Article, June 2006
Victorinox Do Everything USB, MP3 Swiss Army Knife
By Ira Wilsker,
APCUG Director; Columnist, The Examiner, Beaumont, TX; Radio & TV Show Host
Iwilsker( at )apcug.net (click to email author)
Hey dads! With Father’s Day fast approaching, maybe you should get copies of this article, and leave the copies at strategic places around the house where key members of the family are likely to see them. Dads are often hard to buy gifts for, and all too often end up with that ubiquitous neck tie that typically works its way into the back of the closet, and eventually accidentally falls into the bag headed for the rummage sale. Maybe instead of the well intended, but often useless gift that we dads sometimes receive, perhaps a really fun high tech gift would be more appropriate.
The most intriguing item that I have seen, that would make a fantastic gift for dad on his special day, is a combination Victorinox Swiss Army Knife, USB flash drive, FM stereo radio, voice recorder, and remote control MP3 player, manufactured and distributed by Swissbit (http://www.swissbit.com ). Named the “S.Beat”, this device is true to the multi-function traditions of the classical Swiss army knife, but with a modern twist. Externally, it looks like an aluminum scaled Swiss army knife, complete with the white cross logo, sharp knife blade, spring opening scissors, and nail file. Internally, it contains a removable USB 2.0 high speed flash drive (available in 1 GB, 2 GB, and 4 GB capacities) that also contains an MP3 player, FM stereo radio, voice recorder, and rechargeable lithium polymer battery. A separate remote control also bears the trademarked Victorinox white cross logo, and contains an earphone jack, volume and track controls, and power on and off. The remote control can be worn around the neck with the included lanyard. For international travelers, the built-in lithium polymer battery can be recharged using the included “USB World Charger”, which can handle voltages from 110v to 220v, and is compatible with the outlets in over 150 countries. The battery, which may take up to 2.5 hours to fully charge, will power the player for about eight hours. The tiny FM radio can be preset to listen to up to 15 stations, and the MP3 player (which also supports WMA and OGG Vorbis formats) has a three line backlit high-contrast display.
Victorinox and Swissbit have taken the flying traveler into mind with this device which has earned a “FlySmart” logo. Since the knife and scissors component would be banned on commercial airline flights, but many travelers would still like to listen to the MP3 player, the player itself can be separated from the knife, maintaining full functionality. The knife portion of the device can then be appropriately placed in the checked luggage, and can be reunited with the player at the destination.
This device is simply amazing, fitting all of the components in a standard sized Swiss army knife about three inches long, half an inch wide, and about, three-quarters of an inch thick, and weighs a scant three ounces. The box containing the S.Beat included the knife and MP3 player unit, remote control, high quality stereo headphones with neck strap, a protective cap (covers the USB plug when the player is removed from the knife), arm strap for outdoor sports activities, USB extension cable, USB world charger, instruction book, and CD containing the software utilities.
Since this device is just being introduced in this country, but has been available in Europe for a while, it is something that dad will find both unique and exclusive. It should be available shortly at any retailer stocking a large assortment of Victorinox products, but is currently available from several online sources. The version with the 1 GB capacity has a retail price of $189, with some domestic outlets offering this S.Beat at a small discount. The larger capacity 2 GB and 4 GB models were recently introduced in Europe, and should be available shortly in this country.
Being so new on the market, there have only been a few reviews published, but they have been universally positive. One such published review is quite representative of the several that I found. It says, “Fantastic product! Beautiful metal finish, sturdy and compact. The included headphones are top-notch - no need to spend another 50 bucks for a real pair like with all other players you buy nowadays. Sound quality will blow you away, menu user interface is comprehensive yet simple and intuitive to use/learn. Didn't even have to read the manual. And best of all; it works without some special drivers or software. Just use what you're used to for your audio and data files.”
Come to think of it, maybe we should not wait until Father’s Day; maybe we should not only consider this extremely useful gadget for dad, but mom, and our new graduates as well. In fact, this would make a great gift for anyone special, including yourself!
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