512GB. The M0 even supports Bluetooth aptX, AAC and LDAC codecs and has an ESS Saber ES9218P DAC at its core, which is why it sounds pretty good.
Like many rechargeable electronic devices these days, the Shanling M0 uses a USB C connection to charge its built-in lithium-ion battery. It takes a few hours to fully charge the empty battery, then the MO is good for up to 15 hours of playing time. The screen is a brightly colored square that is also tactile. Shanling has developed her own mini operating system called MTouch, which uses a combination of swipes and squeezes to move around and display screens and select the options on offer. There is a power button on the right side of the device that starts the M0 and it doubles as a volume control, functioning much like a watch winder.
At the bottom of this miniature music player, there is a USB C port which is used to charge the battery and can also be used to transfer music files to the device or it can even be configured to work as an external DAC if you download the correct driver from the Shanling website. In addition to the USB port, there is a standard 3.5mm stereo jack for headphones with an impedance ranging from 8 to 300 Ω. On the left of the device, there is a small rubber cover that can be pulled out to one side to reveal a slot that can accommodate a MicroSD card with a capacity of up to 512 GB, which is a significant amount. music storage.
Holding the power switch down for a few seconds reveals a set of controls including Now Playing, My Music, a folder explorer, playback settings, and general settings. The screen is quite responsive although I have found that it sometimes takes a few taps to make it react. Selecting the My Music icon gives access to all the usual choices of songs, albums, genres, favorites, etc., just like any other music player. The little device can display the album artwork and I was able to copy my entire iTunes music library from my MacBook Pro to a MicroSD card, and once I slipped the card into the reader and scanned the music files, I was ready to go. Even the illustrations that I had stored on my iTunes were showing correctly on the screen.
The sound of the Shanling M0 is surprisingly good for such a small device. The amplifier might be a bit underpowered, but that means you just need to crank things up a bit. There is a graphic EQ for customizing the tone, but I found the M0’s flat response setting to be quite correct and the sound was even better without using the EQ function. There is also an option to pair bluetooth headphones and I really liked that the Shanling lets you choose which codec you want to use.
Skipping, pausing, or repeating music is a simple matter of pressing the forward or back arrows that appear on the screen when it is active. Alternatively, you can assign a frequently used function, such as skip or pause, to the power switch in the form of double clicks or triple clicks. It’s a handy little feature, which is essential on such a small device.
The M0’s screen displays an overlay of software controls to control music as well as select Shuffle or mark a track as a favorite. Swiping takes you to the next screen which displays a progress time bar next to a large + that allows you to add any song to a playlist. There is also an Info button which accesses all the track information stored in the ID tags. Next to that is a shortcut to the graphic equalizer for adjusting the tone controls. Finally, there is a third screen which can display the lyrics of a song if you have stored them with your music.
The small size of this device turned out to be a bit tricky for my adult hands and would probably be fine for a youngster with more nimble fingers. I especially found the volume control a bit difficult to use but the sound quality was excellent and not tinny at all. I was very impressed with the detail that this little reader can produce. With a suitably decent pair of headphones, the Shanling M0 is able to reproduce music superbly. The Shanling Mo would be a perfect music player to keep in a car. It can be connected to car or home stereo using stereo patch cable or using bluetooth function to stream music to car audio system. It’s an affordable device to leave in the glove box and free up valuable space on your smartphone.
Verdict: Shanling is a relatively new player in the consumer tech market, but the quality of its products places it above most other manufacturers in mainland China. The M0 is a nifty little device that’s so cute that I guarantee you’ll want to own one once you’ve handled it and heard it play. The sound quality is exceptional considering its small size. The MTouch operating system that Shanling has developed to control all of its music players is very usable and incredibly intuitive. The M0 comes with a USB C cable for charging and data transfer, but there is no case to protect the reader; maybe Shanling could consider consolidating a case in future expeditions. The Shanling M0 is a premium small music player that would make a great gift for the teenager in your life or anyone who spends time listening to music through headphones. It is ideal for the gym, long walks or just for playing music on long car trips.
Prices: £ 99 $ 109 / € 109.
Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2zLGBM4
Amazon US – https://amzn.to/2AY3gEL
Hifi Headphones – https://bit.ly/2QeWjJP
- Dimensions: 40x35x45mm
- Screen: 1.54 inch 240 x 240 touch screen
- Weight: 33g
- DAC: ESS Saber ES9218P
- Playing time: about 15 hours
- Deep standby: about 30 days
- Charging time: about 2 hours
- Battery capacity: 640mAh lithium battery
- Storage: up to 512 GB MicroSD
- Audio output: 3.5mm stereo jack
- Output power: 80 mW @ 32
- Output impedance: 0.16
- Degree of channel separation: 70 dB
- Recommended earphone impedance: 8-300Ω
- Frequency range: 20Hz ~ 20kHz (-0.5dB)
- Distortion: 0.004% (A-weighted, 500mV output)
- Signal to noise ratio: 118 dB (A-weighted)
- Background noise:
- Colors: Black, Red Blue, Titanium, Purple