iPod Killers for Christmas 2005 Part Deux

By Richard Menta 10/7/05

So here is part two of our holiday list, a collection of portables for those who wish to eschew white ear-buds while toting tunes on the subway. And why can't you just buy black earbuds for your iPod? Please, and why doesn't Snoopy just sleep in his dog house. Part one of our iPod Killers for Christmas series can be viewed here.

Creative Zen Vision

We reported on the Zen Vision back in July. The 8oz Personal (or is it portable?) Media Player comes in at 4.9 x 2.9 x 0.8-inches, about the size of a standard iPod. made of magnesium alloy to reduce weight the Zen Vision will retail for about $400.

The unit sports a 30GB hard drive and supports the MP3, WMA, WAV, MPEG 4, WMV, DIVx and XviD formats. The Zen Vision also shows JPG and TIFF photographs. The 3.7-inch VGA (640 x 480) 262k color screen display is another promisiong feature of the unit.

A CompactFlash slot is a nice extra.


Epson P-4000 Photo Fine

Epson P-4000 Photo Fine

Epson follows up on its P-2000 series with this 80GB monster. If you like to carry your photos in high resolution RAW or JPEG formats then this is the device for you. The P-4000 plays music and video too, so don't think this player is for just the shutterbugs.

The P-4000 boasts a 3.8-inch color screen that features a 16x zoom on the display. It handles audio in the MP3 and AAC codecs (sorry, not Apple's version of AAC for you iTunes folk). Video included MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 playback as well as the ability to pipe the videos to your TV screen ala the Archos PMP units.

Samsung YP-U1

.Dell is not the only one to come out with its Shuffle clone. Samsung has also released a unit, this one with a hinged USB connector for tight places . The YP-U1 has no display or FM tuner like the Dell, but it offers both a 512MB and 1GB option. the YP-U1 plays MP3, WMA (PlaysForSure?), and OGG files.


Samsung YP-U1

Dell DJ Ditty

For those who want an iPod Shuffle with a display Dell has obliged with a Wrigleys-sized player of its own.

The 512MB player sports an FM tuner and you can change the color of the USB cap (I guess that's supposed to excite us). The DJ Ditty is available now and sells for $99.


Dell DJ Ditty


JVC XA-HD500

JVC XA-HD500

What makes the JVC XA-HD500 stick out from the rest of the DAP crowd is the fact that it is the first one in our memory to offer a wireless remote control. We have used a number of wired remote versions from the Nike PSA Play back in 2000 to the Sony PSP in our review last spring, but after a quick test we usually chose to dispense with them altogether. This remote is infrared, which means it has to be pointed at the player, but then the JVC was also designed to integrate easier with the home stereo system.

A cradle unit connects the player as an auxillary source to your stereo and as an very nice feature the font on the display can be increased making it easier to read from the couch as you select your tunes. The XA-HD500 sports a black and white screen as JVC decided to maximize battery length at a claimed 30 hours. The unit hold 6GB of music in the MP3 and PlaysForSure WMA codecs


Creative Muvo Vidz

Creative Muvo Vidz

If a large hard drive-based PMP is not your cup of tea Creative is also offering the Muvo Vidz, a 1.2 x 2.6 x 0.6-inch flash-based video player.

The Muvo Vidz will handle the usual MP3 and WMA (PlaysForSure?) as well as MPEG-4 video. Pricing of this unit will be around $150 for the 512MB version. A 1GB model will also be available.

Dell DJ Satellite and Pocket DJ Satellite

If Steve Jobs can be believed there will be no iPod Satellite, at least for awhile. This has started a rush by other manufacturers to offer an MP3Sat first as yet another option that may scratch some market share away from the mighty iPod.

Both Sirius and XM (with partner Samsung) will offer an MP3 satellite player this fall. Now Dell has announced that it will upgrade its DJ and Pocket DJ with capability to play XM radio streams pre-recorded on an accompanying dock system. A color screen will replace the monochrome display.


Dell DJ Satellite


Toshiba Gigabeat X30

Toshiba Gigabeat X30

The latest Gigabeat is the X30 and while this one will not utilize the fuel cell technology Toshiba demonstrated in September the Li-ion battery it does use will garner about 16 hours of playtime.

The Toshiba Gigabeat X30 is smaller and lighter than its predecessor, but will sport a larger color display, measuring 2.4 inches. Capacity of the unit is 30GB and it will handle the usual MP3, WMA combo. Capable of displaying JPEG photos, the X30 will come in black, white, and crimson.

Sanyo HDP-M3000

Sanyo's new player is another iPod Mini clone. The HDP-M3000 sports a 6GB microdrive for those of you who feel that Apple did not have to kill off the Mini in favor of the iPod nano. Hey, why can't they both just exist together?

The unit measures 3.5 x 1.9 x 0.78 inches and weighs in at 3 ounces, decent enough specs.

The Sanyo HDP-M3000 offers an integrated microphone for voice record and claims 12 hours on it li-ion batteries. The Sanyo plays MP3 and PlaysForSure WMA files.


Sanyo HDP-M3000

iRiver N11

The iRiver N11 is an update of the iRiver N10 neckstrap flash player. Weighing in at 0.77 ounces the N11 offer a 4 line EL display with screensavers, and a 13 hour battery. The unit can record off of its built-in FM tuner, which comes with a timer for recording specific radio shows (conservative talk show host fans buy MP3 players too).

The N11 handles several codecs namely MP3, WMA, OGG, and ASF.


iRiver N11


UMAX Vega 203

UMAX Vega 203

UMAX is the lastest non portable electronics maker to release a portable electronic. The well known maker of scanners for the home has thrown in their hat into the MP3 scene with the UMAX Vega 203.

The Vega 203 offers 512MB with an FM tuner and voice record capabilities for $99. The Vega 203 also offers an SD slot for memory expansion.

Oregon Scientific Waterproof

A look at the earbuds alone on the Oregon Scientific Waterproof tell you they are designed to keep water out. Hopefully they don't create a suction - ouch.

Recently we did a full review of the SwiMP3, a unit that uses bone conduction to transmit music to your head as you swim. Oregon Scentific uses modified earbuds to do the same thing. The OS Waterproof is not designed for training as the SwiMP3 is. It is just for water lovers who don't wish their iPod to be scratched by the sand, encrusted by the ocean brine, or discolored by chlorine.

The Oregon Scientific Waterproof is water proof to about 3 feet, comes with an FM tuner. The 512MB unit sells for $129, the 256MB version sells for $109.


Oregon Scientific Waterproof

 


Disney Digital Mix Sticks

Digital Mix Sticks

OK, I'll say it once because everyone else online is. "Hey, what kind of Mickey Mouse player is this"! There, are you happy. My goodness, Disney takes the risky iPod wannabe plunge, but just look at those cute little ears on the control pad.

Maybe it's not so risky as Disney is targeting the under 10 year old market or the iPod on training wheels set (how many puns can I squeeze out of here boys and girls). Disney plans to pre-load these units with music from the teen artists it records and pushes on Disney radio and TV, thus making it a promotional vehicle also. The players come with 128MB of memory and are expandable with memory cards called Mix Clips that carry full-length albums from Walt Disney Records. The slot reads regular SD/MMC cards, so users can expand the memory with up to 1GB of their own MP3/WMA tunes.

The cost for the player is $49. Mix Clips albums will be priced the same as regular CD, forcing the owner of a broken Mix Stick and a lot of Mix Clip albums not to trade up to big boy players. Disney got that idea from Apple and the way iTunes locks users into the iPod. The units look rugged and simple, perfect for you little monste...err...child.

Samsung YM-PD1 Satellite

An Archos personal media player (PMP) competitor the Samsung YM-PD1 catch is that it is the first audio/video player to roll in the ability to access DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcast) satellite television broadcasts.

DMB is an extension of the DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast) technology now available in Europe. Alas, such technology is unavailable in the US at present time so for us North American folk the Samsung YM-PD1 will have to serve as a regular video player for now.

The unit offers a 4-inch TFT LCD widescreen display and offers both a 20GB and 30GB hard drive. The unit can record conventional TV broadcasts via a TV-in jack as well as output them to a set via a TV-out jack. The YM-PD1 handles a healthy array of audio codecs including MP3, OGG, ASF, WMA & Secure WMA. With video it covers MPEG4, WMV, AVI, Divx, & Xvid. Finally the YM-PD1 has an FM tuner it can record from and voice record capabilities.


Samsung YM-PD1 Satellite


Minox DMP-1

Minox DMP-1

If an Apple iPod can be a photo viewer why can't an MP3 unit from a camera company. Enter Minox with its new flash-based unit, the DMP-1.

The Minox comes with a two-inch LCD display and 512MB of memory on board. SD cards expand the unit's capacity another 1GB. The unit has an FM tuner and the ability to record off the air or through a line-in jack. Minox claims a battery life of 12 hours. The Minox DMP-1 plays both MP3 and PlaysForSure WMA files.

I wonder how many other camera manufacturers will follow suit? Warning, the Leica MP3 LHSA does not play digital music. The MP3 in the name just represents a version of its MP model line.

Other MP3 stories:
iPod Killers for Christmas Part I
iPod Killers for Christmas 2005 Part III


The 4GB iPod Nano is available on Amazon