Ten... sub-£150 PMPs
Music and movies on a budget
Product Round-up Budget PMPs are the missing link between a high-end video job and a standard MP3 player. With modern devices so advanced, some would class these PMPs as cell-phones without the option to call, a view I generally shared.
However, without the distraction of ringtones and txt msgs, they have space to focus on getting the rest right and your phone doesn't suffer from a low battery life.
Here, in alphabetical order, is a selection of what's available for less than £150 from each end of the spectrum.
Apple iPod Nano 6G
Apple, the Uncle Sam of portable entertainment, disappoints with its sixth-gen Nano that taints the addition of a touchscreen by removing all things video. Watching clips on its now 240 x 240 screen is an unattractive prospect anyway, but for that price, surely it's a mandatory inclusion? The camera has vanished too, so the addition of an FM radio aside, the Nano has limited options and feels more like a Shuffle with a screen than a thumb-sized Touch.
The slick metal casing gives the Nano a sense of durability, but products this small are usually lost before they break. If competitively priced among some of the lower-end PMPs, the Nano would fare better, rated on its design and sound quality. But at £138, it’s poor value for money. While Apple will bring the new touchscreen and dimension reduction to its defence, the fact is, unless size matters, your money is better spent elsewhere.
Reg Rating 70%
Price £138 (8GB), £160 (16GB)
File support MP3, AAC, AIFF, Audible, Wav, Apple Lossless
More Info Apple
Archos 3cam Vision
After my disappointment with the Archos 18 vision MP3 player, it was nice to see the French company drive some va-va-voom into products higher up the line. The 3cam Vision impresses from go with a smooth design and responsive touchscreen. Audio is booming enough for me, but perhaps too warm and its frequency range feels smelted. I was pleasantly surprised by the 3cam’s wide format support, which worked a treat when it came to video. The 3in, 400 x 240 screen is worth a watch.
The 3cam has a built-in camera for photos and video, although the quality is a little grainy and it's situated in an awkward place, exactly where you’d naturally grip the device. The 3cam also comes with a built-in FM transmitter to wirelessly stream music collections.
The Archos is let down by occasional loading errors, dodgy file browsing and no card expansion, but overall it still gets a tres bien from me.
Reg Rating 80%
Price £90 (8GB)
Audio Support MP3, Wav, Flac, Ogg, APE
Video Support MPEG, FLV, AVI, RMVB
More Info Archos
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"However, without the distraction of ringtones and txt msgs, they have space to focus on getting the rest right and your phone doesn't suffer from a low battery life."
But now you have twice as many things to carry around and clutter up the house with chargers for. Also, the reason I've not had a PMP or MP3 player since I got a phone which could play music (I still have a Neuros III in the basement somewhere, my last one) - if you're using a separate player, when your phone rings, you have to get player out of pocket, pause player, remove earphones, get phone out of pocket, answer phone, finish conversation, hang up phone, put phone in pocket, put earphones back in ears, unpause player, return player to pocket.
If you use a phone with a headset, your music pauses, you press a button on the headset, finish your call, and your music unpauses.
I'm really not dealing with that bloody faffing about.
Someone once very briefly made a range of PMPs with bluetooth support so you could pair them with your phone and get the convenience you get if you just use your phone to listen to music. But then you lose battery life on both phone and player by having Bluetooth turned on all the time.
Really, it's a lot less hassle to just use a phone with good music/video (if you care about video) capabilities.
Re: "There is no such NDA."
Second clause of the Apple NDA: "Always deny the existence of the NDA".
Agreed - I was thinking of upgrading my excellent and cheap Fuze at some point and the Sony looked good, but lack of FLAC support kills it for me.
The old version of the Fuze is better than the new one - that's why I was conidering jumping ship - that crappy 'touch' interface bandwagon is one I want no part of: with my Fuze's mechanical wheel, I leave it in my pocket and can navigate next and previous tracks, pause/play and adjust the volume with a single thumb. None of the touch-screen/touch button interfaces allow this.
Sometimes older and crappier is much better!
whats the point?
seriously, whats the oint with these devices? they are mobile phone form factor/size and yet they can just play video and audio.
my smartphone does that - and a whoel lot more too. AND it was less than 150 quid.
I really cant see the future for these devices - as i said, smartphones do all of this - and have 3.5 or 4 inch screens, OMLED , can play all kinds of formats.... or you get an App installed which does more. and he prices of such devices are coming down. eg ZTE Blade - under 100 quid for Android phone
All these toys
doing more or less the same thing - pmp, phone, ipad
What I want is to pay for my portable PC once, only once and not have to pay two or three times for the same drm'ed music to be copied amongst them and listed by the same ears.
One Life, One Pocket!