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HDD MP3 Player Clash, iPod or Zen ? Other demands...
Phunction
post Dec 14 2002, 21:32
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Hi ! I'm in the process of purchasing an MP3 player with an HDD. Now since I have other quality demands than most review sites, I need a more detailed opinion on some issues. I came to the conclusion that it will be an Apple iPod or a Creative Zen. Here are the questions:

- how good is the quality of the sound produced, relativating that I can hear the difference
between 128Kbit and 192Kbit (as a reference)
- I have read that the surface on the iPod scratches very easily, is this true ?
- finding songs on the iPod/Zen is easy/fast ?
- how are the earphones ?
- how long does it take for it to start playing a track when it's turned off ?
- any extra features that aren't mentioned in most reviews ?
- is the extra weight and size of the Zen compared to the iPod a worthy-to-mention minus ?
- any problems whatsoever with the hard drive ? (crashed, making funny noises,...)

Thanks for putting in your time.
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petter
post Dec 27 2002, 18:00
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- how good is the quality of the sound produced, relativating that I can hear the difference
between 128Kbit and 192Kbit (as a reference)
- I have read that the surface on the iPod scratches very easily, is this true ?
- finding songs on the iPod/Zen is easy/fast ?
- how are the earphones ?
- how long does it take for it to start playing a track when it's turned off ?
- any extra features that aren't mentioned in most reviews ?
- is the extra weight and size of the Zen compared to the iPod a worthy-to-mention minus ?
- any problems whatsoever with the hard drive ? (crashed, making funny noises,...)


I can only speak for the iPod...
The sound quality is good, I went for the best sound when I'm ripping my songs so I use 320Kbit and I will use it until AAC is easily ripped

The surface on the ipod is polished steel and do catch some scratches... though I have not used a bag for mine it does not look too shabby anyways... It looks used but nothing more and I have had it since it was released.

If you create playlist and keep them uptodate there is really no problem to find what you want on the ipod, you can sort and browse the music easy by default - a search function would have been nice but then you need to spend time to input the name/song/artist you are searching for instead.

The new earphones the ipod is shipped with are great! Sounds a lot better and feels better as well then the old ones... clean, deep and firm bass, and a briliant middle/high!

If the song is allready buffered it take under a second to start it - otherwise the disk need to spin up and read, that will take 1-3 secs...

Hmm extras... the iPod have the game BreakOut included! =)

Otherwise - no disksounds, no problem... had to reset the ipod once only after trying to play it after it had been outside in -23C... the disk spun - but no sound was heard. after an hour it work as usual again!

kind regards
p.
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CiTay
post Dec 27 2002, 18:04
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Also read this post: Portable MP3 Players with hard disks wink.gif
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Phunction
post Jan 8 2003, 16:47
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I saw that topic right after I posted, but it didn't answer all my questions. I also like to hear how people think the browsing is, not by a grade.
Rumors are that an iPod 2 is coming too.
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Surge
post Jan 11 2003, 20:57
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If you wait a bit you can get new HDD player by iRiver; look at their new devices.


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My endian is bigger than yours.
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Phunction
post Jan 12 2003, 20:46
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Hmm, that looks interesting. iRiver makes high quality items as far as I can tell...

I need to buy an Apple laptop (don't know which one) for my further education, so is this maybe a plus for the iPod?
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Surge
post Jan 12 2003, 22:36
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Here in canada I saw a promotion that when you buy Apple laptop you get "free" iPod (don't know which size)... may be you have the same type of promotion in Germany, then for sure iPod is great player... otherwise I think it is a bit overpriced.


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ultramookie
post Jan 12 2003, 23:13
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I own both the 5GB iPod and a 20GB Zen (upgraded to 30GB).

QUOTE
how good is the quality of the sound produced, relativating that I can hear the difference between 128Kbit and 192Kbit


Both the iPod and Zen have awesome audio circuitry and yes, you can hear the difference between a 128Kbit and 192Kbit on both.

QUOTE
I have read that the surface on the iPod scratches very easily, is this true ?


Yes. The top of the iPod is made of lucite which seems to invite scratches with a bullhorn. It certainly looks pretty enough, but when it gets down to it, if you want to keep your iPod face looking good, you're going to have to get a protective case. The back of the iPod is made of shiny steel that invites both scratchs and fingerprints. In all, the beauty of the iPod is easily scratched away if you're not too careful with it.

The brushed aluminum of the Zen is more durable on the looks side.

QUOTE
finding songs on the iPod/Zen is easy/fast ?


Finding songs on the iPod is definitely faster. The scroll-wheel and the four buttons make easy work of finding a song -- the menu structure is easily understandable and fast to manuever through. It's also a big plus that the iPod has such a big screen.

The Zen on the other hand has a small screen, tiny fonts, and the scroll clicker thing hurts my thumb when I use it too much (it's kind sharp! smile.gif ). But, the menu system is easy to use also, though not on the same level as the iPods.

QUOTE
how are the earphones


On both the iPod and Zen, take the boxed earphones and throw them out. smile.gif

QUOTE
how long does it take for it to start playing a track when it's turned off


I don't know if you're asking about startup time of the machine...But both machines fire up instantaneously and have a second or two delay before a song is played. Nothing noticeable.

QUOTE
any extra features that aren't mentioned in most reviews


Um...Third party software? XPlay for Windows is a great way to interface with the iPod on a Windows machine. RedChairSoftware's NotMad is a great way to interface with the Zen on a Windows box. On the Mac (I have an iBook along with my XP box) iTunes is the real way to go for the iPod and there is no Mac support for the Zen.

QUOTE
is the extra weight and size of the Zen compared to the iPod a worthy-to-mention minus


It is bigger, but not by that much, especially when you take into consideration that you'll have your iPod in a case if you want to keep it nice and the case will make the iPod just as large as the Zen.

QUOTE
any problems whatsoever with the hard drive


No.

Btw, I have an Archos 6GB Recorder (upgraded to 20GB) also. It was my first harddrive MP3 player and it's a workhorse. It's sitting in a deskdrawer right now though. It's a nice box, but the audio circuitry, even with the advances of the RockBox firmware, is not even close to the quality output of the Zen and iPod (I rank the Zen's as #1, iPod being pretty close).

-Ultra
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Phunction
post Jan 13 2003, 09:49
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Wow, thanx for the help ultramookie ! Really helpful for the info that I needed.

Surge: I hope so, the laptop I'm going to get will be bought through school channels, so it is probably a expensive one, but you pay less for it.
I'm from Belgium BTW (updated my profile smile.gif )

Another question: Upgrading the drives from both players; possible ? I see you upgraded your Zen, so it is possible with that one. How about the iPod ?
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Kblood
post Jan 13 2003, 10:42
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I used to have an Archos Jukebox 6000, 6Gb hard drive. It lasted for a couple of years, which is quite good considering it was one of the first generation models. And it took quite a banging. It wasn't nice to have it die on me, but by then I had long used it to have the feeling the money was well worth it. The sound circuitry had a known problem, but it was a lot better if you chose headphones with the proper impedance. All in all, it had a few "rough edges", but it did the job, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

EDIT: I have read that the sound circuitry improved considerably in the later models.

It's soul lives on, however biggrin.gif (I bought a USB 2.0 hard drive case, and the 6Gb hard drive is still serving me for transporting data...)

After that I bought a mp3-cd player from iRiver, the iMP-150, and the news about iRiver's HD player are great!!!

I would advice you to find out if it will support Mac if that's important for you. If it does, then get it without any doubt. I doubt any other company will give you the constant firmware updates that iRiver does... For me, that's showing they care.

And no, I'm not an iRiver's salesman smile.gif

This post has been edited by Kblood: Jan 13 2003, 10:42
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Phunction
post Jan 13 2003, 17:36
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I just spotted a picture of the new iRiver HDD MP3 player on a forum.

http://gearmedia.ign.com/gear/image/ces_20...er_trio_big.jpg

Looks pretty sleek, although compared to the Zen and the iPod, it's no match for looks (certainly not the iPod)
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