Saturday, July 28, 2007

New MP3 Player

I have been hunting around for a good MP3 player recently. It's one of those pieces of technology that I've never come around to owning. I felt that it was about time that I bought myself one of these gadgets. So, I spent a couple of days researching on different MP3 players, especially on how they interact with Amarok.

Amarok is my primary music management software. It's like iTunes, only better. So, I'm hoping to be able to use it to sync and manage all my tunes with my new MP3 player. Amarok works well with most MP3 players in the market. However, I had to check and verify everything, just to be sure that I don't end up with a 100 quid brick in my pocket.

Then, came the selection of the actual hardware. I wanted a solid state player instead of a harddisk one because I don't really have that many songs to sync. I have several gigabytes of tunes in my collection. So, 1Gb would be the barest minimum but 2Gb is more useful. Then, I thought that I could use this to replace my measly 128Mb thumbdrive too! So, I decided to get myself a 4Gb player.

The king of the 4Gb player is the iPod Nano, which weighs in at about 130 quid. There are a several El-Cheapo players that only cost between 30-50 quid. However, the quality of these players is suspect. I have sensitive ears, which can detect the slights cracks in the music. So, it was important to get a good player. This left my choices down to pretty much Apple, Sony, Creative, Philips, iRiver and Samsung, which are known quantities.

I didn't want an iPod because everyone I know already has one. It is a sweet player. The Sony units look really juicy but they're pricey and don't sync well without SonicStage. The Creative units are cheaper, look cute, with good signal quality and can record directly to WMA. The Samsung and iRiver players can play OGG music files, which none of the rest do. I'm not quite sure what's the differentiating factor for the Philips.

So, I bought the 4Gb Creative Zen V (blue colour, without FM tuner or video) because it's on sale at the moment. I got mine for 70 quid. I checked the prices in Malaysia and it costs like RM 650 back home. So, I knew that this was a real bargain. It's only selling for this price at PCWorld/Currys/Dixons. So, I went to the nearest Currys and played around with their demo unit. But when I was ready to purchase it, I was told that they didn't have any stock left.

So, I went to the other Currys at Cambridge Retail Park, but was told that they didn't have any in stock either. They didn't even have a display unit. So, I thought that was that. Then I decided to give PCWorld a go as they're all part of the same DSG group. Lo and behold, there was 1 unit left in stock! When I told the store manager my story, he decided to give me a free 3-yr warranty upgrade worth 20 quid. This made the deal even sweeter!

So, now I have a good MP3 player that syncs well with Amarok. I'm sure that it'll come in handy during my travels. It will also serve as my mini portable disk.

UPDATE@1930: It automagically syncs with Amarok! It even transfers the album art and playlist along with the actual music files. I'm starting to appreciate Kubuntu more and more. I've set aside a 2Gb partition on my Zen as an external storage. This should prove sufficient for almost any need.

I managed to freeze my new Zen by doing a USB query from the console (lsusb) while it was syncing. The Zen required a hard reset to get it working again. Scrambled around locating the reset hole and finally found it inside a Creative forum.


Zen said...

Zens are the best! XD

Shawn Tan said...

haha.. well, I won't deny that they are really good..