View Full Version : Trying to decide on an mp3 player

December 1st, 2007, 12:16 PM
So, I'm looking to get myself an mp3 player. One thing I have noticed about mp3 players, is that they are all so friggin' fragile!!! Everyone mp3 player I come across, I find all sorts of horror stories involving what seems to be unavoidable disaster.

I am wanting something with at least 20 gigs, a decent easy to read interface/screen, compatibility with linux, and at a price range under $150.

So far, I am deciding between a Creative Zen Touch 40gig, which is cheap as hell, $99 on ebay for a refurbished one, appears to be fairly durable, and has a battery life of 24 hours, or a Creative Zen Vision:M 30gig, which doesn't seem as durable and the cheapest I can find is $119 on ebay, but has a much much larger screen and is a bit slimmer, and all though I don't really care much for images and video on my mp3 player, its a nice feature which I would probably find use for.

The Zen Touch has all the basics I am asking for(all though the small screen discourages me), and the Zen Vision:M has the basics i want plus some extra features, plus it looks bad ***.

Someone give me some opinions?


December 4th, 2007, 06:17 AM
Check out the Cowon players.

December 4th, 2007, 06:23 AM
Check out the Cowon players.

QFT!!! Cowon is awesome. Support for Linux right out of the box and simple drag and drop to transfer files and support for OGG and even FLAC.

At least, that's what my Cowon iAudio X5L gives me. Did I mention support for Rockbox AND over 30 hours of battery life?

Lol. I sound like an advertisement. But seriously. Look into Cowon.

Tundro Walker
December 4th, 2007, 07:48 AM
Aysiu started a thread about this (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=622922&highlight=mp3+player) a little while back, and got some really good feedback from folks, including a poll for which brand most folks have.

While it mentions players, I'll mention things to look for.

First, check out the new players while you're at it. Players are advancing by leaps and bounds. While you're thinking of getting an old one for $120, you might be able to get a new one that has better features (although maybe lacking in some other area ... gigs, battery life). I mean, iShuffle gen 1 used to be like $80 for ~1gb. Now there's mini players with 4-8gb pretty standard.

Seems the features to look for are...

1) battery life (obviously) & type (rechargeable vs. AA or AAA). Most folks love the rechargeable, and I like it, too. But, when it craps out, you're stuck. However, they make these AA batt packs that you can use to recharge your player, or act as a backup battery. Saw one today at Wal-Mart for about $20. It acts as a battery charger for the AA lithium-ion batteries that come with it, and when they're fully charged, you can use it to recharge your iPod-sized player about 2x, and smaller players about 3x. So, I don't think a replaceable battery in a player is that big of a deal these days. I'd go with rechargeable. There's tons of AC, cigarette-lighter, etc charging things for them these days.

2) how easy is it to recharge (the Zen requires a mini-usb + special iPod-like adapter...it's annoying. Even using the AC wall adapter, I have to hook it in through the special USB adapter that comes with it) And how long does it take to recharge. The Zen takes like hours to recharge using USB. But the Wall Adapter takes like 30 min. Of course, you end up popping another $30 to get the wall adapter, because it doesn't come with it (*sigh*)

3) seemless play back. This is really important if you listen to mix rips where the songs shouldn't have any gaps between them. Included in this category is how fast the player starts up the music. Some players are very slow loading a song, the bigger the slower. Others don't care how big the song is, it's like instantly playing.

4) OGG/FLAC support...some folks dig this, but I've lived without it. I'm sure others will preach the virtues. Maybe I'm missing something.

5) ease of file transfer ... some of these players require special software, which the Zen Vision:M did for Win98 using anything less than Windows Media Player 10 (or maybe 9). Plus, it used to not work on Linux until the new Gnomad 2 came out with Feisty. You ideally want a player that's just recognized like a USB mass-storage device (flash stick or hard drive), so you can just toss any kinds of files you want on it. The Zen Vision:M on Linux (through Gnomad 2) will force you to toss your music files in the default "music" folder, and if you want to transfer other files (data files), you have to put it into "storage mode" first (which is basically a part of the drive you can partition off). With WinXP / WMP 11, it recognizes as just a USB MSD, and you can toss files whereever you want. But, it'll only play music in the MUSIC folder...and only play videos in the VIDEO folder...kinda annoying. More and more players, though, are just acting like mass storage devices, letting you toss your music on them and put them in folders as you like. I personally like that method better.

6) Durability is definitely important, but a lot of the players these days are pretty durable. The Zen Vision:M is prone to getting scratched. But, you can buy a rubber skin for it with plastic screen guard. Works good for mine. Name brands will be pretty solid. Ask to hold and inspect the player before buying. Just by holding it, you can tell if it's made from cheap plastic that will shatter if you drop it, or if it's more robust. Plus, some of these things are deceptively lighter or heavier than they appear. Some are also pretty solid, but their controls are cheap and might break. I'm especially worried about some of the cheap "+" pads some brands use, which wear out their clicky and are prone to getting stuck.

7) A screen for visual file search, input, etc...most folks need the screen, even if it's a simple LCD. If it has one, it should have a power-saver mode that turns it off when you're listening, too, to save power. However, I just got a MuVo T100, and am happily living w/o a screen on it.

8) A recognizable brand name is important ... seriously, there's a bunch of knock-offs showing up lately. I spent $40 on some Pixxo thing which had lots of features, but the sound quality is crap (has a humming noise in the background). So, while you're inspecting it, make sure you ask if you can listen to it, too. Fry's Electronics had a good show case on display to touch and listen to. You should try various shops to see if they'll let you try them. Then, when you narrow down what you want, you can just go buy it online like you're planning.

9) Anything else you want...FM stereo, voice recording...most of that is just extra, although FM stereo is kinda nice. The Vision:M used to allow the recorder to record the FM program for playback later, then they had a firmware upgrade that disabled that (due to FCC or copyright rules or some BS like that). But I think folks complained enough and they switched it back with another firm-ware update.

I will say this about my Vision:M. It decided to just crap out one time for no apparent reason. I thought "great, I have to reset it and lose all my files". But, I reset it and it just restored the firm-ware, leaving my music intact. So, it's pretty robust. Haven't had problems with it since. (Haven't updated the firmware since, too...maybe that was the problem...:))

And, don't neglect just getting a used, 2nd or 3rd gen iPod and tossing RockBox on it. It's pretty good from what I hear.

December 4th, 2007, 08:24 AM
can you drag & drop media files onto the rockboxed ipod?