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  • Drazic - Saturday, October 25, 2008 - link

    I have my Zune 80GB for 3 years now. It has never been broken and the screen is still in good shape! The Zune is very easy to use, has wonderful music and the quality is very good. Of Course there are not a lot of European people who have the Zune, lucky me:)So they can't compare at all. Even though the people are saying that more of the population in the VS has the Mac Note Book I most say that all the people that I know, friends, college's,either way don't even want the Mac Note Book. They rather choose for an HP or a Toshiba!:) Simple because you don't have to buy of put pro gramme's on the computer that's only from Mac. Honestly!? The Toshiba & HP's are more beautiful. What's in a name!? (careless, it's only the brand) Reply
  • charlie brown - Wednesday, April 02, 2008 - link

    If anandtech are going to use an audio analyser, shouldn't they understand the values and equipment they are measuring? As a professional audio engineer I find their conclusions disturbing...

    Why haven't you published numbers for THD +noise etc - you just draw your own conclusions from some 0.0... percentage?

    All players frequency response is +/-dB from 0-20kHz. These are all excellent when you understand the freq response of a headphone - even top of the range sennheisers. How can you possibly describe one player response as very good/excellent etc?! You would NOT hear the difference whatsoever.

    What possible difference does -100/-110/-120 signal to noise ratio really make for an mp3 player?? (audibly - absolutely none) these are all excellent.

    "Earbuds generally lack bass due to their size"
    This is only half the story, they perform better with good coupling to the ear (im sure youve pushed some phones into your ear and heared the bass improve?).

    Have you guys ever stopped to think that you are reviewing an MP3 player? The nature of MP3 (being an audio compression developed from the 1980's) is that it is a LOSSY compression. THE ENCODING WILL DEGRADE THE SOUND QUALITY MORE THAN THE PLAYER EVER WILL, EVEN AT HIGH BITRATES.

    Why doesn't anandtech throw them on the ground and record which one breaks the easiest - i mean this is more useful than the conclusions taken in your audio test.

  • abpages - Wednesday, May 28, 2008 - link

    Feature wise the Zune 80 kills the Ipod.

    Also, the ipod has video out, but can't outpid it's interface.
    The Zune can. This might not seem like a big deal, but if you ever want to hook this up to a tv or in my case a LCD in my Car it is fantastic. No looking down at the device to choose song (and possible crashing j/k), everything is on the screen all the menus.

    I own both and the new Zune has it this time.

    Ron Stark">
  • Heatlesssun - Sunday, January 27, 2008 - link

    I bought two Zune 80’s at Christmas, one for the wife and one for me, and they are great devices. I want to address two criticisms in this review. One, the Zune Pass is very cool. At $15 a month one can get one album versus thousands. If you know what you’re doing, subscriptions models like Zune Pass offer better value.

    Secondly, I think this review makes too much out of the lack of TV and movies on Zune Market place. There are so many ways to get content these days that it’s funny. Heck, if you’ve cable TV, there’s a source right there, and you’re not paying for the content again, which is cool.

    Really, a person just needs a good set of transcoding software, that frees a person from being tied to any one content source.
  • 9nails - Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - link

    Want an external speaker? Perhaps you need an additional USB cradle? Do you need a carry case? Or maybe you would like a car adapter kit? How about a screen protector to save that investment?

    All of these things are easier to find on an iPod Accessory shelf. But the Zune shelf is shockingly bare. Perhaps the case or a new set of (universal) headphones is all that you can find for the Zune. For me, more than anything, the availability of accessories was a major decision maker in the search for an MP3 player. My second major factor was cost. Third was storage capacity. And least significant was battery life.
  • NewBozo - Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - link

    Be sure to get an Archos 605 Wi-Fi for future media player reviews. It is much less expensive than anything you reviewed here, has drag and drop capabilities and can surf the web and stream video over the built in wi-fi. It is amazing!

  • rcbm1970 - Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - link

    "Did you know that 60 per cent of Americans received gift vouchers for Christmas? We didn’t either, but that’s just fuel for Anand Techie’s latest Ipod vs. Zune dissertation (squeezed into 10 pages). It’s a bit of a one-sided argument with iIpod coming out smelling like roses and Zune always the close-secnd-but-never-first. Get your Apple-certified endorsement here." Reply
  • Nitram49 - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    Dude! I own a Iaudio X5, Ipod Shuffle(Garbage) and an Ipod Nano. Every chance I get I use the X5 because there is no comparison in sound to the Ipod's. With the ability to tweak the sound and produce some serious bass it can't be beat. I mean with my JBL reference 220 or AKG k-81 DJ I can walk around with so much bass that it is impressive, and then if needed flatten it right out with a plethora of controls(EQ,BBE,...,). Nothing beats the HDD capabilities of an X5. I heard the D2 and I can't imagine how you let a chance to review that slip through your hands in a comparison. Also my friend just got an Iaudio 7. wow. Give those dudes at Cowon a listen and you tell me if I'm wrong. Reply
  • TedKord - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    IMO, if you're looking for an MP3/video portable player, you shouldn't be looking at either MS or Apple. I had a Cowon A2 which blew my friend's Ipod classic away in every respect (video/sound quality, format compatibility, features) except HD size. It was also better than the Zunes I've tried, though I've not tried the newer generation extensively. Another thing that should be mentioned with the Ipod is iTunes. I hate that program, it made me load QT, and everytime I disable the autoload for QT, it reenables when my daughter uses iTunes for her Nano 3G. Plus, they made me sign up with a crdit card to enable album art. With the A2, I just dragged and dropped my existing mp3, flac and ogg music right to it - no reencode or anything. Same with the divx/xvid movies I already had - drag, drop, watch.

    The iPod Touch is a cool device, but more for it's interface than it's video/audio quality.
  • michael2k - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    Why do you hate your daughter? It sounds like you need to get her a computer of her own if you don't want her to synch her Nano (and thus re-enabling QuickTime, which is used for AAC encoding for iTunes if she's ripping music) to your PC.

    Besides which, why do you want to manually load and unload your MP3 player? The whole point of computers is to do the tedious things for us (such as ripping, tagging, organizing, and synching). Your daughter, with iTunes, only has to plug and go. If she has more music than the Nano can fit, it will auto-select her favorite music, or she can select (checkbox style) her favorite playlists, or manually (if she wishes to be like dad) to drag and drop songs and playlists to her Nano.
  • TedKord - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    I have a bunch of mp3, ogg and flac tunes already on my computer. With my A2, I just highlighted them all, drag and drop. MUCH simpler than reencoding for the Ipod, which has crapier sound quality anyway. Reply
  • BigLan - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    I think the biggest use of an fm tuner today is for watching TV at the gym. Sure, you could listen to your own music but a lot of people want to watch the TV as well. This alone was the reason I got my wife a Sansa last year instead of a nano. Reply
  • TedKord - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    TV with an FM tuner? Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - link

    I'd imagine the sound for the TV stations is broadcast over short range with FM. Same thing is used at drive-in movies. Reply
  • Locutus465 - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    this is exactly what I was looking for in a mp3 player review... I actually had a lot to say, but my router decided to take a dive right when I was going to submit it, and now it is gone :(

    Basically, I'm torn by the coolness of the touch and the superiority (IMHO) of Zune softare as compared to iTunes (particularly it's preformance on 32 & 64 bit Vista). In the end, for me the superiority of Zune is kind of winning out. At the end of the day, buying mp3's and getting them on my iPod and burnt CD all needs to just work and not be a pain.

    The one thing MS lacks and needs to get into Zune is a good video store. IMO they should make XBL video store 100% accessable to Zune, and movies should be playable not only on zune, but also over your network to an x-box 360 and other media extender. If they did this the would be in a very strong position against both sony and apple at the same time with a single vendor solution that competes with iPod, PS3 and Apple TV all at the same time.
  • Tegeril - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    The latest version of iTunes (7.6), works quite well in both 32 and 64 bit. Reply
  • Locutus465 - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    I suppose that I'm a bit wary since versions 7.0-7.5 didn't work and eventually after repeated upgrades iTunes on the desktop has gotten to the point of displaying an error on start up saying cd-burning and some other function are broke. I have 7.6 on my laptop and it seems to work though, so we'll see. Reply
  • Locutus465 - Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - link

    Just needed to post back an update on this...

    Holy toledo!!!! iTunes *FINALLY* works as advertised on Vista, though I noticed it (very sadly) installed the Bojour service on my vista 64 machine (probably 32 as well though I did not notice). I dislike the bundling over which I had no control, leaves a very bad taste in my mouth...

    That said, at least iTunes *FINALLY* does work!!! I'm not sure though if that's enough to push me back towards iPod touch (as cool as it is) though... I've already discovered the conviniance of a flat monthly fee allowing me to download as much music as I want through Zune. Apple would need a similar set up to kill off Zune in my book. But at least it works, now I just need to take a closer look at Mp3 players once I'm a better position to be buying tech again.
  • Baked - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link


    It would behoove Microsoft to get the Zune working on the Mac as Apple's market share continues to grow (particularly with laptops).

    Did you read what you wrote? You actually think an Apple Fanboy, who bought a Mac, would go out and buy a Zune, and not an iPod. Why would anybody w/ a Mac, go out and buy a Zune instead of an iPod? >_<

    Market share? What market share? There are still far more people using PC notebook than Apple notebooks.
  • michael2k - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    Last count in the US was 6 to 7 percent, or 1/12 of the population.

    In other words, there are more Mac users, out of PC users, than there are Zune users out of iPod users.

    And if you look ONLY at notebooks, I think the number rises to something like 12%. As of last March it was 10%:">

    Or 1 in 10 people in the US who own notebooks own a Mac notebook. Which puts it in good company alongside Dell and HP.
  • TedKord - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    A mac IS a PC these days, only with fewer hardware choices and OSX instead of Windows/Linux, etc... Reply
  • Dennis Travis - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    Interesting. I really like the Zune but use Macs for my everyday computing. Go figure! I do have Windows machines also but it would be nice if MS made the Zune work with OSX. I know many with Macs who like the Zune. Reply
  • madoka - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    I know I'm not alone in this and as wrong as it maybe, everytime I see someone with a Zune, I think that that person could either not afford or was too cheap to pay for an ipod. Reply
  • marybear423 - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link


    zune 80gb $249.99
    ipod 80gb $249.00

    Looks like all those "poor people" had to go cheap and shell out an extra $0.99 for their zune...

    Brilliant. A+ for you.
  • kmmatney - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    I want to commend you on nailing a huge issue in your introduction - gift cards. I was thnking about getting one of the lasser known MP3 brands - but I had to by my plasyer with BestBuy gift cards, so that ruled out a lot of my choices. I ended up going with the 8G Ipod Nano, since I liked that out of my choices at BestBuy. When your stuck with BestBuy, to really only have a few choices for a high end MP3 player. Reply
  • rhangman - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    The only reason I bought an iPod was because at the time they were the only players that could be controlled by car head units. Just did a quick search and I couldn't really see anything for Zune's. Since I bought my head unit (Alpine) the number of iPod compatible decks (after market and stock) has increased significantly too. Reply
  • rcbm1970 - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    Almost every review I have read that compares the zune 80 to the Ipod classic points out one very import feature: the superior sound quality if the zune. It isn't the earbuds its the sound quality of the base components. I took my the earbuds that came with my zune 80 and listened to many of the competition, and there is no comparison; the zune 80 is superior. As with the Iphone and its horrible call quality, the marketing of the cult and its design ignores the purpose of the device. This should be about sound quality being the primary concern. The fact that you were craving for an equalizers shows how little you understand about the sound quality issue. Did you understand that you are to fully place the zune earbuds into your ear to get the proper bass sound? I also question if you gave yourself enough time to get used to the zunes control features. It was into the third week before I started to get used to the short cuts. I will stick with cnet and pcmag if you produce reviews such as this. Reply
  • rcbm1970 - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    I should clarify. By competition, I mean apple products. The creative products produce great sound. I haven't been able to compare to iriver devices, but the cnet folks have. This is really simple when shopping for these devices do look at the reviews, but then take your favorite set of headphones or buds (apple buds the exception) and listen to each device in the store. You will find the listening difference between the apple products and many of the others is analogous to dragging your hand across raw cardboard compared to fine finished wood. We have become so used to bad quality that we don't realize how good it can be. Reply
  • darkswordsman17 - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    People,d the reason you shouldn't include stuff like the Zen and the Karma is that they are discontinued (in the case of the Karmas for a few years now). The Zen Vision: M is the closes to a direct competitor that Creative made to these two, and it is discontinued. We can throw the Cowon X5 in there as well. The new Zen I don't find comparable because it is flash based. It would be nice to see a flash comparison (where the Zune and iPods would get handed to it in price/performance and features, although the Touch would do well but it costs put it out of most people's consideration). There is a reason why there isn't any company making a music focused HDD based player, trying to compete with Microsoft and Apple is asking to lose money, and neither of those two are really competitive in the flash based players (at least on features and price), which allows them to actually compete. Of course that doesn't stop the iPods and Zunes from outselling them still.

    As for the slowdown on the Classic, have you tried using one with the updated firmware? The launch units did have some very bad slowdown, but it has since been resolved and is now much speedier.

    On the sound quality side, I was a bit unimpressed, as hooking them up to machines to check their sound quality doesn't tell the whole story. I have not seen a single person who has heard both the Classic or recent iPods (which many say sound better than the Classic although some say the Classic is better as well) and the Zunes who did not say the Zunes sound much better to their ears. The Zune 80 especially is known to have an execptionally clean headphone out (most people don't recognize noise in the signal when they hear it, mostly because they aren't used to using higher quality audio components, and no I'm not talking $50,000 speakers here either).

    Thats not to say the author's findings aren't valid, they just don't tell the whole story. I suggest checking out one of the many DAP/PMP review sites (such as DAPReview, AnythingbutiPod) and also forums such as the portable audio one on Head-Fi if you want more user consensus and in depth testing.

    Bottom line, if you need the storage and don't want to spend to get into the PMP category, then the iPod Classic or Zune are both quite good, each with its own strenghts. For flash players, the new Zen is very nice but has issues with the SD expansion slot (it doesn't integrate its music and other files with that of those on the players internal memory). The Cowon D2 is very good, although I'd wait because I think they're probably going to up capacity on them fairly soon. In that same vein the iRiver Clix 2 is pretty nice as is the Meizu M6 I think its called. The Sandisk Sansas are ok, but they are targeted more at packing features in than actually being that good at anything (sound quality, interface, etc). Lastly, there is the new Sony players, which although they lack the expansion slots that have become defacto, they have gotten rid of needing software for use and all the DRM crap that hurt Sony so badly. Also they compete well with the iPod and Zunes in price and features, all the while having some of if not the best sound from a portable music player. Personally, I wouldn't even consider the flash based iPods or Zunes at all as they're high on price and low on features compared to the competition. Couple that with Amazon being a better place to get music online than either iTunes or the Zune marketplace (no DRM at all, not just on some music, competitive price with better quality) and there's no reason to tie yourself to a setup like that (Amazon has a utility that will sync your downloads from them with iTunes so thats a non-issue).
  • Odeen - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    Any "high-end" MP3 player comparisons should also include the Rio Karma for a few reasons:
    The Karma is the de-facto standard in sound quality for MP3 files, and includes a dock that allows one to output line-level audio, bypassing the internal amplifier

    The Karma includes a 5-band parametric equalizer. Not only can you individually adjust any of the five bands, but you can also change the scope of the adjustment, as the "width" of the band is customizable

    The Karma is the only player that supports proper gapless playback with regular MP3 files. I don't know about you, but pauses and clicks where the music should be seamless is a huge reduction in sound quality.

    The Karma is the only player that supports free codecs of both lossy and lossless variety. If MP3 suddenly goes the way of the GIF (i.e. the format creator starts pursuing royalties more aggressively) and your mp3's are outlawed, the Karma will still play OGG and FLAC files, formats that cannot be patented or restricted.

    Basically, if you are comparing "MP3 Players", first and foremost judge them on how well they PLAY MP3's. I consider that any player wishing for itself to be considered "high end" should produce good sound quality without skipping or popping between tracks - which neither the iPod or Zune can. Everything else is pretty much gravy - whether it's a user interface that's not steeped in heavy geek, whether it's tight integration with a media management suite or music store, whether it's the ability to play videos or squirt. A high-end MP3 player should play MP3's better than anything else, and that's not what the iPod or the Zune offer.
  • cmdrdredd - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    The Zune skips and pops? when? prove that to me? hell even the iPod doesn't skip or pop...that's in your recording and your piss poor 128kbps limewire bootleg downloads. Reply
  • Odeen - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    I am referring to Zune and iPod's inability to seamlessly transition from one song to the next (such as for a live concert recording, classical music, or a techno mix album).

    Since MP3's are composed of a fixed number of "frames" of approximately 418 bytes, any song has some amount of silence at the last frame. The Karma detects this silence and begins to decode the next track in the playlist before the previous track ends. As a result, the seamless transition from the CD (or live) source is preserved.

    On the other hand, the iPod and Zune dumbly play the ENTIRE mp3 file. The sudden transition to silence, and beginning to play again sounds like a "pop". It has nothing to do with the bitrate or source of mp3 files.

    Other file formats, like OGG and FLAC have metadata that tell the player the exact length of the recording. As a result, the player doesn't have to analyze the file for trailing silence, and this works even better in eliminating gaps. However, without 3rd party hacks, the iPod and Zune can't play those file formats either.">
  • Tegeril - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    Perhaps you haven't used an iPod in a while, but the gapless playback feature works perfectly. Please try again. Reply
  • Odeen - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    It works for recent MP3's with proper song length metadata.

    It doesn't work for older MP3's without that information. The Karma can still play the older MP3's gaplessly by actually analyzing the audio data, whereas the iPod needs to have the song length tags spoon-fed to it.
  • Roffles - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    I currently own a Zune80. Although I watched an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" at lunch today, I use it 90% for listening to music.

    All these gimmicky features with new mp3 players are nice, but this review (and the designers of Zune and Ipod) lost focus of what an MP3 player is all about. It's about listening to mp3's right?

    The main factors that should decide which player is best are:

    1. GUI responsiveness, GUI design and GUI navigation.
    2. Audio fidelity and customization.
    3. Battery life
    4. A higher level of customization

    Everything else should be a distant second as they are the features more akin to PMP (personal media players). If it were not for the 80GB drive size, I would have stayed with a tried and true Korean mp3 player from Iriver or Cowon.

    I would rather compare the Zune to my Cowon i7 and a2 as far as features are concerned. The Zune is a major firmware update away from being the ultimate mp3 player.

    1. Cowon gives me a graphic equalizer (custom and several presets)
    and lots of audio tweaking options such as jeteffect, BBE, Mach3Bass, MP Enhance, 3D surround, Pan and Play speed.
    2. Cowon gives me more shuffle options
    3. Cowon gives me a sleep timer and a wakeup timer so I can lullabye myself into an afternoon nap if I choose.
    4. Cowon lets me customize text scroll speeds and other gui enhancements.
    5. Cowon also gives me an FM player, and then lets me record FM radio with custom bit rates.
    6. Cowon gives me a voice recorder with custom bit rates
    7. Cowon gives me a text viewer
    8. Cowon lets me adjust scan speed (good for very long recorded talk shows or joined albums and mixes that can be hours long)
    9. Cowon gives me the option to use id3 tag browsing or filename browsing

    All these options with exception to a few of the obvious ones on the list make listening to mp3's easier and more enjoyable...hence making it a better mp3 player.

    There are DOZENS of other smaller tweaks and customization that I won't bother getting into, but I hope I'm making a good point here. Also, the audio output (power and fidelity at normal equalization) is amazing compared to anything I've heard from an Ipod or Zune.

  • VashHT - Thursday, January 31, 2008 - link

    I have thought about replacing my Cowon X5 for a while, the mainr eason I won't buy an Ipod is because I don't want to use itunes or reformat all of my music into itunes format. One thing that I hate about all of these mainstream playes is they won't support .wav files. I back up all of my CD's in .wav format on my PC, and with my X5 I can just put them on there and not worry about converting anything. Sure the extra fidelity is pretty much lost when using most earbuds or headphones, but if I use the AUX output to hook them up to speakers or use decent headphones with it then the wav files obviously sound a lot better. Also with 80Gb of space or more the much larger file size of wav files becomes practically a non-point. Also, besides wav it supports a lot of other open formats, and for compressed format I would much rather use OGG than mp3. Reply
  • Ripvanwinkle - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    Cowon all the way! My only complaint with my D2 is that it
    refuses to make my coffee in the morning.
  • ThePooBurner - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    How can you do a High End MP3 player round up and not include the Creative Zen series? A Player that is technologically superior to both the Icrap and the Zripoff? That is all. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    I actually agree with you on the matter. We wanted to include a Zen and a couple other players, but we weren't able to acquire anything more than what we have today. As is the case when you're relaunching some kind of product coverage, we hope we'll be able to get players from additional vendors for future articles. Reply
  • michael2k - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    How do you define "technologically superior"? The UI of the iPod (with the scrollwheel) can be seen as technologically superior (at least since it's introduction in 2001), though you can argue that since 2004 with the introduction of the Zen that Creative caught up. The hard drive of the iPod (which has been 1.8" since 2001) can also be noted as technologically superior, though again Creative caught up with their 2004 Zen Micro and Zen 1" and 1.8" products.

    Then there is battery life and size... If you want to claim Creative Zen is technologically superior, fine, but there are multiple facets to superiority here.
  • ThePooBurner - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    Since the article is on current gen, we should only compare current gen. So you can't say apple is superior because of it's touch wheel when creative has the same. My Zen, the Vision:M is a few years old and can be had for under 200$. For that you get video playback of more formats (and an included transcoder for formats that aren't natively supported) than the Ipod, an FM tuner, a Microphone for dictigraphing, an 8gig jump drive that is seperate from the 30gig main drive, and jump dive like operation for the 30gig main drive, so you can use it on any computer. As far as i know, the Ipod has non of this without buying extra parts. I like the GUI of the Zen better than the Ipod by a lot, though the zune's GUI is actually pretty nice in places. Plus, Creative practically invented sound. I would wager that the sound quality and output, etc. are superior on the Zen compared to the other players as well. My music sounds good n matter what i have hooked to it to produce the sound, be it headphones, speakers, or even a TV. Even sounds great when using my 20$ FM transmitter for playback in my car. Plus my battery lasts for ever. I've gotten fairly close to 24 hours of operation. Granted time depend on a few things, as I've gotten as little as 14 also, but i know that the capability is there to meet the advertised claims, or better. And the 60gig version has even more features than mine does!

    Actually, other review sites, when my version of the Zen came out, said everything i have said and added "Creative has once again created a superior product to everyone else, but will the market give it the credit it deserves, or will it be like Beta? only time will tell."(that's a paraphrase from memory, so forgive if it isn't 100% exact). In short, the Zen is Better and cheaper than the competition. In every way.
  • michael2k - Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - link

    So you want to compare to today, or a few years old?

    Because from the Creative web site, only the flash players are in stock. The Vison M, Vision W, and even the Zen are out of stock.

    But a theoretical comparison of the Zen M vs the iPod classic shows us that the iPod is smaller and more pocketable, has more storage, and longer battery life. A comparison of the Zen W with the iPod Classic shows that the Classic is still smaller and with a better control scheme, more storage, and better battery life.

    Of course what you say about the Vision:M may have been true in 2005 when it was announced... except that even then the iPod was thinner, had greater storage, and similar or better battery life.

    So sure the "lead" may jump back and forth every time a refresh is announced, but Apple has "consistently" lead; first with USB mass storage, first with smaller form factor, first with faster connectivity, and first with easier usability. Eventually (2004 really), Creative caught up with their Zen but by then Apple had a huge lead.

    So your point, while valid, is also outdated. Look today; if your Vision:M broke, what would you buy? The iPod would be a very strong contender.
  • yyrkoon - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    Well I did not read the whole article, and only read part of the closing thoughts, but from what I have read, you guys have your priorities wrong compared to what most of the people I have talked to, and have seen on the web are saying. At least concerning the audio player aspect.

    A lot of people are wanting a device that is simple as possible concerning putting music on it, and a device that also has good quality sound(read: clean, with no background hissing or hum etc, etc). Anyhow, most of what I have read indicated that people would rather pay less for a Creative Stone, or something similar that was small, played music decently, has decent ear buds, and dead simple drag n drop file transferring. A good portion of these people also seem to want a device that does not cause music to stutter/pause on a device while navigating through menus, or folders while looking for a song, or settings.

    The problem with the two reviewed items in this article is that I have read that the software that comes with each device is garbage. And they are not alone, as many MANY devices suffer from the same affliction from what I have read.

    Anyhow, Creative has DEFINITELY been in this part of the industry much, much longer than Apple, or Microsoft, and so has Sony(Although I must admit I have not had a Sony Walkman in many, many years, but I still have one of the first Creative MP3 players ever with 32MB of memory on it).

    I think now days, and personally, I would rather have something that is small, but not tiny, sounds decent, has a USB chargeable battery onboard(I dont have a problem taking such a device apart and replacing the battery myself; if and when it is needed), and somethin g that has drag and drop file transferring with the ability to play any music format whether DRM or not. IF this device were an all around media device, then it MUST have the ability to read PDF files. More than 2-4GB on such a device would be a waste for me however, so we are talking onboard flash, and probably a 8-10 hour battery play time before recharges.
  • TP715 - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    You might want to take a look at the Cowon D2 and A3. Both have drag and drop and support many audio codecs. D2 is small, available in 2, 4, and 8GB (can increase via the SDHC slot), has USB chargeable battery with 52 hr life and will display TXT files (but not PDF as yet). A3 is probably bigger than you want, but will display DOC and PDF files (with transcoding).

    Others: AnandTech did mention that this is only the first of reviews on MP3 players, so others will probably be covered. I would suggest they look at Cowon as well as Creative Zen etc. They are available only online, are a bit expensive, and have nonstandard UIs, but they have good audio quality and lots of codec support (incl OGG, FLAC, APE etc.). The also support recording, ie line in.
  • michael2k - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    I think 119m iPods sold disagree with you.

    1) Sound quality (if you read the whole article you will see) on the Classic (and correspondingly Nano and Shuffle) iPods are fine.
    2) Drag and drop works fine for a couple hundred megabytes (IE, a handful of folders or files) up to a couple gigabytes of files, but falls way short when there are several to tens to hundreds of gigabytes of files. iTunes is then simple (plug and go)
    3) The problems described with stuttering/pausing is new, and will probably be fixed. The first 5 generations of iPods did not have this problem.

    Anyway, you're welcome to your device. It sounds like you're describing an iPod Touch, so long as you can stand iTunes.
  • michael2k - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    I think you need to recognized that for some people the included earbuds fit perfectly. Reply
  • Freeseus - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    There's something that I haven't seen mentioned in many of these iPOD reviews that I find very annoying. I'm sure I'm not the only one here. Or perhaps, I simply missed over it as I perused this article (as well as previous ones on other sites).

    The iPOD UI has significant slowdown/pauses/sluggish "stutter" playback while accessing music, particularly when:

    a: attached to a transmitting device (iTRIP, for example)
    b: while accessing a long or high-quality song

    Many a time I find myself waiting to see the data appear and waiting to see the song begin to play. I don't even need to mention the album art in the new Classic, which suffers the same problem as iTUNES does in general with displaying custom artwork as you scroll through your music.

    And in the latest CLASSIC generation of iPODs, the "stutter" is at least twice as bad as it was in the previous generation.

    Why has this not been mentioned? I considered getting a ZUNE simply because I was tired of the lacking capabilities of the iPOD's processing/coding. But, I haven't purchased a ZUNE simply because there is no 160gig model.

    The newest iPOD classic is a step down from the previous generation. It needs a cleaner, less intense UI and/or some more powerful hardware. End of story.
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    It wasn't mentioned because I never experienced it on the 6G hardware. I also own a 5G where I have experienced it, so I see where you're going, but I have never had that issue with the Classic used in this review. Reply
  • cmdrdredd - Monday, January 21, 2008 - link

    I find that anandtech has fallen into Apple's traps like so many others. The iPod is hardly the be al end all of players anymore. Hell, the Zune has a FM tuner which Apple expects you to pay for in an accessory. The Zune also bundles earbuds that actually sound good, no Apple's pack in ear buds are nowhere the quality. Plus, I don't have to do the "safely remove hardware" to disconnect my zune, I can just unplug it. Doing that with your iPod can corrupt it completely. The battery life on the Zune I find better than mentioned here. Turn off the WiFi if you don't use it. On the touch if you use the web features it's necessary, but mostly for the Zune you don't need it. It's not ment to do the functions the iPod Touch does via wifi so having it on is unfair in the comparison. The zune has flaws too like the screen not being very high rez for it's size, and inability to put videos into a playlist. The latter of which is easily fixed via software update.

    The Zune also has the bonus of not using a case that is easily scratched.I also find the UI to be more eye pleasing than the iPod classic because of the ability to customize the background.

    I'm honestly just a little sick of people writing off everything else as an option and telling everyone else to just buy an ipod because it's "cool" or "it's an ipod, duh". That's the same as telling everyone to buy a Wii, even when the Wii doesn't have the games people buy an Xbox360 for.
  • lefenzy - Wednesday, March 05, 2008 - link

    I agree with you about the ipod not being the best, but I've never had an issue pulling out my ipod nano without safe renewal. Reply

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