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Recommendations for MP3 Player

These days, JoS is the place where I turn for advice/question on any topic.  So here's one more for you:

I am looking for mp3 sports player which I can use while I am jogging and lifting weights. I want something which has a
1. good audio
2. Acts as USB/Thumb dirve which and which also acts like a USB drive for carrying my other work related files.
3. FM Radio

One I found is Creative Nomad. Check http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=3&subcategory=20&product=9672 . But it doesn't have radio. Also, I don't know how good/bad is that particular product. Do you people have any experience with it?

Any other recommendations for sports mp3 player?

Regards,
JD
http://www.phpkid.org

JD
Saturday, March 13, 2004

I wouldn't recommend using one of the high storage devices when jogging. They use hard drives internally.

If you are truly looking for a device to use during sports, then get one with solid state storage instead.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Saturday, March 13, 2004

The various iRiver flash based players have everything you want, including FM radio, and USB disk functionality without any extra drivers. You can also use them as a digital dictaphone. Downside is they are more expensive than some of the alternatives. I've only used the hard drives model myself, but a friend has a flash (solid-state memory) version and is happy with it.

http://www.irivernordic.com/products.php?prid=15

MugsGame
Saturday, March 13, 2004

It doesn't have an FM tuner, but my wife and I are both very happy with our iPod minis. We use them every day for an hour or two at the gym without any issue. It has a great form factor, works as a usb 2.0 or firewire drive and holds enough music that I haven't had to change around my playlists since I bought it. I wear mine on the supplied belt clip and it is unnoticable while running, lifting weights, etc. My wife likes the arm band. The best part is that the interface is very elegant and easy to work with while at the gym, running, etc. My previous Nomad and Rio were terrible for this.

But, no FM radio.

  --Josh

JWA
Saturday, March 13, 2004

P.S. I think that you're in Milwaukee, right? If so, some Best Buys have minis in stock, but otherwise you can check them out and play with them at the Apple store in Mayfair Mall.

JWA
Saturday, March 13, 2004

Yeah,

I am in Milwaukee. Though I am not sure if I want to buy online again. I bought my wireless optical mouse/keyboard from shop and I paid much more than what amazon/best buy were charging online. So now for items which I don't want RIGHT NOW, I will order them online. :)

I checked up iriver player site but didn't see many positive reviews about them unlike say Rio or iPod or Creative players. I don't think I will go for drive which doesn't have many reviews.

JD

JD
Saturday, March 13, 2004

You can't play MP3s on iPods can you?

John Topley (www.johntopley.com)
Saturday, March 13, 2004

I've been using an iRiver IFP-180T for about 4 months now, and have been pretty happy with it.  My only complaint is that it's very pessimistic when it comes to battery life -- I can put in a new (AA) battery and within 2-3 hours it's giving the blinky low-battery warning, but then it'll play for another 6-7 hours after that.  So I just carry one or two extra at all times.  (I also use rechargeable alkalines exclusively, so that may be tweaking its tiny little brain.)

Other than that, though, great player, and not only does it have FM radio, it also records from FM in case you want to save something funny you heard on CarTalk... ;>

http://www.iriveramerica.com/products/ifp-180t.asp

Sam Livingston-Gray
Saturday, March 13, 2004

...and yes, I've used it as a thumb drive as well.

Sam Livingston-Gray
Saturday, March 13, 2004

JD - Yeah, its generally better to buy online when you don't need something right away. If you can find a good price with free shipping and you avoid tax it's a much better way to go. As a tip - if you buy from Amazon and use their SuperSaver free shipping option the items usually get to you in 2-4 days, not the 5-9 they quote.

John - The iPods can play MP3, AAC, M4P, and Audible.com files. They can't play WMA though, which is probably what you had heard people list as a downside. After using them both I prefer iTunes over Windows Media anyway, and the iPod/iTunes/iTunes Music Store combo is about as good a user experience as one could imagine.

  --Josh

JWA
Saturday, March 13, 2004

...I forgot to add: While it is generally better to order online for things, the exception to the rule is when you are buying something for which there are generally not good discounts available online. This would be the case for the iPod mini which is why I recommended going to the Apple store to play with one. Not to mention that once you get them all in your hand you can see how they really work. (Be careful though - the iPod mini is so cool you'll likely be leaving the store with one :))

  --Josh

JWA
Saturday, March 13, 2004

I've got both an iPod and an iRiver MP3 player in the house. IMHO, if you're simply looking for an MP3 player as an "accessory" then the iRiver is perfect. From what I can tell, the iPod is a better choice if you tend to "live" in your MP3 player, though I couldn't articulate why.

But I will echo that the iPod has an internal hard drive, so if you're going to buy one to work out with, I'd also get the extended warranty (drop it, crash the drive, new player no problem)

also, the iRiver player is about 1/4-1/2 the price of an iPod (granted the iPod holds 20-40 GB and the iRiver only 256-512 MB , but if we're just talking about a workout set...)

So each has their niche, but IMHO both are good choices.

Philo

Philo
Saturday, March 13, 2004

FM radio shouldn't be too big of a deal.  Most small portable radios use the headphones as an attenna, which means that whenever you change direction, you'll get some static.  You'll also find that you only get good reception when you face a certain way, unless the station is pretty near by.

And then there's the advertising....

So I'd say, don't worry too much about radio.


Saturday, March 13, 2004

doesn't the iPod (& prob. iPod mini) run mostly solid-state? i thought they had a huge RAM cache and only spin up the hard drive when needed? IOW, shock to the HD should only be relevant for short periods of time.

mb
Saturday, March 13, 2004

I picked up an iRock 860 a couple months ago on ebay and like it quite a bit. It's *tiny*, runs for ~20 hours on a single battery, and has FM radio. It's flash-based but I was looking for that, and it 'only' holds 256MB. But I don't live in my mp3 player (as Philo said) so that's okay with me. The software's no great shakes -- it's supposed to integrate with iTunes on the mac but if it's plugged in iTunes just crashes -- but I don't change playlists very often. (Tend to listen to the same music while running...)

Chris Winters
Saturday, March 13, 2004

Thanks everyone for your feedback. There seems to be good recommedations.

But I was wondering if any one has experience with Creative Nomad players? How is the build? Battery life? and yeah, sound quality?

I don't want really GREAT sound but at least it should be good. [Should offer good bass]

Still looking for more of your inputs,
JD

JD
Saturday, March 13, 2004

This product SunTec Woodi http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3083584114 looks interesting and it's pretty cheap as well. I could not find any reviews for this product on NET. Anyone has first hand experience with this product?

JD

JD
Saturday, March 13, 2004

If you're looking for bass I'd highly recommend a set of in-ear headphones. Not the normal ear bud style, but the type that look more like earplugs and go into the ear canal creating a bit of a seal. There are many models out there in all price ranges. I've tried three: The $50 Sonys which sound and fit great but have Sony's weird cord layout that drove me crazy with the cord always wrapping onto my face/neck/etc.; A cheap $20 Koss set with foam surrounds that didn't fit or sound good; and now I'm using the $40 Apple in-ears which fit good, sound as good as the Sonys and have a normal cord arrangement. No matter the output of the unit, the in-ear form factor gives you the best bass and sound in a portable headphone. There was also a big discussion on the higher-end models here on JoS about six months ago.

  --Josh

JWA
Saturday, March 13, 2004

Hey Josh,

Thanks for the inputs, I will definitely try them out!

JD

JD
Saturday, March 13, 2004

I have a Nomad Zen that I am very happy with.  One thing to keep in mind with the Zen is that they do not have  a FAT type file system so they do not recognize as a USB Mass storage device or have a drive letter.  You need to use their propritary software to connect to your computer. That said, the file system on the Zen does seem to use all of the available space on the hard disk.  It plays WMAs natively if you prefer those to mp3 and will convert mp3 to wma for use on the player. The battery life is very good, I regularly get more then 8 hours of battery at loud volume and very high quality music (lower quality or volume increses battery life). You can use the Zen to carry files as well as music but once again you need the propritary software.

At $200 less then an iPod for the same HD space I'd buy one again happily.

K
Saturday, March 13, 2004

JD,

My friend who has an iRiver flash player actually ordered a Creative Nomad at the same time, preferred the iRiver, and gave the Nomad to his girlfriend (sound quality was similar, FM made the difference). If it came down to a choice, I'd pick the iRiver. YMMV.

I have the hard-drive based iHP-120 and am very happy with it. With a battery pre-amp and external mic you can even use it for recording live gigs at DAT quality (reputedly - I haven't tried this yet.).

My only issues with the iHP are:
1) you can't record from radio
2) the internal rechargeable battery is not replaceable.
3) when recording the internal microphone picks up the HD when it spins up to write.

I haven't used it exercising, but there is an internal RAM buffer to reduce skipping and increase battery life.

None of these issues are present in their flash players.

re: reviews, I'd look more at the bad reviews to get a feel for features which are missing or quirks which may annoy you. Many of the good reviews I saw were either advertisement features or ordinary purchaser's trying to justify to themselves all the money they'd spent.

MugsGame
Sunday, March 14, 2004

I have a Nomad Zen and just got an iPod.  I can't even touch nomad anymore without cringing.  Simply awful by comparison.

Oren Miller
Sunday, March 14, 2004

I think the MSI Mega Stick has what you are looking for and is around $100.

http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/ia/ia/pro_ia_detail.php?UID=485

Gertjan
Sunday, March 14, 2004

I've had a Rio and an IRiver.  My Rio was likely to fall out of its armband or beltclip during any quick movement at the gym, whereas I used the necklace attachment that came with my IRiver to keep it safely in place.  My Rio eventually fell one too many times and died, but I'm still using my IRiver.

However, the IRiver swings around on its necklace during a jog, which doesn't damage it but might get annoying.

chrisg
Monday, March 15, 2004

iPod will certainly play mp3 format - you can select AAC or mp3 when converting from the CD. Also, the iPod will store about 20mins worth of songs, so if you use the playlists to store them up, you'll save battery and hard drive wear & tear. I've never, ever had mine skip (I have an original, 5G version). One feature I've not used yet, is listening to audio books. Apparently iTunes and iPod will stay in sync when you listen on either so you don't have to keep 'fast fowarding' when you switch between them.

Interaction Architect
Monday, March 15, 2004

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