Cowon iAudio 9
Choosing the right PMP player can be like a new beginning - you should always consider your Korea options. iAudio’s Cowon i9 is, however, a dog of a device. The casing is extremely lightweight, despite being scratchproof, and gives the impression it won’t see another Christmas. The diagonal-scrolling menu system is illogical.
EQ settings bring a needed oomph to the audio, which is mild without the bass boost and average at best. This becomes irrelevant when you use the built-in speaker, which rivals the irritating noise of a hungry mosquito. Limited file support is irksome and video remains a predictably poor option on its 2in screen. To top it off there’s no memory card expansion.
It’s poor value for money really and for that price, I’d expect something with a more robust feel.
Reg Rating 50%
Price £99 (8GB), £129 (16GB)
Audio support WMA, MP3, Flac, Ogg, Ape, Wav
Video support Xvid, WMV
More Info Advanced Mp3 players
Creative’s Zen X-Fi Style
Creative’s compact Zen X-Fi Style has a certain charm, but can be annoying to use. Despite a cheap plastic body, I reckon it could handle a few knocks and tumbles.
The audio is above average, especially when you swap the supplied phones for some decent cans. The X-Fi Crystallizer and Expand sound-enhancement settings provide a welcome boost, albeit odd if fully implemented. I didn’t want to watch much video on its 2.4in screen, but using the bundled PC-only software, conversion is easy. It also lets you sync RSS feeds for offline reading, though it's hard to scan because the text is so large.
The Zen X-Fi Style has no dedicated volume control yet more other buttons than necessary, all of which are impractical and very clacky. There’s also no card expansion.
Reg Rating 70%
Price £70 (8GB) £100 (16GB)
Audio support MP3, WMA, AAC, Flac, Wav, Audible
Video support MPEG 4, WMV, DivX, XviD
More Info Creative
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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!