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MP3s that can give iPods a run for the money

Last updated on: November 30, 2010 08:36 IST

MP3s that can give iPods a run for the money

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BS Reporter in New Delhi

While iPods might dominate the store shelves, there are rival MP3 players that are out to give iPods a run for the money. We review the upgraded new Apple iPod devices and their closest match in market today.

Creative Zen X-Fi Style: Price Rs 6,999 for 8GB

Before you head out to buy another iPod, maybe you should take a moment to look at the Creative Zen X-Fi Style.
Simply because it might work better for you as a cheaper yet compact alternative to the iPod Nano.

Dotted with graphics imprint on its cover, X-Fi is available in white, black and red.

A 2.4-inch TFT LCD, X-Fi comes with lossless audio support, A/V output, integrated speaker, FM radio, voice notes, personal organiser and RSS feed support.

Speakers at the back of the player come off as rather unimpressive for a music player. Audio speakers should have been given more importance, we feel.

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Image: Creative Zen X-Fi Style.

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The X-Fi is compatible with all audio formats, even FLAC (a file format for digitally backing up all CD collections).

The player can play WMV, DivX, Xvid and MPEG-4 videos with a resolution of 640 x 48 pixels.

Verdict

One of the most compelling reasons for anyone to buy X-Fi Style would be for the tried- and-tested audio bliss we expect from Creative.

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Sony NWZ-A845: Price Rs 11, 990 for 16GB

The NWZ-A845 is possibly the thinnest Sony Walkman and it takes portability very seriously.

The A845 is as slim as four SD cards and that is slender, indeed.

A simple user interface on the player is actually a brilliant idea from Sony as it extends A845 to any age group.

Playback is only through headphones, which incidentally is the only possible way of listening to the radio too.

The most important accessory, we believe, is the in-ear type headphones that neutralises external noise effectively.

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Sony has embedded a new technology called the Advanced Artificial Intelligent Noise Cancelling that monitors the surrounding noises and cuts off interference.

The result is clear and crisp music.

Another positive feature of the device is its storage capacity -- straight out of the box, there is a 14.1GB of storage space that includes the loaded PC software on the device.

The feature matches the space of what the iPod Nano 16GB player offers.

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Image: Sony's X Series.

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Apple iPod Nano: Price Rs 10,700 for 8GB

The sixth generation avatar of the iPod Nano looks beautiful even though it no longer sports the familiar clickwheel interface.

Apple has replaced it with a new multi-touch capable touchscreen user interface and while it's not technically running iOS found on the iPod Touch it looks and feels like iOS. A 240x240 resolution LCD screen that has 220 pixels per inch looks just like an iPhone screen.

The core function of the Nano is of a music player.

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Image: Apple iPod Nano.

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It comes with a built-in FM radio that has the ability to pause/rewind up to 15 minutes of live broadcast and you can use it to listen to your daily podcasts or audio books too.

Then there is a built-in clock, stopwatch, voice recorder, pedometer and a photo gallery function for browsing photos.

You will not be able to see movies, TV shows, and it does not come with a camera --  after all, it is supposed to be a simple music device. Clipped to your sleeve, the Nano is bound to catch attention of those around you.

Verdict

With iPod Nano, you will not only wear your music but also your fashion statement.

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Apple iPod Touch: Price: Rs 15,400 for 8GB

The new slimmer iPod Touch comes with dual cameras, FaceTime video chatting, the 3.5 inch retina display and HD video recording.

The iPod Touch makes the old iPhone 3GS feel like a chunky paperweight -- which is saying a lot since the 3GS was never really big to begin with.

Inside the new iPod Touch is the new Apple CPU A4, which is also used to power the iPhone 4 and iPad.
You cannot stop ogling at the high resolution 3.5-inch, 960 x 640 pixel resolution display.

The iPod Touch is available in 8GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities.

It's a great substitute for an iPhone since it gives you access to the Internet, the app store and also lets you view movies and videos.

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Image: Apple iPod Touch.

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Although Apple doesn't declare the resolution of cameras, the back camera on the iPod Touch (as per our tests) clicks images between 0.6 and 1 megapixel and is bound to look awful on printing.

The biggest downside to the iPod Touch is an issue probably familiar to Apple owners -- fingerprints.

The moment you take the device in your hands, you are tempted to clean the fingerprint marks on the screen and the body.

Verdict

This is indeed the best iPod Touch device from Apple --  gives you access to all the iPhone goodness without the heavy price tag.


Image: Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Photographs: Reuters
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