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IPOD vs the rest

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by BWA, Aug 1, 2005.

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  1. BWA

    BWA
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    Hi there.

    Hopefully this isnt a duplicate thread... I'm looking to buy an MP3 player, and am trying to decide between an IPOD or the others. Everyone seems to rave about the IPOD but I hear that they crash a lot.... but then compared to the other MP3 players out there ive heard they are still better by a long chalk. Particularly as the IPOD is much easier to navigate and use.

    Id really appreciate peoples views on this. Are any of the other MP3 players near the IPOD?

    Cheers
     
  2. extremelydodgy

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    You're essentially right. As a package of software and hardware, the iPod is very hard to beat if you just want an MP3 player, and not a voice recorder, radio, kitchen sink, etc.


    I have/had the iAudio M3 (X5 is arriving), Sony HD1/3/5, Creative Zen/Touch/Jukebox 3, Toshiba Gigabeat, Rio Karma, iRiver H10/H1xx/H3xx, and more. And yet I still walk around with an iPod almost every day.


    This isn't because I buy into the look of it (fed up with white lozenges honestly) but because it's the least hassle to use and the most versatile in terms of music loading from my large library, as well as the best balance of sound quality and portability when certain problems on the iPod are dealt with.


    From my point of view, the Rio Karma is the only player to date which comes close to the iPod, and improves upon it in certain respects.


    It depends on what your priorities are. Mine are sound quality (and with a higher impedance phone like my Qualia headphones the iPod fully delivers in this respect, outclassing the likes of the Sony and iRiver) and usability as a music player... and I've been curious enough to buy, not try, the competition so that I'm sure I've got the best for my needs. However there are occasions in which I want a change, so I've kept a variety of other players.


    Other people will have different priorities. Some put more importance into features. Others in perceived value for money. Others into not being an iPod. So what do you want? You'll have to start from there.
     
  3. pop_disaster86

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    I've owned a 3G iPod for ages now, I first got it Xmas 2003. They are amazing bits of kit, but the unfortunate thing is that they are just not made very well. iTunes is a superb music managing program, and the iPod is brilliantly designed, it really is the easiest to use/most intuitive piece of kit I've ever had the joy of experiencing.

    However it does have some major faults (see my thread http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=231261). The battery life is appalling, initially Apple promised 8 hours, but I never got that much, and eventually my original battery died and I had to replace it, and even now the new one only manages about 3-4 hours. Also, it does crash a lot, and I've had to completely erase my music library a couple of times now, because of a "Corrupt file" or something like that. For ages I put up with the hassle because I didn't think any other product out there could match the design/looks/usability of the iPod, but now I've given up and am considering switching to the new Sony HD5.

    But hey, maybe the newer 4G/click-wheel iPod's are built to a higher spec, I don't know. These are just the problems I've experienced with mine.
     
  4. HMHB

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    I've had my iPod for a while now and whilst I'm not a heavy user of it I'm very happy. I've never had it crash on me either.
     
  5. extremelydodgy

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    The 3G was a retrograde step in some ways... Capable of better sound than the 2G, dock-out gave it more flexibility but it was cripped in battery life. I rarely got/get more than 7 albums worth. Replacement battery solution also don't offer much improvement, the best one is 10 hours claimed I think. I think it's not badly built myself, but the 4G is just a much better and more complete product.


    I've had a 3G in some form since April '03 and I have to say it's not given me any reliability problems as far as corrupted librariesare concerned.
     
  6. Pecker

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    You'll find these boards littered with discussion as to which the best player is.

    Key points:

    Sound quality
    Price
    Ease of use
    Battery life
    Memory size
    Size of unit
    Extra features (screen, radio, etc)
    'Cool Factor' (if that's your thing)

    There's a good What Hi-Fi Special out at the moment - The Ultimate Guide To MP3. You should find most of the information you need there, but beware, they are almost laughably biased towards the i-pod.

    Market leaders at the moment appear to be:

    Apple i-Pod
    iRiver
    Zen Touch
    Toshiba Gigabeat
    Sony NW-HD5

    The following info is what I've picked up off the internet, Amazon, official sites, magazine reviews, and comments here.

    We could argue about sound quality all day, but there's not a great deal to choose between these 5.

    For a 20gb the rrps are (in GB pounds stirling):

    iPod 209 (Amazon price 209)
    iRiver 249 (Amazon price 225)
    Zen 180 (Amazon price 150)
    Gigabeat 230 (Amazon price 180)
    HD5 200 (Amazon price 180)

    i-pod owners swear by their clickwheel, and it is arguably the best, but if you're not desperately unhappy with the play/pause/ffwd buttons on most CD players, you won't be disappointed with any of these. Software use is pretty intuative on all of them, but there are problems with the Toshiba if you want to use your own CDs - you can do it, but you can't save the files in the same place as your downloaded tracks.

    Battery life is:

    Apple i-Pod 15 hours
    iRiver 16 hours
    Zen Touch 24 hours
    Toshiba Gigabeat 16 hours
    Sony NW-HD5 40 hours

    As you can see, the Apple, iRiver & Toshiba are pretty equal, with the Zen a way in front of them, and then the Sony even further ahead

    I'm trying to compare 20gb models, but note that you can get 30, 40 & even 60gb models of some units. They cost more, but not usually hugely more.

    The smallest unit here is the i-pod at 10cm tall x 6cm wide x 1.6 cm deep. The largest is the Zen at 10.5cm tall x 6.9cm wide x 2.2cm deep. The i-Pod is lightest at 167 grams, the Zen heaviest at 220 grams.

    Generally speaking, for most people the size & weight factor won't be an issue. They'll all fit into your coat pocket, and 57 grams isn't an awful lot. The HD5 i-Pod are the only ones that will realistically fit into your jeans pocket...but then you don't get to use the clickwheel on the i-Pod.

    Extra features: You get a colour screen for photos & album covers on all except the Zen & HD5. You get an FM radio on iRiver.

    Cool factor? If it matters to you, the i-Pod was a 'Must Have' fashion accessory...up until all the kids got one for christmas. :boring: The Gigabeat & Sony look pretty cool. How long your player will actually be 'on display' to the world (rather than wrapped in your hand or in your pocket) is something to consider.

    As far as I'm aware, all players support mp3 playback (which is pretty universal), all except the i-Pod support WMA (supported by lots of sites, and default sound option on Windows Media Player - probably slightly better quality than mp3 at the same bit rate), only the i-Pod supports AAC (arguably slightly better again, but a stranger to almost everyone and anything outside i-Pods & i-tunes). The Sony also has ATRAC. The plus point is that you'll get gapless playback**, the minus is that this is pretty much a Sony-only dead end format. NOTE - MSN are currently setting up an online store with HMV which looks like it'll be the biggest music store on the net by a long way. It'll be WMA only.

    ** On all mp3 hard drive players you get a small gap between tracks. This usually isn't a problem, but is noticeable if your listening to live shows, mix compilations, or concept albums where the tracks merge into each other. Personally, I'm used to it (the gaps on my player are incredibly short), but some hate it & swear by the Sony for this reason.

    When budgetting, remember to allow for c.30 quid for a set of replacement 'phone; the ones you get with all of these are rubbish. A popular cxhoice is the Sennheiser PX100 at c.35 pounds. A pair of decent 'phones will make far, far greater difference to your listening experience than swapping between units or different compression formats.

    At the end of the day, remember it's about the music.

    Hope this helps.

    Steve W
     
  7. shadowritten

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    Let me be the first to congratulate you, Pecker, on an excellent, unbiased summary of the current DAP market.

    Three points:

    1) Although a hater of all things (cr)Apple, I openly acknowledge that the clickwheel is superior to pretty much everything else around.

    2) Surely you mean the Sony HD5 is the smallest of the bunch? Smaller than an iPod by a long chalk!

    3) That'll be me, then! :thumbsup:
     
  8. Pecker

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    I can really see why gapless playback would be important, if not vital, to some. For me I don't mind too much. The gaps are tiny on my Creative Xtra, and I'm quite used to them. But if it's important to anyone, then the Sony is probably the way to go.

    Not sure I'd be happy being stuck with ATRAC. It's a fuss to convert all the time, and if you keep your files in ATRAC you have to convert them for any use other than putting them on your Sony.

    I like my Zen Xtra. It's a bit bulky & old looking compared to some, though not enough to bother me. To be honest, the main thing is having my entire CD collection on one (relatively) small portable. Once you get used to that idea, and all the freedom it brings, the other differences between the players appear petty.

    Apart from price, of course.

    Steve W
     
  9. extremelydodgy

    extremelydodgy
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    Then there are people who present secondhand opinions as fact. I personally think it's stranger to take advice from someone who has chosen a single player based on paper research than someone who has actually used a wider variety.
     
  10. shadowritten

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    Good point.

    You a tech journo by any chance?
     
  11. Pecker

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    Well, there are 3 options.

    1 - Become a reviewer yourself and really check out everything thoroughly

    2 - Rely on the word of others. That doesn't mean believe everything you hear, but certainly weigh things up, and look for trends in comments. In addition, try things out in shops/models your friends have. If someone says something has a particular deficiency, have a look (or listen) for it. Can you hear a sound difference? Do gaps in playback bother you? Does it feel too big in your pocket?

    3 - Buy every new player that comes out.

    99% of us don't have the money for this last option, I'm afraid. You've listed 14 players you've had "...and more...", most of which are no more than 2-3 years old. May I ask why you've bought more than 14 players in 3 years. At an average of over 200 quid each, you've probably spent more than THREE THOUSAND POUNDS on players - a grand a year.

    I can't be the only person wondering why. Sorry if that seems like a rude question, but when I read your list I was just gobsacked. No offence intended.

    Steve W
     
  12. DrNic

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    Your not the only one wondering why!!
    Like previously suggested - you're either a tech reviewer, or simply have too much money.
    Now, personally, I'm minted ( :D ) but choose not to buy every player known to man. Mainly because if you have a few quid its better to spend it on audiophile home kit!! LOL

    Nic

    (please don't take this too literally!)
     
  13. Hrochnick

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    I'm far from minted, sadly, but even if I was I wouldn't buy every player out there for the same reasons that my front room doesn't have 8 televisions. I have one player, i'm happy with it and when something better comes out I'll buy that and sell my current one. Or give it away, or throw it in a draw and never use it again. I just coudn't be bothered with the hassle loading music onto, charging and choosing between multiple players every day.

    However, dodgy, if you do have experience of that many (and for whatever reasons I believe you have) players, then your knowledge in this forum is invaluable.
     
  14. shadowritten

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    Can I second this? I wouldn't want this to become a witch hunt against dodgy :nono:

    We must respect that we're all different, have differing experiences and that these are of use to each other. I, for one, have learned a lot from dodgy and others, and don't want to see such members railroaded out of the forum accused of being fruadulent about the claims they make. They know whether or not they're genuine, and that's what counts.

    <gets down off soapbox>
     
  15. Pecker

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    Fair point, I think.

    :clap:

    I've edited my original reply accordingly.

    Steve W
     
  16. shadowritten

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    Good job, Pecker! You're one of the members I was referring to - i.e. I've learned something from you!

    Cheers!
     
  17. CrispyXUK

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    Personally I'd go for something that doesn't limit you to proprietry formats and software (itunes) which in it self is a struggle to find.
     
  18. shadowritten

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    Creative and iAudio would be good choices, then?
     
  19. extremelydodgy

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    I do write reviews. I also participate in various marketing efforts. Not the day job... I do it because it interests me and I get to see new stuff sooner than most. One thing I don't do online though is shill. You get my opinions. If it makes you happier, here's what's charging on the side table now.


    shadowritten, I appreciate your half-admonition but I'll hang out here regardless of whether I'm 'real' or not. Ultimately, because of what I post here I think I have less to prove.
     
  20. Sasso

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    You'd have to admit the HD5 looks the best out of all of them in that photo. But I don't mind the look of the 20gig Colour ipod.....bit chunky though

    Added a photo
     

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  21. shadowritten

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    Apologies to you, dodgy, if you mistook my closing comments as being in any way disingenuous. As a professional writer, I do try to structure my remarks carefully, and was NOT implying that you are/were fraudulent in the claims you make/have made.

    V jealous of all your kit, mind :eek:
     

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