Friday, March 10, 2006

MP3 Player Hunt Continued

Back issues of PC Magazine and an odd copy of Handheld Computing magazine helped clear up a misconception I had about the iPod Shuffle: from the name I wondered if it could only play in "shuffle" or random mode. This isn't the case. I looked at the low-priced 512 MB shuffle first, but discovered that it could only hold about 100 to 120 songs, depending on format. The 1 GB Shuffle was sold out wherever it was on special. One thing that put me off was a reviewer who recommended the iPod Shuffle as a second MP3 Player for those who already have a larger hard drive-based player. The Shuffle has no display to tell you what song you're listening to. After much thought, I decided I could not do without this feature so I could at least see what song, or Podcast or whatever was that I was listening to - and be able to find a song. This was especially so since most non-Apple MP3 players in this price range have this display.

Sticking with the iPods, the cheapest model with a display was the iPod Nano. This iPod has excellent reviews, and a price to go with it. For $140 and upwards for the 1GB iPod Nano you are really paying a premium.

So, there is a tiny color (176-by-132-pixel 1.5-inch) screen, on which you can view photos or album art. If I really want to view photos I'd use the 480-by-320-pixel 4.3 inch screen on my Tapwave Zodiac.

Apart from there being MP3 players from other manufacturers with larger capacity and more features, what finally put me off the Nano altogether were reports that the device scratches easily ("Although the device is durable, it scratches easily; blemishes show up more drastically on the black version" - excerpt from review). I didn't want to pay so much to have to baby an MP3 Player.

And yet the coolness factor of the iPod is so strong.

Oh, what to do?

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