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Some great gizmos you must have

Surajeet Das Gupta in New Delhi | July 11, 2005

Business Standard lends an ear to what's available on the shelves in audio shops. With the iPod heralding a new generation of portable music after the Walkman revolution of the late 1970s, a host of companies are trying to cash in on the runaway success.

Apart from phone companies like Sony Ericcson which are developing alternatives to this new Apple icon that come along with a phone, others have come up with different versions. Sound icon Bose Corporation has even come up with a music  system to enable others to hear what's stored on your iPod.

Samsung YP-T-8

Will hit the Indian market by the end of the month. With a 1 GB storage, experts feel this MP3 player is Samsung's attempt to become a serious player in the portable MP3 market.

But it has serious competition from the iPod Shuffle, which is also available in a 1 GB memory, and is based on iPod's pioneering and widely-used shuffle feature, which randomly selects songs from the user's music library or playlists.

What's striking about the Samsung product is a bright 1.8 inch LCD screen which should be a hit with the kids. Navigation is easy with a navigation button in the centre, and besides storing music, you can keep your favourite photos (and see them on the bright screen) and even simple text. You can also record.

The earphones match the iPod. It's heavier but has a battery life of 20 hours in comparison with the iPod's 12. The iPod's design is classier, and the Samsung's price is about Rs 11,000 -- some Rs 2,500 more than an iPod Shuffle which allows you to store the same number of songs. The colour display could be a plus point as well as the recorder.

HCL's Neopod

Our desi offering (the product, of course, is imported) from HCL Infosystems. Its biggest draw is the price at Rs 16,500 compared to a similar storage space model (20 GB) from iPod for which you have to fork out Rs 21,400.

It also has an in-built FM radio, voice recording facility and can be synched with Windows Media player (so you can transfer all your songs there to the machine) which you cannot do with an iPod where the music has to be synched only with its proprietary Apple's iTunes software on the PC.

It also has a built in slot for inserting a multimedia card so that you can store your pictures. It is a bit larger than the iPod and does not have the same classy looks.

The battery playback time of 8 hours is less than an iPod, and the navigation keys don't match the simple wheel scroll of the Apple product. The sound isn't that good either.

Sony's Network Walkman HDD NW-HD3

This is Sony's answer to the iPod challenge, looks slick, can store over 13,000 songs and has an amazing 30-hour battery life, and is smaller and weighs less than an iPod. At a price of Rs 22,900, you have to fork out Rs 1,500 more than you would for the 20 GB iPod.

For the diehard iPod fan, the control buttons are a bit too complicated in comparison with the ease of the wheel scroll of the iPod. There is a separate button for volume and tiny buttons for menu and mode which are not as easy to navigate.

Bose Sound Dock

If you want everyone to listen your iPod, pick up Bose's sound dock. The machine is simple to use -- plug in, pop the iPod on the cradle and use a thin remote to control music stored in the iPod.

The advantage is that you needn't get up every time to search for your CD and insert it in the system. But the joy comes at a steep price: Rs 21,900, and the sound does not match that on a good music system. You can, by the way, attach the iPod to your home music system with a cable which costs only Rs 75.

Postscript: While you have to download your music in all the systems other than the Triport, this can be a bit tiresome, especially when there are software upgrades to deal with. The upgrades, by the way, don't work well if you use pirated versions of operating systems such as Windows.

Bose Triport

If you are a Bose (Bose Corporation) fan but have never been able to afford their expensive music systems, this is for you. Bose has just launched a Triport CD Music System, their first entry into the popular portable audio player category, which provides you with their legendary sound quality.

The product includes a new Bose CD-cum-MP3 player and the critically acclaimed Triport headphones. And its affordable price.

The CD player comes out with many innovative features -- MyMix, with just one touch, allows users to choose songs which they want to hear by creating a temporary playlist.

Every time you put in the same CD, it will directly scan to the songs which you have identified in MyMix. A large LCD screen gives you information on the artist, track and also playing time provided they are encoded on the CD.

The size is a disadvantage, and the player is much bigger than many portable audio players available, and is not comfortable to strap up and carry in case you are walking or jogging. In fact the product does not provide for a strap band to carry it along but comes with a pouch. The headphones are large and that's a major negative for those who like unobtrusive listening.

Philips Hi-Fi Stereo headphone-SBC HP800

Philips India has introduced the Philips Hi-Fi Stereo headphone-SBC HP800, touted as 'combining technology and revolutionary design features.' The price: Rs 1,195.

The Philips SBC HP800 boasts zero-distortion sound thanks to its 40mm neodymium speaker drivers. The advantages of the soft ear pads, besides of course comfort, is that there is no spillover sound, so you can crank up the volume without disturbing anyone around you. The headphones are light, which is useful for marathon listening.

According to Gunjan Srivastava, director -- audio and video business group, consumer electronics, Philips India, "The superior quality and the natural sound isolation of the headphone makes it an exceptional travelling companion on noisy road trips."

In addition, the Philips Hi-Fi Stereo headphone SBC HP800 can be hooked up to either the computer, portable player or can be used on a simple home hi-fi using the larger gold-plated 6.3mm stereo adapter jack. The Philips Hi-Fi Stereo headphone SBC HP800 comes with a 3 meter-long cable which you can plug into any system.



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Sub: Forgot a few items

In the world of gizmos...surely the hyped iPod is there..but you might also like to know that there is one another fabulous product called iRiver ...


Posted by Ravi




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