MP3 player comparison

I was going to write about cameras today, but I have spent the last few days buying and playing with MP3 players.

Currently, each member of my familly (except Kitty and Eli - the dogs) has an MP3 player.

They are all different types and brands, so I thought I would do a comparison.

I currently am using an Ipod shuffle on loan from tech lore.

Yesterday my youngest son bought a Sony network walkman.(With his birthday money, he turned 13 on Thursday - happy birthday Matt :-)

Josh, my oldest (14) has my old player, a RIO sport.

Mike, my husband, uses his pocket PC, a dell axim.

I will be buying one in the next few weeks for myself, and probably will buy a Sony. (I sort of encouraged my son to buy that one.)

Three criteria in purchasing an MP3 player-
1.) how much of your music do you want to carry with you?

2.) will you have a computer available to charge your player at all times?

3.) How rugged does it need to be?

I use my MP3 player for working out, and playing in the garden. I take it biking, and I have an FM transmitter for my car. I want one that is light weight, rugged, and easy to carry. It is critical for me to be able to change the battery, because I only hook it to my computer when I get a new CD and want to update songs. (Once or twice a month) The thought that I have to charge my player on my computer drives me nuts, so I will not buy an Ipod shuffle. The shuffle was the easiest to load with music the first time, but none of them were difficult once you figured out how to load them. The shuffle is lightweigt, but I miss features from my Rio. I like having a display to see what song, and what singer is playing. The RIO sport really is great for exercising, it even has a stopwatch and laptimer. I like the stopwatch when I am doing distance biking.

I got the Rio about a year and a half ago when I ran into it on clearance for $39.00. It was a steal, they were changing models, it is an older model, holding only 128 for memory. Since I only use it for an hour or two at a time, that doesn't matter. It does take additional memory chips so you can expand it. The only thing I don't like about it is the soft plastic case with the belt clip. It makes it hard to use the controls. Also, the on off control is easilly bumped, and I have found it on when I thought I had turned it off, draining my batteries.

I really like the shuffle, but won't buy one because I want a display, and the ability to carry spare batteries. I take my player when I travel, but I don't alwayst take my laptop to charge it.

I like my son's Sony a lot. It holds 512 MB. It was easy to load, and is lightweight. I would like a belt clip or lanyard, and there is a metal ring you could clip one to. I miss the stopwatch function from the rio, but I could live without it. It holds a lot more music than the Rio for the same list price. It is very light weight. The controls on the Sony are the easiest to use of the three.

My husband has a different user profile than I do. He has all of his music loaded on to his computer, about 6 gigs worth. (He has loaded his whole CD collection.) He likes to be able to take control of what he is listening to and carry large amounts of music with him. He uses his pocket pc (a dell axim) which allows him to have full pc functions, and choose which play lists he is listening to. If you decide to combine functions like that, get a rhino case. It is a padded metal case that will let you plug your headphones into the unit.

None of them are bad solutions. Before you buy, decide if you want a digital display, if you need to be able to switch batteries on the road, and how much music you want to carry with you. Then shop for the features that you want.


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