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Apple's new iPod Nanos are sure to be hot items on everyone's list with sharp color screens and smaller dimensions.  (Source: Apple Inc.)

The Zune 80 GB gives the Apple iPod Classic a run for its money. It sports a larger display and scratch proof glass, among other perks.  (Source: Microsoft)

The Chocolate is a stylish phone take at the mp3 player and provides a solid all around package.  (Source: Verizon Wireless)
Phones and MP3 players, oh my! DailyTech has all the hottest in holiday music and audio, for you or your loved one

Music lovers are living quite possibly the greatest era in history for their passion.  Today the music lover has a broad array of gadgets at his or her disposal with which to carry around a music collection in the palm of one's hand.  With many solid CD releases this year, and a wealth of undiscovered music -- whether you like rock, oldies, indie, rap, techno, electro, metal, glam, punk, funk or anything else -- the world is the music lover's oyster.

For the audiophile on your list, DailyTech's Audio Lover's Holiday Guide will give you the goods on how to give them something that will make their 2008 one rocking year.  This edition features the best mp3 players on the market and the best mp3 cell phones on the market.  It is helpfully broken up into sections, for your convenience.

The MP3 player market is saturated and diverse.  At the top sits Apple, which obviously reigns king, but Zen, Samsung, Microsoft, and SanDisk all have some intriguing offerings as well.  Obviously the biggest choice to make is flash vs. hard drive.  Flash players are substantially cheaper, are typically smaller, but don't have as much memory (usually 1-16 GB these days).  So for a music lover, they might be able to put their top 50 cds on it, but not their entire music library.

As to hard drive players, they are bigger and more expensive, but they sport better screens and the ability to dump a sizable music library into one place.  They typically have capacities of 30 to 160 GB.

Flash MP3 Players

For the flash based players, here are some of the top choices -- the Sansa Clip, Apple iPod Nano, and Cowon iAudio 7 win the highest marks:
  • Apple iPod nano  ($149.9, 4 GB, silver only; $199.99, 8 GB, silver, black, red, green, or blue)
    Apple Inc.'s iPod Nano is the king of the flash player market, but its my no means the best player.  What it is, is a very solid all around player, with a nice set of features, an attractive look and a reasonable price.

    The nano is currently in its third generation and has been shrunk to 2.75 x 2  x 0.25 in. and has added a 2 inch color screen.  Its includes free games, is very light, and has good battery life (29 hours audio, 6+ hours video).  Downsides are the shrunken scroll wheel that may give "fat fingers" trouble and decidedly average sound quality.  It does not support the WMA audio format.

  • SanDisk Sansa Clip  ($39.99, 1 GB, black only; $59.99, 2 GB, black, blue, pink, red)
    The SanDisk Sansa Clip is a favorite of at least one DailyTech writer.  The thing is tiny, but has a firm easy to use scroll wheel and a big helpful clip to make sure it doesn't get lost.  It has a very responsive tactile wheel and a bright led screen.  Other perks are up to 30 hours of battery life, FM Tuner, and a voice recorder.  Sound quality is fairly good, though nothing to write home about. 

    Downsides are the lack of a color screen, the fact that your friends will criticize you for not getting an iPod, and the fact that the little guy is easy to lose.

  • Creative Zen V Plus ($79.99, 2 GB, black/green; $109.99, 4 GB, black/blue; $169.99, 8GB, black/red;
    $249.99, 16 GB black/white)
    This device is a direct competitor to the iPod nano, with a 1.5 inch color OLED display which can be used to view pictures or watch videos.  It features competitive audio, with superb channel isolation and a 5-band equalizer.  It also includes a FM tuner and voice recorder.  It is about twice as thick as the iPod nano, but approximately as light.  Battery life is around 20 hours.  

    While the screen is definitely inferior to the iPod nano's crisp screen, it does feature a video in unlike the nano, so its a mixed bag.  Some will prefer the thicker design, others will not.   For the "I have the biggest mp3 player" crowd, the 16 GB model may actually be a real catch, as the nano currently does not sport this high a capacity.

  • Apple iPod touch ($399.99, 16 GB, black with silver back)
    The iPodtouch is big, is new, and looks a whole lot like an iPhone.  In fact, it is pretty much an iPhone, minus the phone.  The upsides are wi-fi browsing using the built in Safari browser, a huge color screen, and a decent 22 hours of audio playtime.  Some will prefer the touch-screen interface of the Touch, other will prefer the tactile scroll wheels of the nano and its ilk. 

    The audio quality is fairly good, although their have been some minor complaints.  Many will find that the size of this player, somewhat negates the benefits of going flash, and would simply pick a hard-drive model.

  • Cowon iAudio 7 ($129.99, 4 GB; $219.99, 8 GB; 16 GB, $269.99 -- black)
    This thing has great batteries!  The iAudio 7 features a crisp 1.3 inch OLED screen, which is competitive with that of the iPod Nano.  It is cheaper than the nano, and has phenomenal battery life, weighing in at 41 hours of audio, and 22 of video.  The sound quality is noticeably better than the Nano as is perhaps the best of the flash players in this guide. 

    When you are listening to songs with many layers of sound, such as electronica or modern beat-based pop, the difference is impressive.  It features stereo input, support for many lesser used formats, such as OGG and FLAC, features an FM Tuner.  It can record voice, the line in, or off the Radio.  A bout the only downsides are its size -- its rather chunky, being almost 3 times as thick as the Nano -- and the fact that it smudges easily.

  • iRiver Clix  ($189.99, 4GB, black)
    Don't let the small(er) price tag fool you, the iRiver Clix is more in the class of the iPod touch, rather than the Zen Plus V or iPod nano.  It features a vibrant 2.2" AMOLED display that rivals the iPod touch's and a full feature set.  It manages 24 hours of audio battery life, slightly better than the touch. 

    iRiver includes an FM Tuner, voice recorder and sports acceptable sound quality.  Downsides are that the device has a smaller screen that the Touch, less memory, and is more geared towards video than audio quality.  Positives, again are screen quality and better features.

  • Samsung YP-T9  ($159.99, 4 GB, black)
    The Samsung YP-T9 used to be slim and sexy next to the old-nano, but now it falls as a decent, but not amazing alternative.  It has a 1.8" color screen -- smaller than the iPod nano.  Like the iPod nano it comes with free games.  It has FM tuner/recorder and a voice recorder, both which might come in handy.  It has a well liked interface and decent battery life of about 26 hours for audio and 7 for video.  The screen is also fairly good, and the audio quality is on par with the nano.  Its no iPod killer, but its a solid and nice looking alternative, if it catches your eye.
Hard Drive MP3 Players

For hard-drive based players, here are some of the top choices (the Zune and iPod Classic come most recommended):
  • Apple iPod Classic ($249.99, 80 GB, black or silver; $349.99, 160 GB, black or silver)
    The iPod classic is the big kahuna of hard-drive mp3 players.  It has by far the largest available capacity, with the 160 GB model.  If your music collection fits on your computer, chances are all of it will fit on you iPod, which is after all the whole idea of a hard-drive mp3 player.  The screen is vibrant as always, and the iPod Classic is rather thin, measuring in at 2.4x4.1x.41 in. 

    Video playback is sharp and crisp on its 2.5" (diagonal) screen.  It also supports an upgraded menu interface.  It has middle-of-the-road audio quality, with only 20 equalization presets available.  Battery life weighs in at a solid 40 hours of audio, 7 hours of video in the 160 GB version.   A downside is the lack of inclusion of FM radio support, a perpetually missing feature in the iPod family.   Pick this one if you have a whole lot of music, want the best batter life, or you are looking for a proven choice.

  • Microsoft Zune ($199.99, 30 GB, brown, pink, red, black or white; $249.99, 80 GB, black only)
    The Microsoft Zune is the surly young upstart, looking to take a bite out of the iPod's marketshare.  It really has quite a lot to offer, though whether it is an "iPod killer" really falls to personal preference.  The Zune 30 GB does not necessarily have enough space to satisfy those with very large music collections. 

    However, the 80 GB should do the job for most.  Microsoft has subscribed to the long standing and curious tradition of offering multiple colors for the lower memory player, but only offering the top memory player in ubiquitous black.  The dimensions are 2.4 x 4.3 x 0.5 in., making it slightly beefer than the iPod Classic.  Aesthetics aside the Zune features a much large display, which is 3.2 inches diagonal, with glass, which reduces scratching.  The Zune features built in Wi-Fi and allows you to share songs with your friends.  The second iteration Zune, currently available features a revised navigation pad called the Zune pad, which has been well received for its responsiveness. Overall audio quality is good thanks in part to its support for WMA lossless audio. 

    The video is sharp and responsive.  One downside, however, is that the iPod just looks slightly better, in all honesty.  Even if you get past this aesthetic obstacle, another downside is the battery life.  The inclusion of wi-fi cuts into an already low battery life.  With wi-fi enabled the battery life is 18.5 hours of audio, with it disabled it jumps to 22 hours. 

    The Zune only can survive through less than 4 hours of video.  Pick this one if you aren't extremely concerned with battery life, if you carry sharp things in your pockets, or if you don't want an iPod but want a relatively proven solution.

  • Creative Zen Vision M ($249.99, 30 GB, black, green, light blue, pink, or white; $299.99, 60 GB black only)
    Fans of music subscription services will enjoy that the Zen Vision M interfaces well with most services.  It is heavier and fatter than the iPod, measuring 2.4 x 4.1 x 0.7 in.  The screen is very vibrant, and although 2.5 inches, the same as the iPod, it offers 262,000 colors compared to the iPod's 65,000.  Some like the buttons, others don't. 

    The player features an FM tuner and recorder, a voice recorder, and Outlook contacts sync-support.  Creative also supports lots of video formats, including DivX and XviD.  Sound on the device is wonderful, thanks to a 97dB signal-to-noise ratio.  The battery life is rather poor, even worse than the Zune, at 16 hours of audio and 4 hours of video.  Pick this one if you don't care about battery life, if you don't want to go with one of the big players, or if you want the best audio quality.

  • Phillips GoGear HDD6330 Jukebox ($279.99, 30 GB, jet black)
    The Phillips GoGear only includes a 30 GB offering, which will definitely turn off some.  The price is not great, either.  Still, the device will appeal to some as it has a stylish look that rivals the iPod's chic appeal.  Again, it is a bit fatter than the iPod 2.5 x 4.1 x 0.7 inches, and it weighs more.  However it has good photo capabilities and is able to keep up decently with the iPod Classic, despite its smaller 2" screen.  It comes with an FM tuner, voice recorder, and WMA support.  

    Audio quality is relatively good, with a 5-band-equalizer that is user adjustable.  There is 16 hours of battery life, which again is rather poor.  It takes 4 hours to charge the battery fully, as well.  Pick this one as a last resort, if you want something stylish but not an iPod and you don't care about excesses such as the size of the screen or battery-life.
MP3 Cell Phones

The bottom line with MP3 geared cell phones is that virtually all cell phones on the market support audio playback of some sort, and most come with miniSD expansions to provide flash memory.  However, there is a vast chasm of quality that separates a cell phone that can play music poorly from a phone that truly shines for music.  Only a few cell phones have managed to make this jump, and most its readily apparent as they are heavily marketed for their music capabilities. 

So what exactly are some of the upsides to buying one of these phones.  One of the most important factors for the music lover is sound quality -- most cell phones sound tinny and awful -- these phones have sound quality that approach dedicated mp3 players.  Another key factor is audio formats and bit rates.  Many cell phones that are not designed as audio players cannot play files with higher than 128-kbps bit-rates, limiting how much of your music library you can listen to.  Many common audio file types are not supported by the majority of audio-poor cell phones. 

So save yourself and your music lover the pain of a bad audio experience, and buy them one of these phones, if they want to listen to music on their cell phone, buy one of these -- the iPhone and Chocolate come most recommended:
  • Apple iPhone ($399.99, 8 GB, built-in flash, black/silver, AT&T)
    The iPhone is one of those iconic tech symbols that people hate to love and love to hate.  Still with terrific sales, there must be something behind it.  Part of the appeal is the stylish design and the well done touch screen interface.  Other well-liked features include the easy to use menu system, many useful applications, and the most full-functioned browser you're likely to find on a phone. 

    The display is large, which is both good and bad.  Measuring in at 2.4 x 4.5 x 0.46 inches, it is thin and mostly touch display.  It uses quality glass to protect its touch surface.  The iPhone supports wi-fi fully, but unfortunately in its current firmware, the iPhone includes no Bluetooth stereo support as most other music centric phones do.  The iPhone's sound is its strongest strength.  It features audio quality on par with the current iPod classic, which is saying something significant.  It also features beautiful video, but most audiophiles will be lost in music before they bother noticing it. 

    The phone features a decent 2 megapixel camera, but has no flash.  Call quality is relatively good and the phone supports 480 minutes of talk time on a charge.  Music lovers will more like be putting its juice to playing tunes, though -- and it will please them, support 24 hours of music playback.  Video playback comes in at 7 hours on a charge. 

    Two major downsides to the iPhones are that it's shackled to AT&T and it uses the slower EDGE network, as opposed to the industry leading 3G standard.  Pick the iPhone if you don't mind AT&T, if you love shiny things, or if you simply want the best possible audio experience in the cell phone at the cost of some extraneous phone features.

  • LG Chocolate VX8850 ($99.99, microSD flash-expansion, black, Verizon; $249.99 with music bundle w/ headphones and 2 GB microSD Flash)
    The LG Chocolate is a much different beast than the iPhone.  It is smaller, thicker, and -- you guessed it -- shaped like a chocolate bar.  It is 1.87 x 3.85 x 0.67 in. and relatively light.  Unlike the iPhone, it has no significant built in flash, you must go out and purchase a microSD card to hold your music.  This is good in that you can expand to high capacities and swap out cards, but bad in that you have to pay for these cards.  The 2.2" display is very attractive and sports an impressive 262,000 colors. 

    Many will prefer its responsive tactile touch wheel (similar to the iPod's) over the iPhone's touch inputs.  The keys are hidden under the screen, which slides up.  Some complain about having to slide the phone open in order to dial a number.  The phone features a decent 1.3 MP camera, but like the iPhone no camera flash.  Talk time weighs in at a decent 250 minutes.  Sound quality is good, but slightly less optimal than the iPhone.  It also has a short audio battery life than the iPhone. 

    The Chocolate supports 3G and EV/DO network, and some users will prefer the Verizon network to the iPhone's AT&T network.  The Chocolate is a really good phone and a pretty decent MP3 player, which at least one DailyTech writer uses on a daily basis.   Also, even with the flash card, it is cheaper than the iPhone.  Pick this one if you are looking for a good phone, which can also double as a pretty good MP3 platform.

  • Samsung Upstage SPH-M-620 ($99.99, microSD flash-expansion, black, Sprint)
    The Upstage's trademark feature is a flip design.  The back features a small LED display, a 1.3 megapixel camera (with no flash) and a full calling pad.  The front features a 1.4" display and a navigation pad.  The phone's dimensions are 1.73x4.07x0.37 in. 

    The device is very good looking and many will be tempted to buy it just based on that.  The backing package is fairly solid as well.  Like the Chocolate, you will need to pick up a microSD flash card, which has its perks and quirks.  Bluetooth and 3G are both included, which gives it some ground on the iPhone.  The music quality on a Bluetooth headset is fairly good, though not as good as the iPhone.  The bass is somewhat lacking in the music output. 

    Talk time on the Upscale is only a mere 150 minutes, but with an extended battery it rises to a reasonable 6 hours.  Music battery life is 7 hours and 16 hours with the extended battery.  The extended battery is included with the package and rests inside a leather wallet, that you can slide the phone into.  One downside for the music lover is that the built in music player is reported to be somewhat buggy. 

    Pick this one if you want a unique phone, on a fast network, and are willing to overlook some music quality issues and a somewhat short battery life.

  • Nokia Xpress Music 5300 ($299.99, microSD flash-expansion, red/silver, unlocked; $99.99 from TMobile)
    The Xpress is a slider phone, much in the same vein as the Chocolate. Its a bit of a mini-brick measuring 3.6 x 1.9 x 0.8 in. but it is a light-weight brick and is very comfortable.  The phone's display is excellent, featuring 262,000+ colors and a 2" size.  The cell phone's standard graphics are very vibrant and attractive. 

    Both sides of the phone are covered in rubber skin, which protects it.  The phone require a microSD flash card, like all the phones aside from the iPhone.  The microSD card is the main complaint as you have to remove the battery to access it, which can be tedious.  The phone features a 1.3 MP camera, with no flash, but video support.  It also supports JAVA for games and other fun stuff.  The phone uses GSM quadband and can access EDGE networks.  Generally it has a rather fast connection, and it offers 3.2 hours of talk time.  It is the only one of the featured phones to offer an FM radio tuner. 

    The best feature of the phone is its music support.  The sound quality is as good or better as any of the other phones, including the iPhone, particularly when you use Bluetooth stereo headphones.  The music player supports a broad array of formats and is very well-featured.  Further the phone supports a relatively hardy audio playtime of 9 hours.  Pick the XPress if you aren't as concerned with looks, but are looking for the best audio quality, and a decent phone.

Comments     Threshold

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By CheesePoofs on 12/2/2007 12:38:48 PM , Rating: 4
Any chance we could get a similar guide for cheap yet high quality earbuds and headphones?

RE: Earbuds/headphones
By xsilver on 12/2/2007 6:38:07 PM , Rating: 1
cheap and high quality?
Now there's an oxymoron

Audio is VERY subjective, some people think that the standard ipod earphones are good whereas some people only permit themselves to use $100 plus equipment.

RE: Earbuds/headphones
By Omega215D on 12/2/2007 8:22:25 PM , Rating: 2
My mom and my sister were once those who were happy with the stock ear buds. When I got them the Shure SE110 and E3c they couldn't go back to using regular headphones. Granted they are in the $100 range but they also come with a 2 year warranty that is hassle free. I know this because I had one break on me and I sent it in, a week later I got a new set in a sealed box.

V-Moda and Sony earbuds in the $50 range are cheap and pretty high quality.

RE: Earbuds/headphones
By meepstone on 12/2/2007 10:27:30 PM , Rating: 2
Dodge Ram. Now that truck has oxymoron written all over it.

What your quoting is not. You can buy something inexpsensive(cheap) and it still be of quality.

So all the black friday deals gave you stuff "Cheap" does that automatically make what you bought cheap as well? the answer is no.

RE: Earbuds/headphones
By dgouldin on 12/3/2007 7:58:03 AM , Rating: 2
These definitely qualify for the $100+ category, but my recommendations great headphones are either Etymotic ER4s for isolating or Sennheiser HD580s if you're not worried about bothering the guy next to you. And of course a good amp (though they're hard to find in a portable format) is a must.

RE: Earbuds/headphones
By bdewong on 12/3/2007 12:40:29 PM , Rating: 1
I feel that there are some great products that balance price and quality. Because I didn't want to spend $50-$100 on headphones, I bought some koss ksc-75 headphones for under $20. Sure, there are many better headphones but, for me, the balance of price and quality lied there. I beleive there are some great ear/headphones in the $10-$50 range, $50-$100 range, $100-$200, and $200+; it all lies in finding the best sets within the range.

RE: Earbuds/headphones
By FeralMisanthrope on 12/3/2007 11:07:54 AM , Rating: 2
IMHO the Audio-Technica ATH-A900 Art Headphones are the BEST closed, around-ear headphones for use with an mp3 player. At $180, they're not cheap, but you'll be hard pressed to find a better set of cans for less than $500. They have an uncanny ability to make a low quality audio source (such as an mp3 player) sound good, where most high-end headphones just accentuate imperfections. And the best part: they are extremely efficient--no extra amplification required. I typically use these headphones with my 4th gen iPod at only 20% volume.

I spent a lot of time (probably more than I should have) searching for a good set of cans and I can't recommend the ATH-A900's strongly enough.</rave>

RE: Earbuds/headphones
By JasonMick on 12/3/2007 12:04:09 PM , Rating: 2
As challenging and impossible a quest as that is (quality at a low cost), I think your suggestion is a great one. I already have one in the works, so expect to see a holiday guide soon with headphones and earbuds. I will try to keep everything under 100 dollars and have some decent low cost (30 or less) options.

RE: Earbuds/headphones
By spluurfg on 12/11/2007 12:36:47 AM , Rating: 2
Check out the reviews on -- in particular, I got a pair of Sennheiser PX100's for about $35 and gave them a quick test before giving them away, and found them to be surprisingly good for the price and weight. Unlike my Shure E3C's, Sennheiser HD580's, and Bose quietcomfort headphones, I could also hear what was going on around me.

other picks
By TMV192 on 12/2/2007 12:01:01 PM , Rating: 4
I'm surprised to not see the Cowon Q5W and Archos 605WiFi under the Harddrive MP3 players, instead there's a discontinued Vision: M and mildly received Phillips players. And also I think N95 should be under cell phones

RE: other picks
By crfog on 12/2/2007 5:57:06 PM , Rating: 2
I agree completely. I've been looking to get a MP3 player for a while, but have been holding out due to the lack of selection which meets my requirements. Since I've run Winamp for years, I've stuck with ripping my cds to AAC/MP4 format in variable bitrate from 192/320 kbps. The only players that will support this format are Archos and the iPod. When I did some heavy research, I was surprised to find how few players have support for more than a couple formats. Apple has been at the top of their game by supporting some extras and Archos offerings do the same. The new 605Wifi has the best video screen, best features and best compatibility of all MP3/video devices. The only downside to the player is currently price. I'm holding out for the price to drop a bit, since it's exceptionally high right now if you can find a model in stock. As well, I'm disappointed that Archos only offers a few features if you pay extra for a download. While I can understand that offering web access as an extra feature for a little bit more money makes sense, I'm extremely disppointed that in order to use AAC/MP4 on the 605, I will have to pay an extra $20 for a software update.

RE: other picks
By Ard on 12/2/2007 11:56:11 PM , Rating: 2
Zunes support AAC/MP4.

RE: other picks
By CvP on 12/3/2007 11:29:06 AM , Rating: 2
COWON A3 supports huge amount of file formats including AAc/MP4 without extra payment .

RE: other picks
By CvP on 12/3/2007 11:18:36 AM , Rating: 2
correct. COWON Q5W and Archos 605WiFi belong to top in HDD player category.

btw, [b]COWON A3 will own all other HDD players[/b].
sadly, COWON still hasn't released A3 outside of their homeland. they are delaying the release...stupid move by COWON.

RE: other picks
By JasonMick on 12/3/2007 12:09:49 PM , Rating: 2
The Cowon Q5W, just came out:

So it isn't really a "best of" yet, though it has been popular in Asia.

However, the main reason I was hesitant to throw it in is because of the high price tag. @ $549.99 (40GB) and $599.00 (60GB) a pop, it is significantly above the other HDD players in this article, and with a lower capacity.

Now being from Cowon, I'm sure the audio will be phenomenal, and will blow away the other HDD players listed (I would hope), but unfortunately that price will be a sticking point for many.

Good recommendation, though.

No Bluetooth on the iPhone?!?! Are you high?
By erector16 on 12/2/2007 2:11:59 PM , Rating: 4
The iPhone supports wi-fi fully, but unfortunately offers no support for Bluetooth, a standard in the cell phone industry.

Um... yeah. That's absolutely incorrect. The iPhone does indeed have Bluetooth (I use it everyday). Whether or not it supports all of the profiles that are common to cell phones is another thing. You can use the iPhone with a Bluetooth headset, hands free (in car) and to connect to your laptop (although I'm not sure what all is enabled for this).

RE: No Bluetooth on the iPhone?!?! Are you high?
By sprockkets on 12/2/2007 2:48:02 PM , Rating: 3
what about the stereo gateway? does it have it? still agree of course the iphone has bt

By erector16 on 12/2/2007 4:48:36 PM , Rating: 2
No, there is no support for the A2DP profile yet. Hopefully they implement it in an upcoming firmware release.

By Enoch2001 on 12/2/2007 7:25:42 PM , Rating: 1
The iPhone supports wi-fi fully, but unfortunately offers no support for Bluetooth, a standard in the cell phone industry.

Yeah that statement rather surprised me, too. Either Jason was copying and pasting his story from somebody else's or he's oblivious to one of the most popular pieces of tech this year. Or both. ;-)

Care to elaborate, Jason?

By JasonMick on 12/3/2007 12:13:18 PM , Rating: 2
My appologies, I meant to say no Bluetooth stereo support. It doesn't really matter if Bluetooth is implemented if theres no support for a stereo gateway/no A2DP support -- for music listening at least.

As bluetooth stereo sound is a very in demand feature of mobile music phones, I point to this as a downside. Again, the iPhone has a few holes, but like I said, overall it is a solid, proven solution.

By SiliconAddict on 12/2/2007 1:27:07 PM , Rating: 2
You answered the question in the first line. Its all about bling instead of functionality. Its a status symbol that is all. Fuck the iPhone. There are better devices on the market, with better functionality, that don't tie you to the worst mobile carrier in the industry.

By Gnoad on 12/2/2007 1:32:29 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T isn't so bad where I live. I plan on switching to them from Nextel, which is horrible here. Like most carriers, I'm sure different areas have different service.

By masher2 on 12/2/2007 3:00:56 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly; geography is everything. On my side of the city, AT&T has by far the best service. On the far side, Verizon is king. T-Mobile and Sprint are, unfortunately, bad on both sides.

Zune refurb
By darkpaw on 12/2/2007 2:30:42 PM , Rating: 2
Picked up a refurb 30GB Zune off Woot for like $85 a few weeks back and I know its available as a refurb at a bit more elsewhere online.

I replaced an ancient Creative Xen player with it and have been quite happy (especially for the price).

If you don't mind buying a refurb, nothing else really comes close in the price range.

RE: Zune refurb
By AntiV6 on 12/2/2007 9:12:24 PM , Rating: 2
What about the brand new brown Zune 30 Gigabyte for $99? :P

I actually like the look of the new Zunes. They look a lot better than the new iPods, with the exception of the iPhone/iTouch.

RE: Zune refurb
By guacamojo on 12/3/2007 11:41:14 AM , Rating: 2
Or if you want a flash-based player, the Sansa E250 or 260 (2gb or 4gb) refurbs on Woot were $30 and $50 respectively. What else can you get for that low a price?

I got the 2gb version. It's a surprisingly nice player (with FM radio and voice recording too) and appeals to my cheap-ass side. Can't go wrong! It replaces an ancient (but perfectly functional) Rio flash player.

How about a download service review?
By lifeblood on 12/2/2007 7:29:19 PM , Rating: 2
I simply cannot bring myself to use any of these devices. I bought a Treo 600 off ebay for $37, then installed mmplayer to play my mp3s. I am extreamly happy with this setup as my phone, PDA, and MP3 player is now combined in one device. If I listen to one of these unit's I will discover how poor the sound quality is on mine and I won't be happy any more.

Can you do a review of mosic download services? I can't find where I can download drm free music in mp3 format. I need drm free because none of the services I've seen support the Treo 600.

By johnbuk on 12/5/2007 4:19:48 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure why this was rated down. I agree. I'd like to see a decent review and/or an article on recommendations comparing music services.

I'm not so concerned about drm (there are ways around that), but would love to see an article that states which (if any services) offer lossless downloads, what is and isn't available on each of the services, and which are easiest to navigate.

Personally, I get most of my music from other sources (not big on current Top 40 and already own most of the "classics" on CD), but I'm looking into a service for the wife.

By JCheng on 12/8/2007 2:18:51 PM , Rating: 2
Amazon, iTunes Music Store, and Zune Marketplace all offer MP3 downloads, although the selection isn't nearly as good as for DRM'd tracks.

Somewhat outdated?
By Omega215D on 12/2/2007 8:29:32 PM , Rating: 2
Forget the chocolate and its finicky touch sensitive buttons. The LG Venus is a much better MP3 phone. It's bottom touch screen is much more accurate. And why not list the Nokia N95 since the iPhone is listed. I have the LG Voyager... maybe that should be there too.

Plus Creative's Zen and iAudio D2 are great MP3 players that are expandable and the Sony A810 series come with great stock headphones and great sound quality. I know because I have all three... two were liberated from me when family members had broken iPods.

RE: Somewhat outdated?
By JasonMick on 12/3/2007 12:22:47 PM , Rating: 2
I like the Chocolate, its served me well, so I give a plug to it.

The Nokia N95 is actually a solid suggestion, though there have been less than glowing reports about its bass. Still, good thought.

RE: Somewhat outdated?
By Loc13 on 12/3/2007 8:50:17 PM , Rating: 2
The Sony NWZ A810 series player has been receiving great reviews everywhere I look, especially with the included earbud that Sony sells for $70 (or cheaper if you shop around) separately. Too bad the lack of FM tuner killed it for me.

Sansa E200?
By Smurfer2 on 12/2/2007 10:27:37 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, surprised it isn't mentioned in the flash category. I love mine and I feel is a great competitor to the Nano.... Oh well....

RE: Sansa E200?
By marvdmartian on 12/3/2007 11:36:49 AM , Rating: 2
Well, just skimming the article, it's pretty obvious that the guys here at DT either haven't tried the other Sansa models (only the new Sansa Clip is reviewed? HELLO???), or are too much of ipod fanboys to bother.

The Sansa E200 series spanks the ipod nano, hands down. Too bad the reviewers here didn't bother taking that into effect, and only reviewed the E200's little brother, which (in reality) should've only been compared to the low end ipod shuffle (which, I believe, doesn't even have a screen???)......but then, it would've spanked the shuffle, like the E200 does the nano, wouldn't it???

RE: Sansa E200?
By JasonMick on 12/3/2007 12:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
I love the Sansa clip! I picked one up on Black Friday and have been using it ever since =[ Sorry to leave out the other Sansa offerings, I didn't try the others out much.

I know everyone has there personal favorites, I was just trying to provide an overview of some of the top choices. I'm pretty sure that the very choosy consumer wouldn't necessarily use a buyer's guide as more than an informative tool anyways, so don't feel constrained by what I suggest.

By sprockkets on 12/2/2007 2:50:08 PM , Rating: 3
If you want great audio quality, you go with Cowon. Ogg quality 3 sounds great on that thing.

RE: yep
By johnbuk on 12/5/2007 9:34:45 AM , Rating: 2
Really surprised the Cowon D2 didn't make the list.
Flash player with 2, 4, or 8 GB, but accepts SDHC cards which can now be purchased at up to 16 GB (although that size is still really expensive- 32 GB cards are supposed to be out in the near future as well).
Sound quality is excellent. Far better than any Zune or Ipods I've tried. Great battery life (over 40 hours for music, 8+ when showing video). 2.5" touch screen (not massive, but larger than some).
Not the cheapest player out there, but if you shop around for $200 you should be able to find a 4GB player plus a 8GB SDHC card.
In addition to playing music in a bunch of different formats (including my favorite, flac), also has a TV out cable that can be used to show video on TV (admittedly not the best quality when shown on a TV, but nice when traveling and you don't want to tote along a DVD player).

Creative Zen
By Suomynona on 12/2/2007 6:02:25 PM , Rating: 2
The Creative Player you listed is actually last year's model. This one below is the current model, and is a fantastic player, my friend has it.

RE: Creative Zen
By oTAL on 12/4/2007 10:29:59 AM , Rating: 2
Yup! It's a GREAT player. I couldn't believe it when I saw it was left out.
After some research I bought one of these.

*Screen is awesome (video looks awesome).
*Music quality is great.
*A lot more flexible in format files than most competition.
*Plenty of small features (FM radio p.e.).
*SD card reader than can handle 8GB cards.
*Reads DivX (kind of).

*It's not as intuitive as Apple products but anyone reading this will handle it fine after 30 minutes.
*Does not read high resolution video files (they are converted automatically and it's a simple - although lengthy - process to add videos).
*SD card reader is poorly implemented. You can't do anything else when using the SD card. If you're listening to music it stops as you access the SD and if your listening to music on the SD you can't even browse the phone without without shutting down the music. How about some flexibility with the external media? You can't copy files between external and internal storage. It SUCKS.

Bottom line: Great player but needs improvements. A little rough around the edges but I have some hopes that firmware updates will make it better. I believe this is the best buy out there for a small media player iPod Nano style.

I can't believe
By Vanilla Thunder on 12/3/2007 11:09:59 AM , Rating: 2
You would list the Nokia 5300, and not have a single SonyEricsson phone on the list. I have a W810i that surpasses this phone in more areas than just the MP3 palyer, as do most SE phones. But no mention of any of these. What's up with that DT?


RE: I can't believe
By MikeO on 12/7/2007 5:27:07 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, seriously. The best music phones on the market, the SE Walkman line and not even one mention of them. That's just sad.

A bit late, but...
By clovell on 12/6/2007 4:46:07 PM , Rating: 3
I didn't see anything about the new Flash Zunes - what gives?

Nokia 5300
By Pac10 on 12/2/2007 3:09:26 PM , Rating: 2
The microSD card is the main complaint as you have to remove the battery to access it, which can be tedious.

I have this phone, you don't have to remove the battery, just the back cover, the slot is on the side of the phone, not under the battery.

Ummm... hi?
By HaZaRd2K6 on 12/2/2007 8:51:00 PM , Rating: 2
> "Phones, MP3 players, and discrete systems, oh my!"

So what about those discrete systems?

> "At the top sits Apple, which obviously reigns king, but Zen, Samsung..."

Also, do you perhaps mean Creative here?

How abt audio quality?
By EclipsedAurora on 12/3/2007 5:00:08 AM , Rating: 2
For nearly all products recommended by Dailytech above, they are well known "bad" or "not good enough" sounding products.

And for mobile phone section, it is also well known that LG Chocolate is poor in reception power. Also, the battery performance with MP3 playback is general poor for LG and Samsung mobiles.

I think Dailytech should review more area b4 drawing such a "recommendation" conclusion.

Why not the Blackberry Curve
By akenaton on 12/3/2007 10:31:41 AM , Rating: 2
It's the phone that I own, and I thought it wouldn't be worth a damn in the audio department, but...

3.5mm jack, 4GB expandable storage, a rather decent internal speaker, you have the choice between blackberry's media player and downloading for free FlipSide to manage your music. You can run internet radio off of it. And you have a really great screen to work with.

Finally I got my on AT&T contract for $40 so its a great deal (includes 2MP camera with flash) and a real keyboard (a little jab at the iphone people)

But honestly with this phone why would I want a MP3 player.

its actually.....
By overclockingfan90 on 12/4/2007 4:52:47 PM , Rating: 2
AN vx8550 not an 8850 chocolate:) i would no i have the 8500 and the new chocolate is just an upgrade

By DeepBlue1975 on 12/13/2007 11:50:53 AM , Rating: 2
up to 16gb... top 50 cds...

Lets do some real calculations, right?

128kbps CBR encoded mp3 = 960kb / minute
320lbps CBR encoded mp3 = 2400kb / minute

Typical music CD you buy = 60 minutes of music. (no more than 14 songs on most cds, many don't even get that much)

60 minutes @128kbps = 57600 KB. = 56.25MB -> round to 57MB
60 minutes @320kbps = 144000 kb = 140.6MB -> round to 141MB

16GB, lets say, 16000MB = 113cds @320kbps, 280cds @128kbps.

Taking this into consideration:

Where did you come from with just a 50cd figure?
That must surely be one of the worst approximations I have read in the last 3 months.

And I'm not even talking about VBR encoding which eats less space and goes no further than 256kbps, or MP3 pro.

Your 50cds can be held in an 8gb device encoded at 320kbps CBR, or on a sub-4gb device if encoded at 128kbps, which is what most people out there use.

M$ killed Plays for sure
By mondo1234 on 12/18/2007 5:40:09 PM , Rating: 2
Here is the link for all you buying other players. Stick with the Ipod or beware of M$

Oh I don't think so...
By TwistyKat on 12/20/2007 5:23:24 PM , Rating: 2
Music lovers are living quite possibly the greatest era in history for their passion.

How many of these devices play lossless file formats? How many play open-source file formats?

In all reality, anything but lossless music files are the pits. But if you are a "music lover", as the article describes, you already know that.

I play near-lossless ogg files on my Cowon U3. No silly iPods for this "music lover"

Sansa View
By Pirks on 12/3/2007 2:57:15 PM , Rating: 1
Where is Sansa View? A nice MP3 video/audio player with 16GB of flash and for mere $200 US? Hello?

You DT guys should do better than that.

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