The Difference

The difference between what, you may ask? Well, of course, the promised analysis of my current mp3 players. And of course, this really doesn’t do anybody any good that isn’t looking for one, but it has been a topic of discussion lately among me and… (shut up, I didn’t ask you.)

The old (and stolen) and the new (and growing on me) are two different monsters. Here’s what I like about each.

I LOVED this thing. The Rio was very sturdy. It was rather thick, but compact. I really don’t care how thin something is if it’s the size of a regular sheet of paper. This thing was about three inches square or so, and maybe even an inch thick, but it was the perfect size to fit in my hand. The main controls were on either side (left and right), and for anyone that’s ever used a blackberry, you know what functionality the scroll wheel brings to any device. This one works very much the same. It is accompanied by a joysticky thing just below it that can be used to scroll, but mostly to pause, stop, or skip tracks in either direction. The other side has the two volume buttons, so holding it in my right hand, I have my thumb on the right side, and index and middle finger on the opposite for the volume buttons. It was great. Oh, something that this has that the blackberry doesn’t (with regards to the similarities between the scroll wheels, not because these two are competitors of any sort) is that (because the scroll wheel sticks out on the corner, you can change the screen orientation for southpaws so that the scroll wheel is on the left corner. Very nifty.

Next is that it holds up to 20G of music. It’s actually just shy of that (more than just shy, if you ask me), at around 18.6. The screen was not a color screen and was nothing more than a very basic screen with 16 shades of gray. No photo displaying here, no crazy visualizations, none of that, but who cares? The screen didn’t suck battery life because it didn’t do a whole lot. It was very well-lit (you could change those settings), and had some great equalizer settings. The features for this thing were unbelievable. You could search for song by artist, album, song title, genre, year of release, and I think even playcount. It had some great DJ features, like “most popular music,” “least popular music,” “random,” and some other grouped searches like “music listened to in the evening,” and stuff. The super cool thing about it was that you also chose how much music to pull off, so if you chose random (a very basic feature, if you ask me) you could select the length of the music at 15 minutes, 30 mins, 60, 90 min, and 2, 4, or 8 hours of music. It was spiffy. The power of this thing to create on-the-fly playlists was outstanding. Most mp3 players will only let you do this on the computer and sync them to the device. Crappy. Super crappy. You could choose songs, albums, or entire artists to queue to my “now playing,” and then delete the ones you don’t want, or change the order, or WHATEVER, and then save it from the device. You named it and everything, and could open and edit it later. This seems like such an easy task, but it’s so rare. It’s a beautiful thing. Rio Karma also played many many file formats, from mp3s and WMAs to lossless formats, and even OGG, which was super cool, even though I only have like two .ogg files. Also, sound quality, very good. Drop-safe (although I wouldn’t recommend it). Doesn’t have a whole lot of extras, like carrying cases, or clips, or anything like that, but that’s no biggie. Using the docking station, you can connect to anything with an RCA cable, and you could even do this thru the headphone jack if you had the right stuff. The first one I had crashed that week, but Circuit City replaced it, and I loved it ever since. I did have to use the reset button every so often. If it weren’t stolen, I would have run out of space on it shortly thereafter. No FM tuner, no voice recorder (but a really solid stopwatch) Just a great player. Very basic, but it covers ALL the basics.

Now for the new, but only in comparison to the second, because this is getting long-ish. It has a lot more gadgety features like an FM tuner, voice recorder, FM recorder, photo viewer, VIDEO (!!!!), slideshows, file storage, 10 more GB of capacity, full color 262,000-something color screen, organizer, contact manager, (both of which sync with Outlook, which isn’t too terribly useful for me because I have a PalmTreo®), saved pictures of album art that displays when you play the album, and some other cool things like “album of the day,” which is really just a “random album,” function. The playlist function isn’t as great: you can create and save them, but you can’t change the order. If you open one up, play it, and queue more tracks behind it, you can save it with the same name, and it’ll ask if you want to overwrite the existing one, and you can do that, but you can’t change the order. Somewhat irritating. There are a total of seven buttons and a scroll thing. The power button on top also doubles as the “hold,” button in the other direction (during hold, the buttons obviously are not functional, but the screen goes into hibernation after about five seconds, which dramatically reduces battery usage, which is cool, but I keep forgetting to turn it off, which can be a pain). There are six main buttons under the screen: top left is a customizable shortcut button (neat feature) top right is the play/pause/go-to button. Bottom left is a “back,” button, and bottom right is a menu button. Right in the middle, running from top to bottom is a touch-sensitive scroll bar that mimics the i-pod’s wheel, except this is a bar. It has a section in the middle to select or change screens, and then the actual scroll function where you can either run your finger up and down, or hold at one end or the other. I have found that my “scroll down” section on the bar is disproportionate to the middle or scroll up sections, so that is kind of irritating, but you get used to it all. It’s not as intuitive as the Karma, but I’ve gotten used to it. Give it a week or so of constant use, and I suggest creating playlists to give yourself some practice. It’s very quick once you get the hang of it, but it takes a little while to do that. Don’t let that stop you, though; this thing is extremely powerful, and I have come to love it in the week (exactly) that I’ve had it. Oh, also, it seems that the video and photo storage does not detract from the total capacity on the hard drive (which makes no sense, so lemme ‘splain). I’ve put about 21 GB of stuff on here so far, and when I added about an hour’s worth of video clips and shorts and things, the “free space,” stat did not change, nor did it change when I added a few hundred photos. This thing boasts “thousands of photos,” and “120 hours of video,” or something like that, so don’t be worried about that, I’ve got about 8,000 MB still left on here, with many of my songs at about 300 kbps, which is far too high, but whatever.

I’ve gotta go. More later. If you’re good.  

1 comment:

Affable Olive said...

Horse n.buggy gave me a link! More about the new one please...I'm intrested, as you and your other self know.