Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New Zen

Last week I acquired my 4th Mp3 player in 9 years. I wanted a small, flash-based player that I could slip into my pocket for long runs. I got a 4GB Zen V Plus for $40 from the Creative online store during a 1-day sale. It’s about half the size of the new iPod Nanos, a tiny fraction the price, and can play a broader range of media types.

My first Mp3 player was a Casio Cassiopeia, which was technically a windows-based PDA, but I bought it primarily for its mp3 playing capabilities. I kept it for a few months than sold it for a little more than I paid for it on eBay to help pay for my first missions trip to Romania.

My second Mp3 player was actually a dedicated player, the Iomega HipZip. This player took mini-Zip discs (remember those?) which held 40MB each. I was able to buy these discs for $5-10 a piece and could store a whole CD on one. When the cost of flash memory was nearly $50 for a 16MB compact flash card, these were really a good deal. I did have problems with this player and had to get 3-4 of them RMAed from Iomega before I got one that was fully functional. I think my last one is in a box in my shed right now.

My third and more recent player is my Creative Zen Touch. This was the ultimate Mp3 player when it was released in 2004, and thus became my Christmas present to myself that year. It was a tiny bit bigger than my HipZip and quite a bit heavier; being about the size of a deck of cards. This has a 20GB hard drive and a battery that lasts around 30 hours of continuous use. I’ve never filled the drive more than 60% full. It’s also hard drive based so it’s larger and heavier than a flash based player and will skip if banged around, which makes it a poor choice to take running or anything like that. I usually keep it in the bottom of my backpack and use wireless headphones to listen to it all day. Or at work I just set it down somewhere where I’m in range with my wireless headphones most of the time. This is by far the best way to listen to audio books. I have no real issues with my Zen Touch other than I cannot take it running with me. It will still travel in my backpack to school and work, and probably be my primary stereo long into the foreseeable future as it has a higher quality audio output than most Mp3 players sold today, including everything Apple has to offer.

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