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Author Topic: What's the best MP3 player
Tatiana
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I want to get an MP3 player, something that I can take running with me. I think I want a flash one, and not one with a hard disk, because I can't imagine a hard disk being truly shock- and motion-proof, are they?

It would also be nice if it had rechargeable batteries, and held a lot of songs, and it would be particularly cool if I could get an add on for it to do audio recording of songs or stories or any sounds I hear out there in the wild.

I have no idea how to go about finding them or comparing features. My niece has an iPod but I bet there are better ones out there with better features, and that are more XP compatible, aren't there? Anyone know?

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Jeesh
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Hmm, get a CREATIVE. I have one that is small, has a rechargable battery, sound recording, and radio, but it only has 5.0 GB. Enough if you have a few favorites. Its a MuVo2 FM and about 2 inches tall, 2 inches wide and half an inch thick. My brothers have a NOMAD by CREATIVE. It has 30 GB(I think) but no recordings and I don't know if it has radio. It's about the size of a pocketbook and about an inch thick.
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Angiomorphism
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If you want something to run with, your best bet really is with an ipod (the shuffle). It's extremely thin and small, uses flash memory, and can hold up to a gig (do you really need more for a run?). itunes is extremely XP compatible and a really a jow to use. There's a reason apple is on top of the MP3 player industry, and it's not just because of those fancy commercials.
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Angiomorphism
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If you want something to run with, your best bet really is with an ipod (the shuffle). It's extremely thin and small, uses flash memory, and can hold up to a gig (do you really need more for a run?). itunes is extremely XP compatible and a really a jow to use. There's a reason apple is on top of the MP3 player industry, and it's not just because of those fancy commercials.

Also, there are hundreds of add-ons already available for ipods, another reason to go down that road.

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Synesthesia
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I wish I had an ipod but they are about 34234234 dollars.
At least I wouldn't have to drag every single CD I own with me to work.

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Tatiana
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I'm considering the Creative Zen Nano Plus because it has all my requirements except for the rechargeable batteries. Does that look like a good choice?

Is flash memory static or dynamic? Downloaded songs won't go away when you change the battery, I'm hoping. [Smile]

It has 1GB of flash storage, is small and light, and it has a built in microphone for sound recording. It's not clear whether or not it comes with an armband. Some pages say "included armband" but the list of package contents just says neck strap. Their website sucks, unfortunately, so it's not always easy to tell stuff you want to know.

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Kristen
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My ipod Nano has been only a pain. For the record, I have heard they scratch really easy and the screens are susceptible to breaking. What really annoys me is how they go on the fritz so easily.

I was walking home and since I live in Chicago, got caught in a surprise snow storm. My cloth purse, in which my ipod resided, got wet. However, I put my Nano in a paperback to protect it. The book only ended up getting slightly damp but the ipod has never been the same. The screen freezes, it randomly shuts down, the hold button doesn't work, and because it's "water damage", the warrantee doesn't hold (NB. it was encased in a 'skin').

Also, the batteries wear out quickly and have to be replaced every year, and aren't cheap. My advice is to avoid the ipods, as I wish I had done. Didn't OSC recommend a few different mp3 players awhile back?

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Tatiana
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Kristen, thanks! I'll stay away from iPods. Did OSC talk about mp3 players? I wonder if I can find that review, hmmm.....
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theresa51282
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For what its worth, I have an ipod and love it. I have never had any problems with it and I frequently take it out and about with me. I don't have a car so I walk all the time. It fits almost anywhere, the batteries last a long time with out being recharged, it holds over 100 songs and its cute besides. My mom has a rio MP3 player and also really enjoys it. It has lasted her several years. The only drawback I noticed is that it is slightly larger than an ipod and also has fewer features for sorting your music while on the machine.
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Mr.Funny
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quote:
Is flash memory static or dynamic? Downloaded songs won't go away when you change the battery, I'm hoping.
Flash memory should be static. It's the same type of thing as those USB drives (which obviously don't need batteries). Changing the batteries shouldn't be a problem in that respect, though I can't say that with 100% certainty.
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johnsonweed
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I have an iRiver 1GB flash player. It is amazing in both function and ease.
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Jeesh
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You can stick a MuVo2 in your pocket. It's not heavy at all.

Everyone that I know with an IPod has said they suck and wish they didn't buy it.

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Jeesh
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I think you should get a MuVo2, it is almost the same size and has 3GBs, instead of 1, and has a rechargable battery.
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ricree101
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quote:
Originally posted by Tatiana:

Is flash memory static or dynamic? Downloaded songs won't go away when you change the battery, I'm hoping. [Smile]

Please pardon my little nitpicking here, but both static and dynamic memory lose their data when they lose power. What you are asking is more along the lines of volatile/ non-volatile. Flash memory, which is in most non harddrive MP3 players, is non volatile so it won't lose data when power is lost.
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GaalDornick
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I have a question. Aside from exercising, where do you all use your mp3s? I could've gotten one as a gift once but declined since I don't really know where I'd use it on a consistent basis. I'm usually in places where I won't need music, like in school or out with friends or playing sports, or if I'm at home I can just listen to music on my computer. Where do you usually bring your mp3s?
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Tatiana
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Oh, other than running or working out at the gym, I see using it when I'm in stores, or during lunchtime at work (if I don't go eat with a group), at my computer if I don't want to disturb my sleeping cat or roommate, or while I'm doing laundry or other chores at home, especially if not in the same part of the house as the stereo.
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Tatiana
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ricree101 you're right! I meant volatile. [Smile]
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Kasie H
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quote:
Kristen, thanks! I'll stay away from iPods. Did OSC talk about mp3 players? I wonder if I can find that review, hmmm.....
You've definitely come into this thread with a bias against the iPod. [Grumble]

I've had two iPods, one an older 30GB model that is now three years old and still going strong, and then I have a 512 MB shuffle, which I bought to go to the gym. I love both.

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Synesthesia
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I use a CD player that plays mp3s...
But it's not as portable as an mp3 player.
I wish they had a a chip i could install in my brain

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Tatiana
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Kasie, I started out thinking "I want an iPod" but quickly heard bad things about them from a lot of sources when I asked. My niece also loves her iPod, so I didn't at all rule them out up front. It sounds like you can get more features for less money from other manufacturers, though. That and the number of bad reviews they are getting is turning me away from the idea of buying one.
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GaalDornick
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Here is OSC's review of iPods/Apple.
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Goody Scrivener
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I have a Dell DJ20, which I would NOT recommend for running. I've already had to have mine replaced once (within warranty, thank goodness) for skip issues which they think was a result of running to catch the train when I was really late. Outside of that, I love it.

As for where I use it, I have a one-hour-each-way commute, and I'm plugged in before walking out the door. I also listen when I'm on the stationary bike, putting it in a cupholder rather than wearing it on my waist, just in case.

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Sterling
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My wife has a 1 GB MuVo, and so far, loves it. Really, 1 GB ought to be enough for most purposes, if you're not playing music for other people or DJing or something. 'Long as you're willing to plug the thing in and switch things around when the mix gets dull. I mean, 1 GB is approximately 1,000 minutes of music at around FM quality. You can drive, run, or bike an awful long way on that much music without hearing a repeat.

My wife's uses AAA batteries, so you can get standard rechargables if you choose. No idea about the memory volatility. Sorry.

Oh, and it doubles as a USB flash drive. Which is nice, since we're dependent on a friend to who puts episodes of "Lost" on his hard drive for us. [Smile]

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Jade Peat
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I think I'm going to get a MP3 player too.

I looked around epinions.com and the like, and it seems the best bang for the buck are the iRiver line.

People say the software you use to navigate has a bit of a learning curve, but so did my $50.00 CD player so I figure that's a non-issue for me, personally. However, they also say the things have excellent battery life (better than Creative and Apple products), and the sound blows them away particularly when they replace the earbuds that come with it with another pair of headphones.

However, tech support is also somewhat crappy they say too as "iRiver seems to be run by engineers who make good hardware instead of by user design people."

I'm tech savvy, so learning curve and tech support aren't an issue for me, and if I get excellent sound and battery life for a player that holds as much music as any iPod offering but is cheaper, then I'm sold, so I'm fairly sure I'm going with one of the iriver products myself. [Smile]

In any case, maybe take a look at www.epinions.com ? They have lots of reviews for all sorts of different models. You just have to make sure the model you're looking at is currently offered by the company as they have reviews for old models that aren't being produced anymore there.

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pH
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Right now, since Samsung discontinued the YH-999, which is what I wanted (I have a YH-920 GS now, but I want something new)...I'm thinking Creative Zen Touch...the 40gig one.

With a car thing.

So that I never have to burn CDs again.

-pH

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Mean Old Frisco
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I've had a Sandisk 1G in the past, and loved it. It got stolen, so I went out and bought a 5G Rave MP, which is working well so far. It has an FM tuner(which you can record from) and a voice recorder. And it was only half the price of the equivalent Apple product (which has that annoying touch wheel and no recording ability, I don't think).

I don't think Apple products are any more troublesome than third party hardware, but you're paying a lot more.

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Icarus
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This isn't exactly what you're asking, but I have a PocketPC (but any PDA would be the same) with a 2GB SecureDigital Card in it. I've loaded it up with mp3s. I've seen mp3 players that can hold 20 GB or whatever of music, and obviously I can't touch that. But in addition to having over a dozen complete albums on mine, I also have at least a couple dozen photographs (instead of keeping pictures in my wallet), several video games (Tetris, Solitaire, Pop-It, Chess, Checkers, Backgammon) mapping software, diet tracking software, scheduling software, MS Word, MS Excel, etc. Because I always have it with me (did I mention it was also my cell phone?) I never find myself in a situation where I *wish* I had thought to bring my mp3 player but didn't.

I realize it's not for everyone, but I just wanted to throw it out there in case you had not thought of it. I have been absurdly happy with it--it has positively impacted my life a truly ridiculous amount for a little electronic gizmo.

(Oh, and I can even post on Hatrack, or read OSCIGMS on it!)

(Which reminds me: I haven't yet gotten around to downloading e-books for it, but I know several readers can be downloaded for free.)

[Smile]

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Icarus
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(I even have the complete script of Fiddler on the Roof scanned into it, which I use to study my lines when I have a free moment!)
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Valentine014
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I really haven't looked into yet but can anyone tell me if you can download audio books for mp3 players? I think that would be great to listen to while at the gym. I do too much moving around to flip a book or magazine but I remember (before the cd player in my car was stolen) I used listen to audio books a lot.
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Orincoro
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Icarus, I don't see why Apple or someone hasn't capitalized on your more high-end market and made the i-everything. You know- a 100GB pocket pc with video, camera, phone, mp3, internet, ms word and free adable software... At this point, why not?
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Valentine014:
I really haven't looked into yet but can anyone tell me if you can download audio books for mp3 players? I think that would be great to listen to while at the gym. I do too much moving around to flip a book or magazine but I remember (before the cd player in my car was stolen) I used listen to audio books a lot.

Yes there is a gigantic market for this now. Check out Audible.com, members get books for 10 bucks each, plus there are free magazines and other gimicks.
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Altáriël of Dorthonion
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I feel like chomping off someone's head everytime I hear someone say, "Why don't you have an iPod" after they realize my mp3 player isn't one. I hate iPods with a passion, I hate everything Apple made, yes, that includes apple sauce. I have always hated it and I will always hate it. *hugs her RCA Lyra*
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Icarus
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Icarus, I don't see why Apple or someone hasn't capitalized on your more high-end market and made the i-everything. You know- a 100GB pocket pc with video, camera, phone, mp3, internet, ms word and free adable software... At this point, why not?

I'm not sure to what extent your tongue is in your cheek, but I will say that while, yes, my PocketPC may be pricey, for me it has been worth it because it serves so many purposes--so I think of it, when I compare prices, as several different devices. Of the things you listed, I don't have built in video or camera--neither of which interests me personally, because I dislike camera phones for a variety of reasons. But since I have an SD slot, I can and do upload video and pictures.

And of course, I don't have 100GB--but that would rawk. [Smile]

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Nell Gwyn
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I have a 40Gb iPod Photo that I've been very happy with. I got it a year ago when Apple switched to making 30Gb and 60Gb Photo models, so the 40Gb ones went on mega-sale. [Big Grin] (Although it was still pretty expensive.)

I specifically wanted a Photo one because *someday* I'm going to save up enough money for a nice long backpacking trip, and it'll be a lot more convenient to store my pictures on the iPod than it would to lug around my laptop or to keep buying expensive memory cards for my camera. That was my reasoning at time of purchase, anyway - I haven't been able to put it to the test yet in terms of travel, but I do have photos on it just for fun.

So far I'm just a wannabe runner, so I can't attest to its running appropriateness. I'm guessing that mine might be a little heavy for running. However, in a thread on the other side, Orincoro mentioned that Audible.com is giving away iPod Shuffles if you sign up for at least a 6-month membership. Or something like that - I'm not sure exactly how it works yet, but I'm contemplating signing up because the perks seem worth it. [Smile]

[ March 06, 2006, 08:38 PM: Message edited by: Nell Gwyn ]

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Rappin' Ronnie Reagan
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quote:
Originally posted by Altáriël of Dorthonion:
I feel like chomping off someone's head everytime I hear someone say, "Why don't you have an iPod" after they realize my mp3 player isn't one. I hate iPods with a passion, I hate everything Apple made, yes, that includes apple sauce. I have always hated it and I will always hate it. *hugs her RCA Lyra*

[Roll Eyes]
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BaoQingTian
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I really like iRiver. I own the H10, but for the gym I would really recommend the T10. It's not the cheapest out there, but the sound quality is awesome and it has a ton of other good features. Also, it does wma files (and even better OGG). A wma at 64 kbps sounds the same as an mp3 at 128 kbps (that means same quality at half the file size). And honestly most people can't tell much of a difference between that and CD quality. If you don't believe me, try taking a 'blind' sound test.

It also has a built in FM tuner and voice recorder. A single AA battery lasts 45 hours. It also supports subscription based music (yahoo music, napster, etc). Anyway, hoped it helps. I did about two weeks worth of research before buying. If I could sum it all up, I'd say: iPod==overrated.

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xtownaga
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I'm going to apologize up front if this is repeditive or poorly written or whatnot, it's like 5AM here and I'm rather tired, but yeah...

I have a really old iPod. Second generation I think, back when they hade actual buttons and a real firewire port on them. I've had it for like 3.5 years now, and haven't had any problems that i recall. I really like it. Now you get a few advantages with some other players like the ability to use subscription based services, and play WMAs. I don't really like the idea of subscription based services, since if they fold or you can't afford to maintain the subscription, your music disapears (if just the one folds you can always subscribe to another, but you'd probably have to re-download all of your music, which would be a pain, but it's not a terribly big issue).

Now with an iPod you get to use iTunes/ the iTunes music store. I've looked at a few of the competing stores, and I like iTunes much better (as well as for management, etc). It's easy to use, well designed, works great on both macs and XP machines, etc. You also get AAC files, which offer sound quality comparable to WMA at the same bit rate (ie about half the size of MP3 for the same quality), and of course it suports MP3, as well as WAV files (uncompressed, as music is stored on most CDs) and Apple's lossless compression (full sound quality at about half the size of a WAV file). I happen to love the interface on iPods, and think the scroll wheel is great for navigating large lists of titles, etc. because you can scroll with one continous motion rather a series of short ones (as you need with a wheel or somesuch). The battery life on iPods is generally not bad when compared to players of the same kind (as in hard drive to hard drive, etc), but at the same time it's not generally anything special. A lot of people make a big deal out of the bateries not lasting. Mine is 3.5 years old and I haven't noticed any serious battery deterioration. It should be noted though that any Lithium Ion battery such as those used in iPods does deteriorate over time (be it in a laptop, Dell DJ, or an iPod). They are somewhat expensive to replace, but it's far from a yearly occurance as someone said it woudl be earlier.

When I eventually do replace my iPod, it'll be with another iPod (unless some big, new compelling reason comes up in the mean time). This is for the mix of good software (iTunes), an extremely good interface (IMHO), compatibility with my music store of choice, and my general confidence in Apple products (I've been using several for years and they've worked very well). I'll lose the ability to use subscription based music services (ie rent my music instead of buying it), play WMA files (I have nothing ripped in this format, but if you have a large library of them you'd either have to re-rip the songs or trans-code them and lose some quality), and potentially battery life, though my iPod's is fine for my purpouses, FM tuner (I barely ever listen to the radio, so not a big deal for me, might be for others though), or record things w/out a third party add on (it'd be nice on occasion, but again not something i have great need for). I love my iPod, I think it's the best line of players on the market, though not for quite everyone. If possible you should head over to one of Apple's retails stores, you'll be able to look at/mess around with the current iPod models (they have working display units with some songs loaded so you can get an idea of sound quality, etc etc). As I said, I like my iPod, but you may not like one if you get it. Little can compare to being able to actually play w/ the devices, which you should try to do before buying whatever you get if at all possible.

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Icarus
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BTW, I keep hearing people imply that you can't use iTunes with other players (besides iPods)--including people I consider very knowledgable. I can and do use iTunes with my mp3 player. It's a tiny bit tricky, but it can be done.
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human_2.0
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iPods aren't problem free. What electronic device is?

iPods may not have more features for the buck, but you are paying for ease of use. I could spend my saturday buying cheap car parts and fix my car, but I take it to the shop and pay more so I can sit for an hour in the waiting room and work on my laptop. iPod ease of use is the same way.

You can get radio and mics for iPods, but they cost extra. I'm actually not sure how the radio works, but I know it exists.

I am a Mac tech and know many other tech people who own iPods, like hundreds. They are all very happy with their iPods and wouldn't be caught dead with a Creative or iRiver.

My brothers own various mp3 players, iPods and others. They like theirs too.

So my point is that there is no such thing as the best mp3 player. They are all good. But depending on what you like, will determine what is best for you.

The do-everything mobile is harder done than said. Microsoft is going to attempt it with the Origami, which was shown earlier this month at CeBIT:

http://msmobiles.com/news.php/5019.html

Next closest to that is the PSP, the iPod video, or the Blackberry.

Also, iTunes was jukebox software before the iPod existed. So it should work with 3rd party mp3 players still. But not if the mp3 player is subscription based.

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human_2.0
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At $600-$1100 I doubt the Origami will go far.

There is also the OQO, but at $2000? OUCH.

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