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Subject: Re: What is the opinion on the best MP3 players now?
From: Björn Stenberg (bjorn_at_haxx.se)
Date: 2003-12-07


SteamShip wrote:
> I'm looking to get a new player, but cannot imagine why I would need the 20
> GB recorder model, unless it has a larger cache or much better features.

The recorders differ in more ways than just being able to record. The graphic display and improved button layout allows for many more features than the players have. Also you will find that they have a richer sound than the old 6000 model.

As for the "new" crop of players (last two years), I haven't really found one I'm attracted to:

- Ipod. Great size, nice screen, nice hardware (dual ARM7!). Lousy firmware (can't play gapless, can't even play long tracks). Zombie users that worship apple like a god and tries to claim all ipod bugs are actually clever features.

- Neuros. Promising start, claiming "open source" firmware. Has yet to deliver on that claim though. Nice 4-scale screen, otherwise outdated hardware, with USB 1.1 and large size. Requires special software to add tracks.

- iRiver iHP-120. Good size, nice remote with hi-res display. Good hardware with multi-codec ability. Horrible horrible interface. The "joystick" button on the main unit is nearly useless, and steering with it feels like trying to steer with the ON button on an Archos: You always press it down instead of sideways. Has buttons on tree sides(!) of the main unit and two sides of the remote, yet still resorts to "long press" and "short press" tricks in the user interface. Could have been a contender with better firmware if not for the useless navigation button.

- Creative Zen. It's a Creative product, what more can I say? They don't really want you to use their products, or at least so it seems by the ever more complex hoops they make their users jump through. Non-standard USB interface, requires special software to copy files etc etc...

- Rio Karma. I haven't played with this myself, only read reviews. Really nice size. Nice hardware, including ethernet. However requires a special program to load music and requires proprietary windows drivers to update the firmware.

I'm thinking of making a big ol' table listing information about all players that come out. Some info is really hard to find out (especially Ipod bugs).

-- 
Björn



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