iPod Killers for Christmas 2005 Part III

By Richard Menta 9/28/05

An iPod that plays video files is finally out and all those portable manufacturers who added video as a product differentiator are now met with straight competiton. Well, not really straight, because the iPod has the advantage of a TV program supplying iTunes to deliver content for their player, content that naturally only plays on an iPod. We will soon see how this all will play out, but for now here is the third installment of digital music players for the holidays.

Panasonic SVMP710VW

Well look, Panasonic has a new MP3 player out. Now if they can only design a unit that makes the company a player in the MP3 arena. It is quite surprising they haven't, because after Sony the Panasonic brand was number two in portable audio - in 1998.

The SVMP710VW is a tiny player, but so is its capacity. At 256MB it seems slight for these days. Panasonic wants $140 for it too, almost the same price as a 1GB iPod Shuffle. But hey, it has a display! So does the 2GB iPod nano, folks, for $60 more.


Panasonic SVMP710VW

Sanyo DMP-M600 and DMP-M700

These new stick-like portables are due to appear this October. The 512MB DMP-M600 and the 1GB DMP-M700 come in at 0.61 x 3.4 x 0.61 inches and a light 3/4 of an ounce.

Sanyo rates the battery life at 12 hours. The two players will come in five colors, all shown in the photograph to the right of this article. No word on price yet for these units, but figure they will roughly be priced the same as a like-capacity iPod Shuffle.

The Sanyo include s a screen too, but not too many other features. Sleek and simple.


Sanyo DMP-M600 and DMP-M700


SanDisk Sansa m200

SanDisk Sansa m200

So, is it true that SanDisk is the number two MP3 make? I don't know for sure, but I'll tell you this no one gets their flash memory cheaper than SanDisk, not even Apple. That's because SanDisk's primary business is making flash memory. The new SanDisk Sansa m200 is the first 4GB flash unit we have seen since the iPod nano was released and it may be the only one for awhile. That's because Apple ordered pretty much all of the 4GB memory chips Samsung could punch out. For the short term SanDisk will enjoy a competitive advantage over the other iPod Killers on this list.

The Sansa m200 offers MP3 and PlaysForSure WMA support and an FM Tuner for $199, $50 less than the iPod nano. At that price SanDisk may have a shot at double digit market share.

Oakley Thump 2

Whether the style of Oakley's updated Thump looks good on you or not is a subjective matter. If you are a biker or someone else on the go it can be a convenient, if expensive, little item.

Most notable in the new Thump is the improvement in the earbuds, which have added two hinges for a more sufficient fit than the straight stem in the original Thump. The 256MB version will set you back $300 and the 512MB about $350. The 1GB Thump 2 will run you $450 or more than twice the price of a 2GB iPod nano. But does a nano shade you from the sun?


Oakley Thump 2


Archos Gmini 402 Camcorder

Archos Gmini 402 Camcorder

With a built-in camera to snap photos and record video through a lens rather than through a tuner, the Archos Gmini 402 Camcorder offers a little bit of everything. Of course, to do everything right is much harder than it sounds.

The 20GB unit has a 1.2 megapixel resolution, which for photos is fair quality at best, but for video can be quite good as long as a good shot does not require a lot of light. The Gmini 402 plays MP3 and PlaysForSure WMA files on the audio side. On the video side it is MPEG-4 and Windows Media 10 with a side order of DRM.

Douglas.J Presidential

Last year Jens of Sweden released an MP3 player plated in gold for $1,200. This year P Diddy came out with a diamond studded iPod and Swedish manufacturer Adamond is adorning one of its player with a diamond. I guess diamonds get the big press these days. Well, if ostentatious is what you strive for in your digital equipment you'll love the Douglas.J Presidential.

The Presidential is loaded with diamond studs, rows and rows of them if you like. And how much is this puppy, you say? Only $44,000 US, we reply. Then what else does this product offer for that much money, you ask? Don't know, we answer, because Douglas.J is charging $50 just to look at the specifications on their website. We passed, but if you have the cost of a mid-priced Mercedes burning in your pocket, we can think of worse things to...oh, who are we kidding.


Douglas.J Presidential


Douglas.J X2

Douglas.J X2

The Douglas.J X2 Personal Media Player appears to be technically the same as the Presidential sans the shiny rocks, but we don't know that for sure as we didn't wish to blow $50 clams to see the Presidential's specs.

The X2 offers a decent sized 64K color OLED display on only a 2.28in x 1.55in x 0.27in player. The unit supports MP3, WMA, ASF, and WAV audio as well as JPEG for stills and MPEG-4 for your movies and Simpsons episodes. The built-in FM tuner records off the air and the lithium batteries offer a 10 hour charge for audio playback. A sleep timer and voice recording round out the features of this 1GB flash unit, which is available in Gold, Silver, Blue and Pink

Panasonic D-snap

The upcoming D-snap players for Panasonic look a litle more interesting than their other players, mostly due to a very long 45-hour battery life from its built-in rechargeable battery. That's not all, the user can insert an additional AA battery that extends battery life to 105 hours! Storage is handled through various-sized SD cards. The versions include the SV-SD750V, SV-SD700, which offer a 7-lines display, and the 5-line SV-SD350V and SV-SD300.

The dimensions of the D-snap is 3.4 x 1.8 x 0.39-inches and weigh in at 56g. All versions of the unit have a recordable FM tuner. The The SD750V and SD700 add double-drive in-ear earphones. The SD750V and SD350V have voice recording.


Panasonic D-Snap


Elecom’s PLC-2, PLP-P01

Elecom’s PLC-2, PLP-P01, PLP-H01

For those who would like to crunch their entire CD library without the need of a computer the Elecom PLC-2 is for you. This base station will covert your CD to MP3s and store them on SD and miniSD cards, which can either be played on the PLC-2's built-in speakers or on the matching PLP-P01 portable player.

The PLP-P01 is a basic unit that handles MP3 and PlaysForSure WMA files. It has a monchrome display and a pleasing orange/white color scheme.

Neuros 442 PMP

We reviewed the first Neuros digital music player back in May of 2003. Now they are launching their latest player that handles video as well as audio and photos.

What makes the Nueros most interesting is that the unit's firmware is open source, allowing users to freely hack and improve on the device.The Neuros 442 utilizes a dual core CPU, a 3.6" 65K color TFT display, and a 40GB hard drive.The unit can record and playback both video and audio and offers an SD/MMC slot for file transfers and memory expansion. The Neuros handles audio in the MP3/ADPCM/WMA/AAC-LC codecs. Video specs include NTSC/PAL
Playback of MPEG4/DivX 3.11/4.0/5.0/WMV v9. The Neuros 442 sells for $399.


Neuros 442


Stormblue A9 Bluetooth

Stormblue A9 Bluetooth

Rumors abound over the iPod offering a bluetooth player. For now they are just rumors, but other manufacturers are already offering this option that can be mated with a pair of bluetooth headphones to shed those annoying wires.

The A9 plays both audio and video files and comes as a 2GB flash player. It sports a 2.2" 260K LCD display.While not as slim as an iPod nano it does offer an SD slot for memory expansion. The A9 plays MP3, WMA, and OGG Vorbis files on the audio side. Fo video it handles MPEG4, DivX, and AVI.

Transcend T.Sonic 310

You must admit that these new players have an interesting look to them for a stick portable. Slightly larger that the iPod Shuffle, the T.Sonic 310 comes in at 3.3 x 0.93 x 0.47-inches and offers a replaceable Li-ion battery that gives off 18 hours of music to the charge.

The T.Sonic 310 is an otherwise basic unit that handles MP3 and WMA song files. The units undercut the iPod Shuffle by a few dollars offering the 512MB player for $80 and the 1GB unit doe $120.


Transcend T.Sonic 310

Other MP3 stories:
iPod Killers for Christmas 2005 Part I
iPod Killers for Christmas 2005 Part II
Apple Portable Does Video. Notes.


The 30GB iPod Video is available on Amazon