What's the best player for me???



Hi guys... I'm obviously new to mp3 players and I would love your advice as to which players I should consider. We do a lot of boating in the summer months, and I'm really getting tired of changing cd's all the time. So I'm looking for a player that has at least 6gb and really good battery life. Not sure if I really need 20gb+, but who knows? The player will likely see a lot of sun and get jostled around a little while under way, so it should be a quality unit. I want to make sure there are a reasonable number of accessories available... mount/holder, fm tuner, 12v charger etc for in the boat/car. Good, user friendly software included is a must also. So any recommendations? I'm looking to buy probably around xmas. Would like to keep the price around $250US. Thanks for your help.


The iPod is great for newbies and has lots of accessories with it...unfortunately though the battery life is rubbish (in my experience) of around 8-10 hrs. Doesn't have an fm tuner but you could probably get one as an accessory. It's a great all round player in my opinion.

The Sony NW-HD5 is what a lot of people on these forums have, myself included. It doesn't have much accessories that I can think of but it has very good sound quality (imo) and class leading battery life (35hrs or so). Since it has recently been discontinued the prices are dropping for it at the moment and is a steal. Also doesn't have an fm tuner.

Some of the iRiver players may be worth a look, the H10/H340,H120? if you can find them as they are usually feature packed with ok battery life. The iaudio x5l would've been an option but it is ludicrously expensive.

The software available with the ipod is arguably the best out there, sony's sonicstage isn't really but I think its easy to use. Basically as long as your ok in terms of computer literacy you should get used to any of them.

Bottom line recommendations from me are the Sony NW-HD5, the Creative Zen Touch (dirt cheap, very good battery life, no fm tuner, well made, good sound quality), and the iPod if you can go with the crappy battery life.

iPod 20gb - approx £210
Sony NW-HD5 - approx £150 (or less)
Creative Zen Touch - £122

There are smaller capacity players of around 4-6 gb that may also suit your needs but someone else will no doubt mention them. I don't know the prices stateside for the players I mentioned cause I'm in Scotland :).


Looks like you want a 20gb model unless you want an Ipod mini 6gig which is discontinued but probably still available.

The iPod would have all of the docks and adaptors. But I recommend the HD5. Its got an aluminium body making it protective (iPod only has plastic cover on the front), The battery lasts much longer (iPods states 15 hours, sony's 30 for same bitrate, 128 mp3) so since it lasts so long you wont need an adaptor to charge it in the boat it will last all day and probably the whole week without a charge. The sound quality is alot better than any other I've heard and with Atrac files you can use half the bitrate and have the same quality as an mp3, so using for eg 64kbps in atrac3plus will have good sound (equiv to 128mp3) and so you can fit twice as many songs on the player and the battery will last alot longer with the lower bitrates, it also allows gapless playback if you are concerned with that, so its a big advantage.
THe software that comes with the sony is perfectly fine, I think its easier to use than iTunes and is more logical, its just a little more unstable depending on your PC and you need a bit more patience so considering time spent using SS will be a fraction of the time spent listening to music, its not worth worrying about its few flaws. Just don't forget to download SS3.2 from sony website, it allows copy protection to be taken off so you can make backups of your atrac music files and it has more bitrate options (on the hd5 its the addition of 192kbps to the original 48, 64, 256)

If you want get the new A1000, its 6 gig and with atrac at 64kbps (the sound is excellent) it will basically act as a 12 gig player (compared with non sony players). Its the newest model by sony and should come out november. It also comes with all new software thats probably more like iTunes but nobody has used it yet on the forums. THe A1000 is quite good though.


Another vote for HD5, and here are the players I've tried that lead me to HD5--- iPod mini 4G 1st Gen, Rio Carbon, Rio Karma, iPod 40G 4th Gen, Sony Vaio Pocket. Despite audiophiles claim that Rio Karma supposedly sounds very good, I thought the sound was just too congested to my liking. iPod sounds too polite with distorted eq. Vaio Pocket sounds good, but battery life was terrible. HD5 is a music player at its best, no photo, video, fm tuner all that. Bonus feature is that it doubles as an external usb hdd. Besides the crack buttons so far, no major complaints. Its about $255 on amazon right now, fits your budget.

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