Needless to say, your basic iPod is out of the question. I don't want to tie my life into the iTunes knot and have restrictions upon restrictions with regards to what I can do with my music.
What I do want is, first and foremost, gigs aplenty. I have a one gig card on my PDA which I use for music, and I listen to it on a regular basis at work (where putting music files on my desktop is a no-no), but 1 gig is just too limited when it comes to offering me the right music for every mood. So while I would like 60gb, I would take 30gb or more.
Another thing I want is radio. One thing that pisses me off about my new job is that fact I cannot listen to Triple J's daily Hack program at 17:30, because I'm either waiting for a train or on the train. Yes, I can download the podcasts, but I can also clean my house and wash my car - but I just choose not to do it if I can avoid it.
Video playback would be nice, too. Not that I think a smallish screen can do justice to any material, but given that I have more material than time to watch it, I could just use it. In a month's time the football season will be on and I'll be downloading games through the internet, for a start, so Divx playback would be nice.
I went and did my research on players, and so far I concluded that the best player for my needs is the Creative Zen Vision M (pictured). It's got 30gb, radio, and video playback for lots of formats. And I can get it for $440, which would be $400 after I get the GST back at the airport when we fly at the end of September.
But - and it's a big but - the Creative is not a perfect player. A beast like that simply does not exist, it seems, which is a major pity.
- You can't replace the battery on your own. Given that rechargeable batteries only last for about 200 charges, is Creative letting you know that this is a gadget you should be throwing away after a couple of years?
- In order to connect it to a charger or to a USB connection, you need this special plug. Which means that you need to carry this plug with you when you travel. And yeah, you should make sure you don't lose it.
- Worst of all, that 30gb of hard disk cannot be accessed like you'd expect a hard disk to be accessed - i.e., by copying files and creating folders. Instead, you have to use software ala Microsoft's "block your CPU" Media Player to sync your player with your MP3 or videos collection. I suspect this is some sort of an anti pirating measure; but regardless of source, I want a democracy.
Anyway, opinions and recommendations would be greatly appreciated!