Review: Olympus m:robe not an ‘iPod killer,’ fails on more than one level

“Olympus blew oodles of cash on a splashy Super Bowl Sunday commercial for its new m:robe 500i, a combination music player and digital camera with 20 gigabytes of storage. People danced and pranced around, grooving to music and snapping photos that seemed to herald the age of convergence,” Ron Harris reports for The Associated Press.

“But the m:robe 500i (think “m” for music, “robe” for wardrobe, say Olympus hipsters) fails on more than one level. When you converge lackluster media delivery into one device, you essentially get a shiny brick,” Harris reports. “Everything Olympus has done this time around is stylish, indeed. But I’ll take function over form more often than not and neither m:robe measures up to other players on the market.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Not a glowing review. So much for Olympus’ “iPod Killer.” The bath, errr, m:robe needs much work it seems before it kills anything except good reviews.


  1. ‘m:robe’! Hah! What a joke. I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing one of those things. Are you keeding me? Come on, what do I look like? And what the hell is an ‘Olympus hipster’? Isn’t that an oxymoron, like ‘Chris Gorog’ and ‘CEO’. I’ve seen better devices in the proctologists office. You remember — I had to go that time I had the plastic dog toy stuck up my butt! But seriously, I didn’t know that Olympus was big on quality these days. The last camera I bought from them didn’t stand up to the bodyguard beating it took when I tried to snap a picture of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s pet toy poodle. Of course, I think the lens cracked earlier in the evening when I snuck a quick pic of her cat. Let me tell you — not a pretty pussy.

    Hey, I keed, I keed.

  2. Did I see the interface wrong on the commercial or do you really touch the screen to manipulate music?

    Wouldn’t that leave the screen nasty and finger-printed when you’re trying to see your pictures?

    I can only say that seeing one didn’t make me want one.


  3. As more and more “iPod Killers” crash and burn, it becomes more and more evident how really very difficult it is to come up with superior industrial design. Jonathan Ive rules.

  4. I like the product idea. Like the iPod photo only with a camera. It’s compared to the iPod just because it can also play music, otherwise it seems a natural progression in the digital camera market. Now if Kodak were to make a hard drive camera, I might be interested (and wouldn’t really care if it played music).

  5. They had one set up…the one with and without the screen. I actually liked the little one, but I’m also one of those people that miss the light up buttons of the 3G iPod). This is only based on the looks of it though.

    They did almost hit stylish and simple interface on the head for their music player. Their camera combo one left something to be desired though.

  6. Check out the flash site. Click on the “poplockin'” link then choose “battle” or “groove” — coolest thing I’ve seen lately.

    The product looks like it might have a chance: maybe something Paris Hilton would go for; certainly a better hand-held porn machine than an iPod photo. Hmm … wonder if the screen is washable….

  7. This music player with a camera (the $500 version) is going to be one of those things that people will accidentally buy, thinking they’re getting a souped-up iPod. Then they take a picture with it (using the 1.2 Megapixel camera) and the only screen that it really appears well on is right there, but oops – it’s all smudged and scratched by fingers using the music player. Those photos won’t print well at any resolution, either, except maybe thumbnails. Where’s the good in that?

    Then they’ll return it and get a real camera and a real iPod. Olympus may be ahead of the curve in this respect, but they sure don’t see the cliff with no guardrail as they round the bend…

    Who wants to pay $500 for a 1.2 Megapixel camera? Not me. No sirree.

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