Want Opinions on Portable MP3 Players (in Off-topic)

Xenko January 24 2005 9:16 PM EST

Hey All,

I'm contemplating buying an MP3 player, and I was wondering if I could get some feedback on which models are good, what I should look for, etc. I'd really appreciate feedback from people who own an MP3 player and have any pros/cons about the particular one they bought.

I am really looking for a non-flash memory player, so one with an internal hard-drive. I have looked into the following products and they form a short list (in no particular order) of ones that I am currently considering... if you have any suggestions, please let me know:
Apple iPod
Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen Xtra
Apple iPod Mini
Creative Zen Micro
iRiver H320


AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] January 24 2005 9:26 PM EST

This is my MP3 Player, it plays MP3 CDs, and has a great navigation system. The firmware is upgradable, and it has a EQ, and some other fancy stuff. I like it, only bad side is that it sucks batteries.

Xenko January 24 2005 9:27 PM EST

I'm not really looking for an MP3 CD player. I don't want to have to carry around CDs. I find it a big pain.

dnnx January 24 2005 9:36 PM EST

iPod, no contest

the shuffle is 99$ or 159$

the mini is $249
the iPod is [dont know]$

I got my sisters (21 & 12) the shuffle and they love it[one each not one for both :)]. Ive had my 40gb for a year and its sweet as well. cant go wrong with either.

AdminJonathan January 24 2005 9:36 PM EST

If you want to be able to plug your player into your computer and have it visible as an external hard disk, the only options are the ipod and iriver players. Everyone else uses odd filesystems that don't play well with Windows (or anything else).

Xenko January 24 2005 9:49 PM EST

Can you use the iPod to transfer non-music files from one computer to another?

Are there any difficulties using an iPod on a Windows based PC?

The only reason so far I am even considering other players is because of the included options available (FM radio etc.) I've heard that you can get attachments for the iPod that will enable radio etc., but of course that costs more money than it already is :)

The iRiver one sounds good... but it is really expensive, $500 CDN and I'm not sure if the extra cash is worth it or not.

And the new 20 GB iPod is $400 CDN, not sure what that is in USD, and really it doesn't matter since I live in Canada :D

AdminJonathan January 24 2005 10:02 PM EST

Transferring files is what I meant by using it as an external disk...

I have an iRiver hp-120, but I don't think the extra money for the color-screen version is worth it.

InebriatedArsonist January 24 2005 10:07 PM EST

Well, there's always the Neuros. It's a bit less known, but it has a hard drive and a few more unusual features.

QBsutekh137 January 24 2005 10:10 PM EST

here is another list:
i have an ipod and like it a lot. i know the Archos is decent too.

[EG] Almuric January 24 2005 10:24 PM EST

Being the computer guy in the family, I've gotten the 'What kind of computer should I get?" question more times than Todd has threatened to quit... ahem. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Anyway, I always followed that question with one of my own: "What do you want to do with it?" Same here. Can't answer your question without knowing what you want to do with it.

How much music do you want to store on it? Why hard-drive over flash? Know what a hard-drive model will never beat a flash-based player at? Battery life. My ipod shuffle lasts all day long. Over 12 hours.

Do you have an older PC? Do you not have Firewire or USB 2.0? Then you're gonna want a smaller unit or else transferring your songs will take forever.

Do you want to exercise with it? Get lost in the woods? Do you want it to look cool? Be a status symbol? There's just no way we can answer your question without more data.

Personally, the iShuffle is right for me. 8 hours of music lasts me all day. Making a new playlist for the next day is dead simple. I like the random playback and don't need a display. On my long jogs, I wear it on a lanyard around my neck and I don't even notice it's there. I've dropped it several times and it's so light I doubt you'd damage it if you dropped it on the sidewalk from a 5th floor window.

Plus, while making playlists, I'm rediscovering old favorites I haven't listened to in a while. Going through 10,000+ songs takes a while. It's a lot of fun picking and choosing what I'll listen to tomorrow or on my next run.

Well, that's my ad for my choice. Tell us more about what you plan on doing with it, and maybe we'll be able to provide better guidance.

Hapster January 24 2005 10:55 PM EST

I use a mini disc myself (only good if you need to make live recordings). ipods seem to be the most popular but I have heard a few people tell me they have had the battery die, which if it occurs after like 6 months, the warranty is dead and the battery is more expensive to replace than a new ipod. Just thought I'd share the warning, maybe someone else knows more about it than me.

Xenko January 24 2005 10:57 PM EST

Alright, let me try and answer all the questions.

First I want a hard drive because I want to store all my music on one device (and I am unaware of any flash players with the storage capabilities of hard drive devices). I find transferring a hassel, and if I want to listen to a song, I WANT to listen to the song, not think about how it's sitting at home on my PC. As for an actual number, somewhere between 4 and 20 GB would work fine. Anything over 20 GB would be overkill, and anything under 4 GB would not give me enough room for my music collection.

My PC is about 2 years old. I don't have Firewire but I do have USB 2.0.

I don't want to exercise with it. I want something that I can set playlists on, and something that I can fairly easily find any song I am looking for. I spend a lot of time commuting and working at places other than my home where I want to listen to music, so that would be its main function.

I don't really care if I get a status symbol yadda yadda from it. I want it to work, be reliable, and not break on me for no reason other than it hates me.

I hope that answered all the questions! :D

Xenko January 24 2005 10:59 PM EST

iPod is under warranty for 1 year, not 6 months. Someone I know just had the battery replaced after just under a year of use, and he just started to get the battery under the 50% mark needed for them to replace the battery under warranty (and he uses his iPod constantly).

Fishead January 24 2005 11:01 PM EST

I have a Rio Karma (20 gig HD) and I am very happy with it. The main drawback is lack of acessories(protective cases, inline remote), especially comapred to the ipod. But it comes with a dock that charges, has RCA jacks, and it works as a network drive with an ethernet connection on the dock. It will play WMA files and most others file types as well, the ipod will not play WMA files.

20 gigs is a lot of music. I suggest you use that space to rip higher quality music files, unless you really will listen to all the music you put on the player. I find that I don't listen to 75% of the music I have on the player. It's nice to know the music is there, but pointless if you don't listen to it. I really like my player, but in hind sight would have bought something physically smaller with less capacity. I think 5 gigs are enough for most. Also, it doesn't wok as an external HD without software, but than may not be of concern if you just want to listen to music. Check out the Rio Carbon and Rio Nitros. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another Rio product. The interface is as good if not better than the ipod, though not as slick, and the features that the Karma provides are on par if not better than the ipod.

One more thought, invest in a good set of headphones.

Mythology January 24 2005 11:03 PM EST

My girlfriend's mum amazingly got me a portable mp3 player, you just plug it into the USB port and its like a little 500MB hard drive. Put the files on you want music or other. Its not a leading brand in the slightest but Id look around for some cheaper options imo you dont have to buy expensive ones, others do the job aswell...

Xenko January 24 2005 11:17 PM EST

I currently have an old 128 MB MuVo flashplayer that can be plugged into the computer. The main problems with it are:
1) Lack of memory - 128 MB is way too small
2) Mine has no LCD display, and although the newer model do have the LCD display, again, refer to point 1

Although the hard drive feature of it is pretty cool and has come in handy on occaision.

dnnx January 25 2005 12:43 AM EST

the iPod mini does do the hard drive thing.
as well as the shuffle, of course the shuffle is smaller.

I have system utilities on my big iPod, as well as use it for moving files to different computers when there is no network.

its a Tax write -off you know :)

QBJohnnywas January 25 2005 6:35 AM EST

Just a quick one - somebody said the iPod doesn't play WMA files. Well, the UK version does so I would presume US and Canadian ones do now. It's a new(ish) feature. UK iPods have a sound limiter on them. They play at a much lower volume to US versions - so it might be wise to check standards for volume levels.

QBJohnnywas January 25 2005 6:39 AM EST

Oh and to echo somebody else in this post - if you go iPod get some decent headphones - the iPod ones are horrible!

Cranium Basher January 25 2005 8:54 AM EST


I've got the little Jon signature ones, well worth the money. But I doubt your looking to spend $500+, Just thought I would be the first to point them out to you.

Xenko January 25 2005 10:25 AM EST

But TNO, if I got those:
*starts singing*
I wear my sunglasses at night...
*stops singing as wine glasses started shattering*

Anyways they are way too expensive, and not what I am looking for. :D A cool idea though.

Zoglog[T] [big bucks] January 25 2005 10:37 AM EST

The Creative Labs Zen Touch can store files just like a hard drive but can only be opened and viewed when on a PC. I have a Zen Touch and much prefer it to the Apple ipod especially due to being slightly cheaper.
File types shouldn't be a problem but if that desperate then should be fine temprarily modifying until you reach the other end but from what I know it holds all types of files just doesn't play them :).

AdminJonathan January 25 2005 10:39 AM EST

no, the Zen and Rios do NOT store things "just like a hard drive." You have to install special drivers to view files, and even then you can't just use stuff from the player, you have to copy it to your computer, then copy it back afterwards.

Zoglog[T] [big bucks] January 25 2005 10:46 AM EST

As I understood all Kultur wanted was to be able to transport files from one place to another which a Zen can do.
I would not have suggested it if he wanted to view them from the drive itself.

AdminJonathan January 25 2005 11:28 AM EST

What you understood Kultur to want has nothing to do with the accuracy of your statement.
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