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Buying an mp3 player(10 posts)

Buying an mp3 playerfiltersweep
Nov 15, 2003 1:17 PM
I'm contemplating the purchase of an mp3 player, and it is driving me nuts. My goal is to use it mainly at the gym while doing cardio. Here are the issues:

Most tiny players (like a Rio fuse) do not use a USB cord, but rather plug in the actual USB port in the computer. My computer has no front USB ports, so I would need to buy a hub to make connection easier. These same tiny players are not expandable (memory) and some don't even have a hoop for a lanyard. Most need to be in a case to use a belt clip, and they almost never have an armband. They are truly tiny, but don't seem that "sport oriented." Memory tops out at 128 mb.

The expandable ones tend to be very plasticy or have clunky designs. I have no need for a radio or voice recorder. By the time I find a 256 mb unit, the price is at $150-200. For an extra hundred dollars I can enter a HD-based unit (like an i-pod).

Most players are Korean-built- or at the very least, they are not your usual suspects for consumer electronics. Sony doesn't even make a flash-based player- likely because they also are a content distributor and it likely conflicts with their corporate vision (some might argue mp3 players promote copyright infringement). Bottom-line, there are all sorts of unfamilar names making these things. Reliability? Quality?

Many players are using a proprietary scheme to load mp3s to reduce the potential of "piracy"- meaning the player won't just show up like a removeable HD.

The question is: do I want a 128-256 mb flash player with no moving parts that costs between $100-200, or a 10-20 gig HD player running $200-400 (that has all sorts of tiny moving parts)?

Anyone have any experience or advise. The C-net user reviews are a complete joke...
Good question...4bykn
Nov 15, 2003 3:25 PM
for which I have no answer. I've been eyeing one of these also. Would make a good holiday gift to myself.
C-net is not so bad53T
Nov 15, 2003 5:18 PM
The user reviews, when taken as a whole, are very enlightening.

I have an i-river 256K unit. Not expandable, uses a cable, quite small. Others at the gym and at the 5K races have a Rio (the round red or green one) that fits well on the arm. The Rio has two advantages over the i-river, it takes memory cards and has a good arm band. Most units will now show up as a removable drive in Windows exporer, although the i-river unots require a firmware download to make this work. Both have FM tuners, might as well have one.

Don't consider the earphones when comparing, as you will replace these with something that clips behind your ear for cardio use.

HD units will skip if the going gets rough, and they are always bigger than flash units.
Nov 16, 2003 6:49 AM
I was reading a bunch of reviews for the Dell HD player (not that I was even interested) and it was apparent that most people hadn't even SEEN the unit- they were simply comparing specs to the ipod and ripping on Dell.

I was amazed at some of the players with a substantial number of reviews were it was running 50/50 for the thumbs up/down (which is a bit crazy).

The i-river did catch my attention. Again, it is interesting that most of the major japanese manufacturers are not even in the equation.
Nov 16, 2003 3:10 PM
This absence of Tokyo's heavy hitters interests me as well. Sony's devices, with their no-MP3-download systems, would suggest that it is the recording industry interests of the Japanese that are keeping them away from this market.
re: Buying an mp3 playerjaybird
Nov 15, 2003 5:23 PM
I bought a BA350 from and it rocks. It is on sale now for about 150 and is expandadable. It has 128 mb built in and a card slot that can take sd cards. I think you can get them up to a gig now. I have a 256 card in mine and it is more music than I need at any one time. The other cool thing is that it comes with a bunch of accessories like a car charger, headphones, belt clip/case and changeable face plates. Thw whole think is the size of a credit card and is about 1/4" thick. It also has an integrated battery that charges when you plug it into your computer. It comes with a usb cord that is about 3ft long and for me that is long enough to not be a hassle.

The one major downfall is that you have to use their software to manage your playlists, but it is pretty nice and is easy to use.

It also got pretty good reviews from cnet and techtv.

good luck,
not really my area of expertiserufus
Nov 16, 2003 7:32 AM
as i'm not in the market for one yet, and not completely up to date on these technologies, but i would think if you are going to use one in a simialr manner to a walkman(running, working out at the gym, etc), then you'd want one without moving parts that are gonna get jarred loose, or dropped, or whatever potential hazards await.
re: Buying an mp3 playergav
Nov 16, 2003 11:59 AM
I've got a Rio 900 and had a bunch of the earlier models as well and found them to be pretty good for the most part. I think that 128Mb is plenty unless you really want to to have alot of tracks at a higher bitrate.. I've always liked to just have the player attached to the inside back of my shorts via the clip or an aftermarket belt carrier (easily found at a running store) and found that easier than holding it or anything like that because I could just run the cord under my shirt.

I would suggest that you go with a flash player without any moving parts (especially if you're klutzy like me) because they really are more durable against impact.. And I would totally recommend extended warranty's if possible because for what ever reason my players always crap out within a year for whatever reason. But with an extended warranty, they just give me a new one..

Hope that helps,

re: Buying an mp3 playerDuane Gran
Nov 17, 2003 7:20 AM
I have an iPod and love it. I use it for time trial practice and on the trainer. I've also taken it out running and it works pretty well. No skips for me. Although I bought it for workout purposes, I use it regularly in other places, like in the car (fm transmitter) and at work sometimes. I find the added size/weight is overshadowed by the benefit of having thousands of songs at my disposal.
dilemma--hard drive vs flash memoryColnagoFE
Nov 17, 2003 11:10 AM
flash memory will withstand the jarring you might give it while running or the like. an IPOD may work, but if you bang it around enough you might damage the hard drive. Ideally you'd have the ability to run either flash or hard drive but I have yet to see such a model on the market for sports.