October 13, 2006


So I need some advice. I'm in the market for a new MP3 player. My year-and-a-half-old Rio (1.5gigs) isn't really cutting it anymore. Its display, while once a handy feature, has started causing trouble, mostly at night due to the failure of its backlight: I can no longer see the screen in the dark. This is distressing, mostly because literally half of the time I usually spend listening to my music is at night, on the way home from orchestra.

I had a new player all lined up for my wishlist for Christmas (can't yet afford it), but then I ran into a snag: a whole bunch of new players came out that look ... well, tempting is about the right word for it. The first player was, obviously, the iPod Nano, recently redesigned for longer battery life and a better screen. I loved the idea of it - bright full-color screen, the large (4gig) capacity, the ability to use it to view pictures AND listen to music ... it seemed to have it all.

Then microsoft came out with their new Zune MP3 player, complete with built-in wi-fi, and it got me thinking: what is it I really want? I ran across this Sony product today, called a "mylo" (My Life Online). It includes all the usual mp3 features, but also has built-in wi-fi, a QWERTY keyboard for the instant-messaging and email features, and picture capabilities. And it just looks so shiny! The downside is that it's a bit more expensive than any other players, and I'd have to buy a memory stick if I wanted any serious data storage for the video capabilities.

Then I started searching the SONY website, and a funny thing happened: I discovered two more mp3 players for consideration, both new on the market. This one is a smallish-size player, yet contains a three-line stylish color screen and noise-cancellation technology. With 1 gig and 2 gig models and a built-in radio, it seems a good buy, costing about the same as an ipod of the same size. And it claims a 50-hour battery life, something the iPod is sorely lacking, despite the latest power upgrades.

The other model I discovered was this 8 gig beauty, full color screen, and has a comparable battery life (if not better) than the iPod. The kicker is, I could buy this thing for the same price as a 4gig iPod Nano.

And so I ask your help: give me your top choice (or another player, if you have a favorite), and pros and cons if you can think of any.

And no, "just because it's apple" is not a valid pro (or con).


Greg said...

Dude. Just get an iPod. Actually... you should get the 30GB iPod. For only $50 more than the 4GB one (so, for $249) you can get 30GB instead of 4, and you can play video type files on a bigger screen (though, still not that big...). Much better deal.

BUT, if you just don't want something that big, the Nano is amazingly cool. The 4GB one is only $199. That's pretty good for about 1000 songs. Plus photos and stuff on the cool full color screen.

And finally, if you just need a couple hundred songs... the iPod shuffle is super neato. It is so incredibly small. Seriously. It's tiny. Has a built in clip... I think it's meant for athletic types who want to wear it while running/jogging or what have you. Those are 1GB for $79.

As far as batteries... the nano & shuffle have 24 hr batteries... isn't that enough? cause ... you just charge it every night when you get home? and the iPod has gotten better, but the video screen does take up lots of battery to be sure.

OK, well... you knew I would say that. :-)
You can get your iPod at bwd-graphics.com/apple when you're ready...


Chris said...

I did know you'd be the first to espouse the virtues of an iPod. I liked the nano because it's small and lightweight, and the normal iPods aren't. The freakin' shuffle is a dumb idea, why would I want to have a tiny mp3 player that won't let me control the order of the songs? Plus, come on, who needs video on those things, there's no point in squinting when I have a laptop that's far better.

Maybe I don't need to be able to do pictures (one of my two main reasons for the iPod nano) since I have my PDA. The iPod nano has the accessories though, my favorite being this caribbeaner case that you can clip to your belt. I'm a sucker for caribbeaners. I do think that the noise-cancellation sony player might have a caribbeaner case though, so I'm leaning that direction at the moment.

Sarah said...

See, here I am, once again being the rebel to Mac stuff. I'd rather see you get the Sony or the Microsoft mp3 players. I like the idea of the Mylo - something I'd be drooling over, too. However, you need to know whatit is you're really getting it for - just music, or something a bit more?
The one thing I really want to stress, though, is to check out whether or not the battery is able to be taken out of the product you're using. If it's a built-in battery that can only be replaced through the company, don't get it. You'll just spend more money replacing the battery in the long run.

Good luck with your choices, bro!

Sarah said...

oh yeah - the SanDisk stuff is also really good - check out their stuff, too. Just to make your choice even harder :)

Chris said...

Sarah - The standard on mp3 players now is a factory-installed rechargeable lithium-ion battery. While the iPod used to have issues with that, it doesn't any longer. Actually, they stopped making mp3 players that use removeable batteries (like standard AA) because as the capacity of the players increases, so do the power requirements. AA batteries just don't cut it anymore, but it's highly impractical to make the Lithium batteries removeable, hence they are built-in.

In fact, the only time you can find mp3 players with AA batteries are the cheap brands that have capacities of 512mb or less.

Chris said...

And yet sis, I eat my words. Sandisk does in fact make a rather attractive looking 4gig flash-drive enabled mp3 player with a user-removeable lithium battery. And it costs less than an iPod or a Sony player. AND it has an expansion slot for additional memory. AND an FM tuner. AND 20 hours of battery life, and it's conceivable that you could buy a second backup battery.

... oh yes, me likey.

Greg said...

Hey, that does look pretty cool. I love the integration of iTunes (and iPhoto, for photo management) and the iPod, along with the user interface of the iPod. So, if the SanDisk one is similar looks like a great option.

I really like the user-replaceable, rechargeable battery. That's great.

BIG problem... it's only for Windows. Why would they do that? Apple makes the iPod for Mac/Windows... why would they cut themselves off from a potential market with Mac users? That seems really odd to me. I guess it's just the DRM-ed stuff. Apple won't share their FairPlay stuff and for some reason WMedia DRM (not the standard WM files) are not compatible with Mac OS. That really makes no sense to me.

Anyway, here are some links:
page at SanDisk
Review at MSNBC: Sansa e280

Chris said...

Wow ... I like the MSN review of the Sandisk player. I think I want to check them all out in person, just because of the reviewer's comment about the size of the interface buttons. I too have large fingers, so I think it would get frustrating if I had to use my nail to advance the tracks all the time. Perhaps I'll find my way into an electronics store today and further investigate the matter ...

And Greg, I too think it a shame that Apple and the various PC companies are so exclusive with their music. I'm pretty sure it's because of the protection-encoding that is forced on them by the music industry - as if they don't make enough money, they have to make sure that not a single track can be ripped without their knowledge. Not that it's hard to go around that problem (already figured out how with iTunes), but still ... the music industry has become selfish, like the rest of the media world. Bloody shame.