My Ultimate MP3 Player

Posted 7 December 2006 under , , , , ,

I’ve been looking for a new MP3 player for a while now, with little success. I’m not really interested in picking up the latest iPod offering, only to have Steve Jobs release a new one that’s ten times cooler in six months. Additionally, I have a fairly specific set of requirements which most players on the market can’t meet.

Drag-and-Drop Loading

One of the first players to catch my eye was the NW-E003 from Sony, pictured here:

However, after reading a few reviews, I came across this gem from cnet.com:

Unfortunately, Sony rather takes the shine off it by requiring that you use SonicStage to transfer tunes to the device. This software is simply awful—I found myself hating it all over again in the few minutes it took get some tunes on the NW-E003.

Not cool, Sony. I want my player to offer simple, drag-and-drop song loading — no proprietary software necessary. Unfortunately, this also rules out anything by Apple; as much of an iTunes addict as I am, I hate that iPods can’t function without it. I don’t want to have to jump through flaming hoops to use the player with my PC running Ubuntu at home.

Replaceable Battery

Ever get the feeling that today’s gadgets weren’t built to last? Cell phones, digital cameras, even $5000 plasma-screen televisions, it seems like manufacturers design these things to last a finite amount of time and then crap out, to be replaced by newer models. This is my single biggest gripe with Apple’s players: once the battery stops holding a charge, you’re left with a clickwheel-brandishing paperweight. I want my player to offer replaceable batteries, preferably of a standard variety.

Built-in USB Plug

This player will see a lot of use as a portable drive for non-music data. As such, it’s important to me that the player has a built-in USB plug, so that I don’t have to carry something else around to connect it to a computer. No docks, no cords, no nothin’. The original Shuffle was ideal in this regard, but alas, the plug on its replacement fell victim to Apple’s relentless pursuit of tininess.

What I Don’t Need

Movies: I don’t really understand the draw of watching movies on an MP3 player. I gotta figure some of the cinematic experience is lost on a 2.5-inch screen.

FM tuner: If I’m carrying 200 of my favorite songs, I hope I can find something better than Nickelback (or whatever they’re playing these days).

Huge capacity: Being able to carry your entire collection with you is nice, but honestly, there are only 20 songs I want to hear at any given period of my life. Additionally, flash-based players seem more reliable than those with hard disks.

Success?

Just this morning, I think I may have found a winner: the Creative MuVo V100.

It’s got the built-in USB plug, works without any special software on Windows, OSX, and Linux, and it takes a single AAA battery. I’m not crazy about the two-part design, and I can’t see myself using the voice recorder very often. On the other hand, how many movie villains have been foiled by a well-placed voice recorder? At least eight.


About Me

I’m a Ruby on Rails and JavaScript developer living in Durham, North Carolina and working at Viget. I’m also an avid reader, traveler, cyclist, musician, coffee fiend, and friend of birds.

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