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All posts tagged "mp3 player"

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top Gadgets of the Decade?

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 04:00 PM

"As 2009 winds down and we try to come up with new and clever ways of referring to the early years of this century, there's really only one thing left to do: declare our ten favorite gadgets of the aughts and show them off in chronological order."

The end of a year always produces a series of lists: Best of the Year, Worst of the Year, and so on. Naturally, the end of a decade brings about all the more reflection, and you can find various lists for the "2000's" almost anywhere you care to look. The good folks at Engadget have created one that may be of particular interest: the "Ten Gadgets That Defined the Decade" - from the Canon Digital ELPH camera to the ASUS Eee PC 900 netbook. The article is interesting, and I particularly enjoyed the handful of alternative thoughts provided. But the most fascinating thing to me was that - with all of the items listed - the feedback for the article seems to primarily debate the merits of Microsoft's Xbox 360 vs Sony's Playstation 2! What would your "Top Ten" be for the 2000's? Or do you think this list stands unchallenged?

Coming Soon - Viliv N5 MID

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"This invitation is the first we've heard of the company's N5 mobile internet device, which is also slated to debut at the show. As you can see above, this one is a clamshell MID, and packs a 4.8-inch multitouch display, a fully QWERTY keyboard, and 3G, WiFi, and GPS capabilities."

I'd really like a full netbook in this form factor. Just make the screen take up the full lid and switch from CE to XP and I'll be good to go. Sure, I won't be typing any novels, but it would be small enough to shove about anywhere but still provide a better experience than most phones.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tegra 2 Details Coming At CES

Posted by Josh Sorenson in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:30 PM

"Full details regarding Tegra 2 are unknown, but it's expected to have roughly twice the power and graphical capabilities of the original and be based on 40nm processes. The current-gen Tegra is already capable of 1080p HD video; Hara says NVIDIA's goal is the desktop internet and media experience in a portable device:"

The first Tegra chip is mouth watering enough, but imagine a chip that can handle twice what the current Tegra does. That is just what Nvidia's Tegra 2 is rumored to do. They are set to release more details at CES 2010, including some demo products from their partners. The first half of next year will bring us tablet PCs, smartbooks, netbooks, and MIDs all powered by Tegra 2. Later down the line will we see a second generation Zune HD based off of the new chip? Or a Windows phone? Only time will tell on that one.

doubleTwist and Amazon Double up on iTunes

Posted by Reid Kistler in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 03:12 PM

"DoubleTwist, the media management software created by Jon Lech Johansen - a.k.a. "DVD Jon" - is teaming up with in its bid to create an alternative to Apple's iTunes. Start-up DoubleTwist makes software designed to help users of devices other than Apple products, such as BlackBerry and Android phones, to organize and keep track of their music. Starting immediately, the DoubleTwist software will now let people buy music files from Amazon's MP3 store in a more seamless fashion that replicates the iTunes experience by essentially integrating the Amazon store right into their software."

Do you download music? Have multiple devices, and / or non-Apple devices? Or simply like the thought of buying from the Amazon Music Store better than from iTunes? If so, doubleTwist would like you to give its software a try.

Their website,, promises they are "open to any device, content, or network," their list of supported devices is impressive, and the download is free. The music, alas, will still cost a few dollars - and it appears that you need a "valid US billing address and a credit or debit card" for buying from the Amazon music store via doubleTwist. Does this look like a real iTunes challenger? What other options are available?

Zune Finally Good Enough To Clone

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 08:30 AM

"Taiwan's MSI, known mainly for its PCs, has released its latest portable media player, the MT-V660. The device is styled after Microsoft's Zune HD and uses a Rockchip RK2806 chipset along with a 3.2-inch display with a 480x320 resolution."

While Apple's iPod line has had a quadrillion copy cats, Microsoft's Zune has remained relatively unscathed until now. With the Zune HD getting rave reviews it was only a matter of time before similar looking products started showing up. If I were Microsoft, I would feel flattered! The fact that this one comes from MSI is a bit of a surprise, but it appears that the less euphoniously named MT-V660 appears to offer playback for a wealth of formats. Whether it will support the rest of the features a Zune HD offers, and have as slick an interface remains to be seen. One thing that is certain though, is that it will be sold beyond the US border.

Monday, December 14, 2009

ABI's Top MP3 Player Picks of 2009

Posted by Josh Sorenson in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 PM

"It's that time of year when we lay out our top picks for the year. 2009 was the year of the touch player- consumers demanded them and manufactures responded. If you notice that this year's list resembles last years and that's because many of the manufacturer's this year made some awesome incremental improvements in their current line of players."

Sony Walkman X-1000

Grahm Skee over at AnythingButiPod has come up with a top 5 list of the MP3 Players from this year. My personal favorite, the Zune HD, came in 4th place because of its locked in ecosystem. Leading the pack was the Sansa Clip+ with its cheap price and newly added MicroSD card slot. Are there any players that you think should have been in there? What's your top 5 list of MP3 Players? Let us know in the comments.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Subscription Music from MOG

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 AM

"MOG has been teasing the service with videos for a couple of months now, and the latest demonstration video looks pretty appealing. Fast search will show results as you type, and you'll be able to create and save playlists, which will then appear in other users' search results (for instance, if you create an all-shoegaze playlist, it should show up when I type "Boo Radleys Curve Slowdive"). There's also a social-networking aspect: you'll be able to create profile pages which will display information such as the last song you played, and add other users as "trusted sources" to get their recommendations--very similar to Microsoft's Zune Social."

I'm actually warming up to the idea of a music subscription service. MOG seems to have some neat features, but the apparent lack of portability makes this of no use to me. I've been using the free version of Slacker Radio for a while now and have been pretty pleased with it and haven't upgraded to the paid version simply because I don't find the commercials annoying and have never hit the point that I wanted more than 6 skips an hour.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Viewsonic VPD400, Chock Full of Ho Hum

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:00 PM

"ViewSonic® presents MovieBook VPD400: the next generation of the ultimate, all-in-one Portable Entertainment experience. The choice is yours – watch HD movies, listen to music, view photo albums, read digital books or even record voice memos. Stylish and ultra thin, this pocket-sized device will keep you entertained, anywhere. It supports a full range of video and audio formats. Super crisp, 4.3" larger screen with video output performance up to 720p, provides optimum viewing to share videos and movies with friends. Or simply hook up the MovieBook VPD400 to any PC or TV for full sized entertainment at home."

Personally, not something I'd buy. I'd spend a couple extra buck and either go with an iPod Touch or a cheap netbook and get a ton of functionality. At around $150, it is only marginally cheaper than a Touch and while it offers a bigger screen, it doesn't have much else going for it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Archos 5, Monster Media Player

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:30 AM

"I've had my hands on the Archos 5 Android Internet tablet for more than seven days now, and to be honest, I'm still not sure what to make of it. What's hanging up the review isn't the price (which starts at $249), or capacity (up to 500GB), or the impressive selection of features; it's the devices spotty performance. So far, some stuff just doesn't work as advertised."

Like a lot of previous Archos devices, this one seems to have a ton of potential that it just doesn't quite deliver on. If they get the kinks worked out, the 500GB model looks to be a real beast with no real competition.

Monday, October 12, 2009

DoubleTwist, with a Twist of Amazon

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Software" @ 03:30 PM

"Doubletwist is now powered by Amazon's 5 million strong music store in support of its vision to connect consumers with all their media across any device. Amazon access is only available to US users from the Mac-only software at the moment. A PC version is "coming soon" along with more country support."

Both iTunes and the Zune desktop each link to their respective stores, but what is a MP3 player agnostic supposed to link to? If you said the Amazon store, you win a prize. It makes perfect sense. Amazon doesn't care what MP3 player you use. From the perspective of DoubleTwist, this helps fill in a feature they were missing, and I'm betting they probably have an affiliates agreement with Amazon to help bring in some money.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Creative Zen X-Fi 2 Coming Soon

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 09:00 AM

"Looks like Creative has been busy cooking up some other players aside from the Zii EGG. The Zen X-Fi 2 is a touch screen second edition of their last Zen X-Fi. Models will come in 8/16/32GB and sell for $130/$180/$230."

While no release date has been set, the X-Fi 2 will probably be available in time to make them stocking stuffers for your kids. anythingbutipod provides a list of all the X-Fi 2 has to offer, along with some videos. Short of phone capabilities, it looks like the wee player packs a fair bit of stuff such as a speaker, PDA like features, including synchronization, an FM tuner and support for the major video codecs it looks like Creative tried to pack as much as they could into the X-Fi 2. A camera is notably missing, and I question the output of the speaker, but there is a lot to like. The upcoming release of the Zune HD and the wide offerings from Apple, the PMP market has very stiff competition and it looks like Creative is going the functionality route to compete.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sansa Clip+ Reviewed by anythingbutipod

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"The Clip+ is a very welcome update to the original with improved build quality, design, and UI. The big news however is the addition of the microSD slot. Being able to upgrade your capacity for cheap is a very appealing feature of the Clip+ especially in such a small form factor. The ability to have potentially 40GB of music in very small space is a minimalists dream. The great sound quality, transfer protocol, and folder browsing will very much appeal to the enthusiasts, but the Clip+ is still very well suited for the tech beginner."

I really like the idea of an expandable MP3 player. I can't imagine that adding an SD card slot to full sized players would add much in the way of cost, yet it would allow considerable expansion. Of course I'm sure manufacturers would rather you upgrade than expand your players. This player is probably the exception simply because Sandisk also sells memory and figures they may still profit from any addition you make.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The iZel: A Digital Device Holder

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:30 AM

The iZel is a small, portable digital device holder (stand) that allows you to easily watch video content in comfort while on a plane, train etc. All you need is a surface to put the iZel on. In the video I test it out with a variety of devices: Zunes, smartphones, an iPod Touch, etc. When I travel, I like to load up my Zune with a movie or two, but I end up holding it in my hand to watch it - not very ideal. The iZel offers a solution to that problem, although depending on the screen size of your device, and how good your eyesight is, watching a video at tray-table height might be difficult. The iZel is made of very durable materials, so it should last a very long time, making it worth the price tag in my opinion (though not everyone agrees). I'll likely be travelling by plane in September, so I'll get a chance to use it in a real-world situation. In the meantime, I'm going to use it as a holder for my cellphone-du-jour, the Samsung Jack. The iZel can be purchased for $24.95 from [Affiliate]

Friday, May 22, 2009

Another Take on the Great Bitrate Debate

Posted by Timothy Huber in "Digital Home News" @ 03:30 PM

"There will be no judgment in this post. No sound snobbery. I'm simply asking the age-old question: At what bitrate should we encode MP3s? And I need your help. This test is occurring in two parts. In part one, I'm sampling three songs chosen from vastly different genres, encoded from CD and transcoded into the various popular bitrates available for MP3s (64k, 96, 128, 160, 192, 256, and 320kbps with VBR off). I tell you what I hear, then you sample the files yourself, and tell me what you hear."

There's an interesting test going on over at Gizmodo. Mark Wilson tried to determine the "sweet spot" for encoding MP3s in terms of bitrate. He performed the tests on three different genres of music and shared his conclusions. But more interesting, he's made the sound clips available for download and asked his readers to perform their own tests and share the results. Head over a give is a try!

I've played around with different bit rates and codecs over the years. I gave up on lower bit rates a couple years ago when hard drive storage really stopped being an issue and just decided to re-rip my CD collection in 320kbps MP3. And if I'm reading Mark Wilson's conclusions correctly, I should be safe, at least for a few more years. What bitrate and codec do you use?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

CNet Reviews Memorex TouchMP

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:00 AM

"The Memorex TouchMP is an affordable touch-screen media player that supports music, video, photos, radio, and audiobook playback, and also includes a voice recorder and a decent pair of in-ear headphones. The TouchMP's construction feels as cheap as its price, and the interface isn't much to look at. The Memorex TouchMP is the first MP3 player we've seen that combines touch-screen technology, useful features, and an attractive design, for less than $100."

Certainly not an iPod touch, but if you are looking for a touch screen interface and something that the iPod does not offer (a micro SD card slot) all for under $100, this might be worth a quick look.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

iHarmonix Platinum Earbuds: Easy Listening on the Go

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM

Most of us have a media player of one sort or another. Whether it is an iPhone, Archos or Zune, PMPs typically come with stock earbuds. While great for space and portability, they usually lack decent sound reproduction. iHarmonix manufactures several lines of earbuds to improve upon what comes packed in a tiny bag of cellophane. I had the opportunity to put one of their Platinum ev-Series Earphones through its paces and I was fairly pleased with what I heard. Perhaps as an indication of thoughtfulness, the earbuds thankfully do not come in a cut-my-arteries-blister-pack, but one with a cardboard backing which is much easier to open. Inside, the earbuds came with three sets of ear gels in different sizes, a soft velvety pouch to and a slip of paper to serve as instructions. Read more...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How Tough is Your Display?

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM

"Browsing around the forums I see a few people purchasing screen protectors for their MP3 players that have glass screens. Some might say better safe than sorry but these screens are much more durable than one would think. Below I put a few of these glass screen players though some rather harsh scratch tests, well beyond what the vast majority of users might experience."

I have a screen protector on my phone in fear that the abuse I put it through will leave an unreadable screen. anythingbutipod puts four PMPs through a torture test to see if screen protectors are really necessary. The videos they provide are painful to watch, but very educating. I am happy with the results and it is something I'll keep in mind in the future. Still, the PMPs they test aren't the same kind of screen that my HTC Kaiser has so I'll keep up with the screen protector ritual. Is anyone convinced with anythingbutipod's results or can screen protector manufacturers breathe a sigh of relief?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Gizmodo Sees Value In Having Audiophiles

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 07:30 AM

"Fremer, if you have yet to decipher this, is an audiophile of the highest calibre. Literally millions of dollars of premium audio equipment have passed through his listening room under review for Stereophile magazine, and he's been obsessing about vinyl since he was four years old, memorizing the labels of his parents' 78s."

$350,000 sounds like a lot to spend on a stereo system, but Gizmodo explains why audiophiles, at least those like Michael Fremer, are crucial to making sure that our music equipment doesn't degenerate into a series of beeps and boops. In almost every industry, we have experts who examine every detail and criticize every choice and while they may seem obsessive and uncompromising, they're the people who keep pushing improvements and prevent quality from dropping too far. I sit in wonder about how one can spend thousands on something that seems trivial to me, but for some, it makes a difference. I'll freely admit that I'm very pedestrian when it comes to music equipment and I'll even listen to 128kbps mp3s (though FLAC sounds much better) but I am glad there are those who make sure that the industry is pushing to make things better.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Specs for the Upcoming Archos 2

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:00 PM

"Details on a forthcoming MP3 player from Archos named the Archos 2 have been revealed on Though there's nothing revolutionary about the specs of the Archos 2, the $59 price tag (8GB) may be enough to have you overlooking its mediocrity. Basically, this is a budget MP3 player that emulates the candy bar designs and portrait-style screen orientations of the Apple iPod Nano and Microsoft Zune. The Archos 2 features a 1.8-inch color screen, and includes music playback (MP3, WMA), a photo viewer, video playback (AVI), and voice-recording capabilities. There's no FM radio, however, which is a little odd considering most iPod alternatives have one."

Looks like a pretty good deal for a 8 GB player. I'll be curious to see the build quality as that could be a make or break for this.

Mezzmo: The Ultimate Home Entertainment Software

Posted by Chris Baxter in "Digital Home Software" @ 07:00 AM

Product Image

Product Category: Media Sharing Software
Manufacturer: Conceiva
Where to Buy:
Price: $69.95 USD
System Requirements: Windows Vista, Windows XP, Minimum of 512MB RAM, Minimum of 50MB free hard disk space, Minimum of 1024x768, 24 bit resolution display, CD/DVD writer (recommended), and Internet connection (recommended).


  • Easy to setup and get running;
  • Supports a wide variety of popular devices;
  • Clean, attractive interface.


  • Program still has some bugs that need to be worked out;
  • Kind of expensive compared to alternatives.

Summary: Mezzmo claims to be the ultimate home entertainment software. It can organize your entire media collection, stream music and video anywhere in your house, rip and burn music CDs, and includes a free media player. With a list of features like that their claim might be right on the money, but as we all know, what looks good on paper doesn't necessarily deliver on what it promises. Fortunately I was able to get my hands on a copy and after putting the software through its paces, this is what I found:


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