Sony, Philips, Others Offer Alternatives to iPod

When looking for a 20GB portable music player the variances are a little overwhelming. But with everybody and there sister having an Apple iPod it begs the question, what else is out there? Many companies offering there own products all claiming to be the very best, however, only a few break away from the competitors as actual competition for Apple’s acclaimed iPod.

Archos Gmini XS200
The Archos Gmini XS200 is the first up on the line of choices but that does not mean it’s generally the best. It features a sleek battleship-gray color and a navigational joystick which is a some-what unique feature compared to other players. A difference between the Archos Gmini XS200 and other players is it has a black and white screen, which is not too bad considering you’re going to be listening to music with it and not watching movies with it, looking at it to select songs should not be too terrible. One of the good things about the Archos Gmini XS200, is that it is considerably smaller than other music players out there despite it’s hefty 20 Gigabyte hard drive. It connects to a computer via USB 2.0 and has an included wall charger that connects with the USB cable as well. A neat feature about the Archos Gmini XS200 is that using the integrated features you can create playlists on the go, something lacking in many other players! The Archos Gmini XS200 is a nice way to be different and still have all the standard features you desire. And something everybody likes to see, it’s cheaper than the Apple iPod.

Specifications
Memory: 20 Gig
Battery Life: 10 Hours
Size: Small
Price: $156

Philips HDD120
Featuring a small 7 hour and 40 minute battery life the Philips HDD120 lacks in at least one area. The sleek design is appealing and stands out from any other player. The navigational buttons make finding the right song a little long and boresome and song transfer software is very lacking and user-unfriendly. It is easy to drag and drop full albums for transfer but that is about it. The included ear buds are of a much higher quality than any standard ear bud included with other portable audio players. The Philips HDD120 also features a voice recording feature which is handy for quick notes and messages but don’t expect very high quality recordings. The Philips HDD120 is very appealing visual wise and the high quality earbuds and added voice recording are nice features to have but small battery life and poor navigation leave something to be desired.

Specifications
Memory: 20 Gig
Battery Life: 7 Hours 40 Minutes
Size: Small
Price: $320

iRiver H320
The one factor that is starting to separate portable audio players is how many included features it has, and the iRiver H320 by far sets the standard. This moderately-sized, feature packed portable player is designed with the multi-tasked person in mind. It features a built in microphone for voice recording and also has a decent FM tuner. It has a great vibrant color interface and a very good battery life. The iRiver H320 can also view pictures and text files! The iRiver H320 may seem perfect but it lacks in an area that is becoming all too common, poor navigation. At first it seems difficult to view photos or even find a song, but with practice it becomes easier and slightly faster but still too much of a hassle for such a simple task. It would have also been nice to have an on-the-go playlist but that is not completely necessary. In short, the iRiver H320 is feature-rich and strong in every available area except for navigation.

Specifications
Memory: 20 Gig
Battery Life: 16 Hours
Size: Relatively Small
Price: $329.99

Sony NW-HD3
Sony’s entry into the current portable audio generation is the Sony NW-HD3. The most notably great feature of the Sony NW-HD3 is that it has a really strong battery life at a whopping 30 hours! Although the Sony NW-HD3 is not very feature-rich but it does what it needs to do exceptionally; play music. Sound quality is great, but the supplied headphones lack incredibly so you might want to pick up a better pair. Although many people have posted negatively about the included software, SonicStage is relatively easy to use and does not lack in any place. One discrepancy about the Sony NW-HD3 is that it needs to be connected to the included AC adapter in order to transfer songs. This player is definitely targeted towards the person who listens a lot and needs a longer than standard battery life.

Specifications
Memory: 20 Gig
Battery Life: 30 Hours
Size: Small, about the size of a playing card.
Price: $329.99

So there are 4, feature-rich portable audio players to separate you from the crowd of iPod listeners. Although some lack in certain areas others just downright put the iPod to shame such as the iRiver H320. Whether you just want something different or want more than what the standard 20GB iPod has to offer there is something for everyone.

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