Ten of the Best... iPod rivals
Flash colours? No thanks
Round-up Yes, the news is dominated by this week's revamped iPods, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of other good media players out there. Put off the colourful Nano, or the shiny Touch? Then here are ten of the best alternatives. Counting down, in reverse order, we kick of with the...
Creative Zen X-Fi
The X-Fi's a bit of a disappointment. The lack of storage integration, the odd controls and the truly hopeless text input system all combine to take shine off a decent looking and sounding little player. It's hard to avoid the feeling that Creative have missed an open goal here by making the X-Fi so small. If it was broader and taller and came with a decent resolution 4 or 4.5in screen, we'd crawl over our dead grandmother to get one, superfluous applications notwithstanding.
Reg Rating 60%
Price £150/$200 (16GB) £240/$280 (32GB)
Not a bad box of tricks performance wise, and blessed with both better-than-average file support and Micro SD storage expansion. But you really have to not mind your media being presented to you in two separate chunks. It's bad enough if you're using a 2 or 4 GB memory card, but imagine using a 16GB one? You'd have two-thirds of the player's musical content only accessible through a basic Directory menu. No thanks.
Reg Rating 65%
Price £60 (2GB) £80/$110 (4GB) £100/$160 (8GB)
Next page: Meizu Mini Player SL
Why does everyone who thinks that people who dislikes iPods/iTunes uses Explorer to manage our music? There are plenty of alternatives including the excellent MediaMonkey for Windows.
iPod mini with knackered hard drive £10 plus a 32Gb compact flash £35 and for £45 you've got a robust, compact, high capacity MP3 player (install Linux and you can play other formats, ogg etc.), you could even pretend that you prefer the "retro look", but imagine the cheap accessories that having an iPod can bring.
I also use my W810 with an 8Gb card (microsd+converter) which was dirt cheap.
If you want video, the old Creative Zen 30gb is wonderful, and I'm sure that most users would agree that it's better than the same spec iPod (chunkier, harder screen, better battery life, more video codecs)
@Anonymous Coward - Alternative to an iPod
Not sure what you mean by Winamp "used to be a good system". Are you referring to the failed version 3? They scrapped that years ago.
Current versions work just like the old Winamp 2 if you choose the 'classic skin' and close the media library.
@AC & Stephen Gray
Wow. Conclusive proof... Totally brainwashed.
So I want to 'Keep computers for computer people and too complex for the ordinary people in the street'.. by my luddite suggestion that I should be able to simply drag and drop media onto my IPod direct from my O/S, if I so chose?
I wasn’t suggesting that I would manage my entire music collection in this way, just that if I am popping over a friend's house it would be nice just to drag and drop a few tunes I have been working on from my laptop onto my I-Pod. When I get over there I would then just plug straight into his PC and drop them onto his hard disk without him having to spend half an hour downloading and installing Apple's bloatware. That doesn’t seem a lot to ask?
I didn't say that the IPod should only support transferring files in this way or that it should not support software for the creation of playlists. However I do think that perhaps it might be a good thing if we had some choice in the matter - But then that is not what Apple are about is it?
Thank goodness for Songbird, which is an open source ITunes alternative (and you will notice about a third of the size of its fat American brother). It still needs a bit of polish, but it does have the potential to be the 'Firefox equivalent' to ITunes' Internet Explorer.
Reminds me why I like this site, I've never even heard them mentioned anywhere else other than the site I bought mine from, despite them easily making among the best media players around. Support for formats other than mp3 (including FLAC), work as a simple USB drive without any crappy proprietory software, no DRM, simple and obvious interface, very good battery life (at least on music models rather than video ones, I still get well over 25 hours from mine) and sturdy enough to last 5-6 years of being dropped on the floor.
Sure, they don't have touch screens, telepathic routines to sort and choose your music and so on, but so what? I don't want a media player to look pretty or tell me what I can and can't listen to, I just want to plug it in, put music on it and then listen to it. I've never found another company that really comes close. The only problem I've had with it is that the remote died, but considering the abuse it's had, that's not really something I can complain about.