So what’s the problem?
Well, the problem is, those three seemingly realistic requirements just eliminated most options out there of which I am aware. Requirement #1 eliminated the most common option (iPods), and requirement #2 eliminated flash memory based devices and therefore ALL of the MP3 players ARCHOS now offers, as well as most of the devices offered by other well-known manufacturers of such things.
Among those that are left, requirement #3 puts a serious dent into them. For some reason, there must be HUGE demand for portable “media” players now, rather than just simple portable digital music players. As a result, any device with decent storage capacity has a huge screen on it and the capability for video playback, which (by virtue of the big display) automatically cuts battery life down to pretty paltry levels in my opinion, even when it’s just used for music playback only.
I can come close on my requirements with the SanDisk Sansa View, if I’m willing to drop my storage requirement to 32 GB. It’s expandable via MicroSD, which is a plus (I could just permanently insert an 8 GB or a 16 GB MicroSD card to bring it up to my 40 GB requirement, if push came to shove). SanDisk claims 35 hours of battery life on a charge for this device, a claim I find dubious at best. In fact, the reviews on Amazon that mention battery life are all over the board. Some claim it’s got excellent battery life, others claim it’s 2 hours or less. With that kind of hit-and-miss, I’m skeptical, even of a solid state player like this one.
Likewise, another product that comes close is the Creative Zen 32 GB Portable Media Player. Like the SanDisk Sansa View, it is 32 GB but has an expansion slot, so I could technically live with the limited storage capacity. However, Creative claims that this device has a 30 hour battery life for playing music, something I’m not sure about. Like the SanDisk Sansa View, the Creative Zen 32 GB player is also flash memory based, and the reviews consistently rave about its battery life, but I have a hard time believing 30 hours. Still, even if it’s half that (which I find a lot more likely), that’s still 15 hours and well within my requirements.
To my knowledge neither of these devices is proprietary or platform specific, or shackled with inherent DRM, so that’s a good thing.
Between the two, the Creative Zen 32 GB Media Player has the most reviews on Amazon, and by far the most positive ones, so I’d lean toward that one in general.
I just wish that either had higher storage capacity. That’s what bothers me about both of these options, and I haven’t found any other options that even come as close as these two have.
So, what do you think? What other devices are there out there that I need to take a look at that might meet my requirements? It seems like other than the iPod (and the Zune, but I don’t really count the Zune as an option to begin with), proprietary isn’t really that big an issue for MP3 players in the Linux world. So why can’t I find a player with at least 40 GB native capacity AND at least 10 hours of battery life?
As I keep bringing up, my current device is hard drive based and has great battery life… and it’s from 2005. One would think that technology would allow MORE of such devices to be available, not fewer!
So make some suggestions, I’d love to hear what the rest of you are using.