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Old 09-16-2009, 09:10 PM
barryem barryem is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 207

I have quite a lot of players including several Archos players and Cowon and Creative players. I recently got a Cowon S9. I use players mostly for video and audiobooks and a little bit for music so my view of this might be different than most.

I think the nicest player I have, overall, is the Creative Zen Vision:W. It's simple to use, reliable, has a good screen and plays all the stuff I'm likely to put on it. I use it more for videos than the rest. I wish it had better battery life but that's about all it lacks.

The O2 is a close second to the ZVW, I think. It has much better battery life and fits in my pocket better. The speaker isn't nearly as loud and that's important to me. If the speaker was louder it might become my favorite. I do like the interface a lot although even here I think the ZVW is better.

I'm not sure what follows those. Maybe the D2. Maybe the Creative Zen. The D2 doesn't resume reliably on's books but 2/3 of my books are MP3 anyway. It's a bit heavy in a shirt pocket and that's probably it's biggest problem after the fact that it doesn't have a speaker. The Zen wins on it's small size and light weight although I find the controls pretty awkward to use.

Archos has a lot going for it but I don't think my 504, 404 or 705 are in the same ballpark with the ZVW and the O2. They get the poorest battery life of all of them. The interfaces are a little clumsier than the rest; not really too bad though.

I've left out the S9 because I haven't had it that long yet and I'm not sure just how it fits in this group. It's easily the most sophisticated interface of the bunch but I prefer simplicity. I find myself playing with it more and using it less than the others. That may change as I get more used to it.

One point I'd like to make about all this: the major brand players all range in quality from really very good to excellent. There are no bad players. There aren't even any mediocre ones. At least not among the major brands. I'd say that the worse player I own is an Iriver E100 and it's just fine. I'm bothered by the idea that everything but the best one or two sucks.

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