Wednesday July 7, 2004 7:35 am
Looking At the Top Portable Digital Audio Players
Hard drive based digital audio players offer a nice advantage over other types of players; that being that they hold quite a bit more than flash-based or CD/MP3 combo units. The market for hard drive players is large, and the selection wide. We take a look at some of the best.
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Before we start, let me first get something out of the way. The following hard drive based audio players are presented in RANDOM order! No life threatening emails about how one is better than the other. No calling me a fanboy. However, if you want to send me your favorite MP3 player, you are more than welcome to. Now on with it:
1) CREATIVE NOMAD JUKEBOX ZEN XTRA (60GB)
CREATIVE currently sits at the top of the Digital Audio perch as far as some are concerned, due to the release of the Nomad Zen Xtra 60 GB. Why? Aside from the units ease of use and 14 hour battery power, the hard drive space is huge. This thing holds a lot of music. Exactly how much? Try 15,000 of your favorite tracks.
2) APPLE iPOD 40 GB
Known mostly for it's style, the Apple iPod is also one of the best digital audio players around. Just get one into your hands, and you will see why. It's intuitive user interface is both chic and inviting. This model will hold up to 10,000 of your favorite tunes as well. The only drawbacks to the iPod are poor battery life (8 hours), and it can only be used with iTunes.
Read Review | Manufacturer's Site
3) TOSHIBA GIGABEAT 21
The Toshiba Gigabeat 21 offers 20 GB of hard drive space, with a look and feel that rivals the iPod. What stands out about this unit is that it's the first hard drive based MP3 player to incorporate 802.11b WiFi. What does this mean to you? Well, if you have a wireless network, you can synch the Gigabeat wirelessly. You can also use it to serve music to other devices on your network.
4) iRIVER iHP-140
The iRiver iHP-140 offers 40 GB of hard drive space, but that's not all. It also supports a wealth of digital audio formats including WAV, MP3, WMA, ASF, and OGG. This means that you can throw just about anything at it, and it will play it (unfortunately, no iTunes music). The player also has an integrated FM tuner, for when you get tired of listening to your own tracks. As a side note, look for the iRiver H320 player soon.
5) DELL DIGITAL JUKEBOX 20
Dell's Digital Jukebox 20 is a surprisingly good player with some nice features. It stores 20 GB worth of data, and comes with MusicMatch as it's main synching program. The extra that you won't find anywhere else is that Dell gives you 20 free MusicMatch song downloads when you buy this unit.
6) RIO KARMA
This 20 GB digital audio player may have cramped buttons, but it features ethernet connectivity. This allows you to give the Karma an IP address to network it like a computer. You can move files to and from the player over your network. The display can be made to display visualizations during music playback.
Granted, these are just a handful of teh myriad of handheld digital audio players on the market. If you dont need something with that much space, or want something smaller and lighter, consider getting a flash based MP3 player instead.
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