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04. 07. 2008

Cool (and cheaper) alternatives to the iPod Touch

ipodtouch-compare.jpgarchos605.jpg

My birthday's in May, and already my loved ones are asking what I want. So I've got a moral dilemma. I don't really need an audio player because I've got two perfectly good iPods. OTOH, they are elderly and not equipped for video. I really would like a handheld video player, and I would like to have usable handheld Internet access.

I don't need an iPhone because I adore my Centro, which combines a decent phone with the Palm PDA software that's kept me in approximate order for years. It was also really, really cheap: $99 plus the inevitable 2-year contract. My adoration, however, doesn't extend to the Centro's screen, which is really, really tiny, no good for either videos or the Web.

An obvious solution is the iPod Touch. But here's my moral dilemma: am I going to let my lust for an iPod Touch overpower my desire to keep my loved ones from spending $300-$500, depending on gigabytes?

Just in time to help me out, here comes CNET with a feature comparing a handful of alternatives to the iPod Touch. Apple is not the only player maker, it turns out, that can turn out a conveniently small device with a really good touch screen that plays videos brilliantly and lets you read your mail and web surf without squinting too much.

Prices range from around $150 for the Cowon D2 (the only one without Internet access, but user reviews declare its other features "spectacular") to $470 for another Cowon model, the Q5W, which has Bluetooth and video output but didn't make as big a hit with either editors or plain old users like us. In between are the Samsung YP-P2, about $250, and my favorite, the Archos 605 WiFi. The Archos is a little more at about $270 for the 30GB model. Adding a Web browser to the Archos - the easy-to-use and reliable Opera that permits real browsing with no restriction to specific sites - is $30 additional. But even so that's $200 less than the comparable 32GB Touch.

At least I've pared my moral dilemma down to $300. Thank you, CNET!

Posted by Tam    Category:
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Comments (1)

Jason:

It would help if you were clearer in your requirements. You make an argument that your older iPods can't play video but apparently web & mail access is also important. Bluetooth? Why? (headsets? file transfers?) How important is a touchscreen interface? Might be a good idea to know approximately how many videos you expect it to hold. If you're thinking 20-40 full length movies that limits the options considerably.

Anyway..

If they can afford it I'd say to go with the iPod touch. (If they can't - what about Apple gift cards? That way you can put them towards what you really want later down the line.) Maybe you can give the two outdated iPods to people that don't have them? (read: make someone else happy too)

If you're constrained to a budget (and don't mind a video-only solution) consider the offerings from iRiver (Clix) and Meizu (M6) - both have highly rated units. Both are under $200.

You might be fond of CNET but there are better (more focused) sites that may be helpful - DAPreview.net is a good place to start.

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