Panasonic's e-wear Page 3

RealJukebox found a bunch of MP3 files on my hard drive that I'd previously ripped or transferred from the Internet, including the Olympics theme, "Call of the Champions," by John Williams, which I'd downloaded via the free music-sharing service LimeWire. When I tried to transfer it to the SD card, which was in the USB reader/ writer, I was told that the card wasn't formatted. That was curious, because I already had pictures and video clips on the card. I had the options of either formatting the whole card (which would have wiped it clean) or initializing it just for music. I chose the latter, which left my images and videos intact but let me transfer the Olympics theme and other tunes to the card. According to Panasonic, the formatting requirement ensures that all music - including any copy-protected, "secure" tracks that you download from the Internet - can be transferred as needed to the SD card.

Only song titles are listed on the LCD, and you use the jog lever to select one. No other information is displayed as the music plays. In fact, the screen goes dark within seconds of the music's start to preserve the battery. You can't scan through a song, but you can jump to the beginning of the next or previous track. You use the same jog lever to adjust the volume - but only after you press the mode button. The interface isn't especially intuitive, but I got used to it soon enough.

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery is removable, but it charges inside the AV10 - a process that takes about 11/2 hours. Panasonic claims you can use the AV10 for up to 11/2 hours before you need to recharge, but this will vary greatly depending on the application.

While it's clear that the AV10 doesn't function as well as a dedicated MP3 player or digital still camera or camcorder, combining some of their functions in such an invitingly tiny package using Internet-readly formats makes it a winner for saving life's experiences on the run. I found it invaluable for recording sound and motion postcards of Times Square - including the indoor Ferris Wheel at the new Toys-R-Us flagship store - creating a video e-mail recipe for fish florentine, capturing still images of a dinner celebrating a colleague's 25th anniversary on the job, producing a video e-mail on a park bench for a friend smitten with someone he had "met" on the Internet, and doing a just-in-time recording of a radio broadcast when I couldn't find a cassette recorder.

As a playback device, the SV-AV10 can jog your memory, uplift you with music, and be worn as a locket stowing a talking head of your beloved. Now I understand why Panasonic calls it "e-wear." In the three weeks I've used it, this versatile device has become so indispensable for work and pleasure that I feel naked going out without it.

Panasonic www.panasonic.com, 800-211-7262

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