Thursday, 27 July 2006

I surrender to the spirit of the night

I give up: I decided that I should probably get myself an MP3 player.
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.
Deficiencies include:
  • 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.
There are other contenders about, such as the iAudio X5. This one does behave like a hard disk, and it has a reputation for excellent sound, but it has its own set of quirks, including a heavier price tag. And it is out of stock everywhere.
Anyway, opinions and recommendations would be greatly appreciated!


EK said...

Hmm, I feel quite ripped off now that you have shown me the Creative mp3 player. I was sucked into the ipod myself and for the price i paid for 4gigs i could have paid a bit more and got 30! Nevermind... I'm not the type to be into gadgets much but i really should have looked into it more!

I love listening to Hack on Triple J as well. I have been downloading the podcasts lately since i dont drive for work anymore.

Anyway, keep us updated with your mp3 decision!

Moshe Reuveni said...

I don't think you should feel bad about your purchase. When you buy a Nano you buy the slim and shicky design, not the gigs. The Creative I'm considering is significantly chunkier, and since it uses a hard disk it has its own limitations.
Mind you, the Sandisk solid state players kick Nano ass (they have built in radio and they're cheaper, for a start) but that's another story. What I don't like about all the iPods is their built in limitations.

Moshe Reuveni said...

I know I'm a snob, but I think there's a major difference between people that listen to programs such as Hack and those that don't. It's a good indicator for qualities I tend to like in people.
And the point is, we should meet for lunch. Not that I'd be able to do so any time soon with this project that I'm managing now. But if I think about it enough, I might find the time...

ek said...

Lunch sounds good (so i keep saying!!). I'm in the same boat as yourself Moshe, completely flat out busy like I have never been before! Funnily, I'm enjoying it very much and getting quite absorbed in it.

Work aside, I'm sure we'll find some time in the future. For now I'll keep on reading your blog.

Moshe Reuveni said...

I noticed that because I'm busy work just passes by. Which is probably a good thing...