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  1. #1
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    Durability and reliability?

    Hi

    Been searching for an MP3 player which can download photos directly from a camera, and got myself thoroughly confused. In the end, abandoned that idea, and now just searching for a good quality easy to use machine.

    A few of my mates at work have the iPod 80GB and I think it's an impressive machine. However, I want a radio as well and I think it stinks that Apple charges so much for an FM tuner which to my mind should be standard.

    Also, I am worried about the fragility of the hard drive, and am now thinking of getting a flash based unit, even if it hasn't got the same capacity, and which has a radio already built in.

    I would be very interested in any experiences you've had regarding:
    • durability
    • ease of use
    • ability to play different formats
    • anything else a confused newbe should know.
    Thanks in advance

    Stanley

  2. #2
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    a few choices..

    I assume since you mention the iPod, you're also looking for video playback and subscription support. If you want a player with similar capabilities to the 80gb iPod but with flash memory and smaller, the Cowon D2 and latest gen iRiver Clix should be on your list. Both are similar to each other in form and function with a couple notable differences: the D2 has an sd slot for added storage but lacks Audible support. The Clix supports Audible content but lacks an sd slot. Both are tiny players with touch screens almost as large as the players. I haven't used the Clix but have owned two other iRiver players and can attest to their durability, solid engineering and good customer support in the way of firmware upgrades. I bought the D2 but returned it a few days later. I didn't do my homework and mistakenly believed a cnet review that said it was Audible compatible. Further, it's not a player for those looking for simple and straight forward audio playback. Navigating the touch screen interface was annoyingly time consuming (unlike my trustworth Rio Carbon). This isn't necessarily a problem with the D2 but if you're looking for straightforward and fast navigation and your focus is mostly audio, the D2 and Clix may not be for you. Another solid state player (similar in form and function to the iPod) that should be on your list are the Sandisk E200 series. Lastly, I wouldn't worry too much about the fragility of hard drive players. I've owned probably half a dozen hard drive players and never had a problem (not with the hard drive at least). Most notably, I've owned several Rio Carbons (long discontinued). They have a couple weaknesses but the hard drives have proven to be incredibly durable and 100% reliable.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Bubbagump

    A most comprehensive reply, and a number of things to think about. Most grateful for that.

    No. You said "I assume since you mention the iPod, you're also looking for video playback and subscription support".

    I am not considering video, only audio, podcasts and photographs. Don't know much about the diferences of varoious available units yet. Large capacity is tempting, however, since one fellow at work with the 80GB has put his entire CD collection on his plus photos. My music listening habits are quite catholic, extending from popular, some rock, jazz and classical. There are a number of symphonies and concertos I wouldn't mind having on tap in their entirety for when the desire strikes. High capacity is tempting, but I would be willing to compromise on capacity if other areas were of higher quality, eg playback quality. Also, I listen to FM a lot, so an inbuilt tuner would be a big plus. I only mentioned the iPod because that is the unit that almost every body I know owns, and from whta I've seen of their capability (except for the lack of extras such as radio) I am impressed with. I will continue my exploration for a while longer before making a choice.

    By the way, have you seen the latest Samsung? I have just come across a review on Cnet.

    Your comment about the hard drives is reasuring - I will put that type of MP3 back on my list for consideration.

  4. #4
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    iPod..

    Based on your comments, I'd have have to say the 80gb iPod is probably the best choice. The interface is the defacto standard and the form factor is as good as it gets. There are other good high capacity players but the gen 5.5 iPod is something you'll probably be most comfortable with. It doesn't have an fm tuner but if you're looking for specific radio programming rather than random programming, you can always record fm programming and listen to it later on your iPod. I use Audio Hijack Pro on a mac to capture NPR and Sirius programming. It works much like a Tivo - very little interaction once it's set up. My only problem with the iPod is the durability. I've owned (still own) a 2nd gen and a 4th gen iPod. The battery issues are no joke in my experience. I read that this is no longer an issue with 5th gen and above however. I was at an Apple store recently and had to wait an hour to work with one of their techs. As I sat waiting by the 'Genius' counter, there was a never ending stream of people waiting to have their iPod's fixed. In the hour I sat there, there must have been 15 or more people with non-working iPods. The techs mostly took them and issued rma's to replace or repair them. This is one of the few products I'd recommend an extended warranty for. If the iPod still doesn't do it for you, The Creative Labs Vision W has been getting good reviews. Creative routinely gets among the best reviews for sound quality. The Vision W is a video-centric player with a wide screen. It also has an FM tuner. It also has a compact flash slot for easy photo transgfers and Tivo to Go which I find interesting. Personally, I find the larger capacity players too much for what I need. I've found that as long as I have a player with a minimum of 4gb's, good sound, bookmarking, Audible support, ums support and small size, I'm good to go. Lastly, the Samsung players look great on paper. I haven't used one but took a look at the local box store display. The one I looked at had a 4gb capacity and appeared to be very well made. I think it had an oled display as well. Nice form factor. It had Audible support I noticed - a requirement as far as I'm concerned.
    Last edited by bubbagump; 04-30-2007 at 04:57 PM.

  5. #5
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    i think bubbagump got some great suggestions. if you want something durable. get some flash momery based player. the 80gb ipod is a hard disk based player.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Guys

    Excellent insights. I'm beginning to think now that the really high capacity units may be overkill for my requirements, especially as I have abandoned the idea of using one as a photo storage device while travelling. Sound quality and durablity plus radio are at the top of my priorities. I'm leaning now towards a unit between 4 to 8GB. 2 would probably be too small. For example, I have downloaded the entire Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy radio program, and that alone is over 1 Gig.

  7. #7
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    Just discovered the iRiver X20

    At least on paper looks like what I'm looking for. Flash memory, up to 8GB, memory can be expanded by means of a memory card extension slot, and has a radio.

  8. #8
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    For flash players, the Sandisk Sansa players are the best I've used, and of course they have FM tuners built in (at least all the ones I had did but make sure the newest ones also do before buying)

    For hard drive players, the Zune is hard to beat although they don't make an 80gig version. But for music and photos it's top notch. The Zune Pass will change the way you listen to music...for the price of one full CD you can download UNLIMITED songs. I've downloaded over 60 gigs of new music (onto my computer) for a mere $15. They are also higher bitrate than what iTunes offers so they sound great.

    Of course the Zune having the largest screen of any MP3 player also makes it perfect for photos!

    So, for flash...Sansa. For HDD..Zune.

  9. #9
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    I have also heard good things about the Sansa players

    I saw them advertised by a local dealer, so I think I'll check them out this weekend.

    I still haven't ruled out hard disk players entirely, and will have a closer look at the Zen and Toshiba models - the Zune doesn't seem to be in stock in my neck of the woods. My wife wants one too, so I might end up buying two, though not necessarily the same brands or types. She's not as fussy as I am - fashion and looks are more important to her, so I might get her the Samsung K3 in red.

    I still have a bit of time for research - going to Europe in August and intend to buy duty free.

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