Top critical review
Using the Folder view with no music management, the A26TB is working well enough for me.
November 3, 2018
I have two AGPTek players, the A26TB and the GO5S. This review targets the A26TB, but probably applies to all of the numerous and different AGPTek devices in this category. The A26TB and GO5S are basically the same size, offer the same features and they use a similar underlying navigation and menu system. I'm guessing all current AGPTek devices are essentially the same and this review could apply equally to all of them. The problems and capabilities described below were the same for both devices.
If you can figure out how to make them work for you, the AGPTek devices can be great. The current marketplace is flooded with half-baked bluetooth players that no one loves and its impossible to find a sub $100 player that is a completed fully-functioning product. AGPTek is no exception, but I've found the way to make it work for me and so, for me, its a great device, light as a feather with sound quality that is "good" and much better than the Sansa Clip+.
When you start the device and select "Music", you may then select "Artists", "Albums" or "Genres". Though my music is carefully tagged and organized in folders, these "Music" categories yield lists of long and completely disorganized music files impractical to navigate. When I connected the device to bluetooth headphones, mp3 files would only play in one ear but flac files would play clearly in both ears. I tried various encoding and conversion strategies and could not get mp3 files to play in both ears. I also tried aac format and could never hear any sound from the aac files.
Maybe the firmware needs to be updated? I found firmware downloads on AGPTek's web site and only the GO5S firmware had been updated with two un-important changes after a year from the previous firmware release "long press the return button 2S to back to the home menu" and "Add the function of playing FM Radio in the background". I don't believe AGPTek are earnestly developing firmware updates for these devices. A notable short-coming of AGPTek's firmware is that they are published as .exe files that must executed through a Windows operating system.
I tried using the "playlists" feature to show organized lists of my music files, but "no files found". Through trial and error I found two things were needed to make playists usable for the A26TB. First, I needed to add windows-specific line endings to the playist files, using a utility called "unix2dos". Second, I needed to list each music file with a windows-style path that included the folder name, for example "music.flac" needed to be "folder\music.flac", even though playists and music files share the same folder.
After playlists were working I encountered more issues. When the device first reads a playlist, the last file in the playlist isn't listed by the A26TB. I tried adding white-space to the playlist and succeeded in getting the full playlist to appear, but from this point selecting flac files from the playlist would only show "format not supported" or something like that. I repeated this behaviour with other folders and playlists and would always see "format not supported" when trying to play flac files. Music selected from the playlist would not play, but music selected from outside the playlist would play.
A decent work-around for these issues is to use the "Folder view" from the main menu. The Folder view lists folder contents in a logical alphabetical way and flac files selected there are playable :). Using the Folder view with no music management features, the A26TB is working well enough for me.
I wish AGPTek would finish the software for these devices. The hardware gives a great sound in a small size with nice buttons and a cool looking screen. The software falls short and prevents these devices from reaching their full amazing potential.