Pono Portable Digital Music Player - Exceptional audio, unfortunate design
The Pono Portable Music Player is at its best when sitting on a surface, pumping music down some high quality headphones in balanced mode. At this point, it’s perfection. It’s only when you start navigating your library or try to use it while portable that it feels worst than other Digital Audio Players in its price range. We really like the Pono, its audio nirvana and it look different, we just wouldn’t carry it around with us.
The Top Questions for the Pono Portable Music Player:
How are you supposed to put this in your pocket?
Firstly, the Pono Portable isn’t big. It will easily fit in your pocket, and you have the added advantage of never accidentally breaking it while sitting down due to the awkward shape and thickness. Secondly, if you’re buying this for music on the go then it’s not ideal. It’s heavy and has an unreasonably short battery life. The Pono Portable is best when positioned on a surface and part of a home system.
What is special about this Digital Audio Player?
This has audio quality which is off the charts! When in balanced mode it sounds better than the Astell & Kern Jr which we rated as 5 out of 5. The Digital to Analogue converter is exceptional also. If you want audiophile quality, this could be the solution for you.
Why should I buy the Pono and not an iPod?
The iPod is better at being portable, and if you’re using an iPod Touch and have access to WiFi you’ll have connectivity to all the apps, media and streaming services you want. If you want the very best audio quality and have access to Hi-Res audio files, or want to convert digital to analogue then the Pono is for you. If you’re all about audio, and audio quality the Pono is for you.
Does it have a headphone amp and DAC?
Yes to both. The Pono does include a built in Ayre amplifier that will power headphones up to around 300 ohms without issue. The Pono also runs balanced inputs which split the audio to multiple amplifiers, essentially multiplying the output. As the circuitry is built by Ayre it is of the highest quality and this includes the Digital Audio Converter.
Where can I find a review video for the Pono Portable Music Player?
Is this Pono Portable Music Player on sale at Amazon.com?
Right now you can buy the Pono Portable Music Player on Amazon.
Does this play live concert tracks seamlessly without gaps?
The term is Gapless audio and the Pono Portable Music Player does support it.
Can I use my iTunes library on this?
The Pono supports almost every audio type. You can move audio from iTunes to the Pono but you cannot do it via Syncing the device. You’ll need to drag and drop the audio.
I know it comes with 64gb internal storage, but can I add more?
There is a micro-SD card slot which you can add 64gb or 128gb cards. As support continues the new 200gb micro-SD cards will probably be supported as originally only the 64gb cards worked.
Can I load my PC based WAV files via USB?
Yes. The Pono works like any removable storage when connected to a computer. When first installed the software scans your computer and adds your existing music to its library. If you are quick, you can turn off the auto import and manually import titles! Once connected you will see the Pono’s internal storage, and any micro-SD card you have installed. You can drag and drop to or from either of them. Through this method you can add WAV files, FLAC files and any other supported file types including podcasts and audio books.
Is Pono Music a subscription service?
The Pono Music store is not a subscription service. With the Pono Portable you get a copy of Pono Nusic World software and you can use this to manage, play or buy music from ponomusic.com.
Where can I find an unboxing video for the Pono Portable Music Player?
Does the Pono have WiFi or Bluetooth for streaming?
No to both. To connect to your car or speakers you’ll need specialist cables. The goal with the Pono Portable is audio nirvana and streaming via Bluetooth doesn’t give the highest quality. If you want portable music, or connectivity and audio streaming the Pono is not for you.
Can you play the unit while charging?
Yes, the Pono will play while charging. The only time it won’t play is during data transfer via USB. As the Pono only really gives 4 hours of portable play time and takes 4 hours to charge fully, it’s a good job you can charge and play simultaneously.
What do Pono Music say about their Audio Player?
- Plays high-resolution music files and other formats better than any portable device.
- Ayre Acoustics DAC
- Supports FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, Unprotected AAC, DSD
- Lossless playback up to 192/24 bit
- 64GB internal memory
Where can I find a video overview of the Pono Portable Music Player?
What are the main Pros and Cons of this Music Player?
- Better audio quality than the our 5 star rated Astell & Kern Jr.
- The DAC is exceptional.
- Gapless audio is perfect after system update.
- Balanced mode via the multiple amps takes audio quality to another level.
- The interface and navigation is problematic.
- Just because you can carry it, doesn’t make it portable.
- Awful battery performance considering how long it takes to charge.