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Old 01-03-2013, 07:42 AM
Kammie Kammie is offline
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Default Time to retire my Gmini500, don't want touchscreen only!

Hello. Be gentle with me, please. Parting with my long-loved current Archos Gmini500 player is hard and I've found myself somewhat lost adrift in reviews and advice, I'm really not at ease with adapting to new things.

I've owned an Archos Gmini500 for years, very happy with it but it's on its last legs and it's time for a replacement. No idea where to start, as the reviews I've read on potentially interesting products (Cowan Z2 for example) generally do not touch on the issues I really want to know before shelling out.

I primarily play MP3 files and view JPGs. Video (wmv/mp4) would be good, but not essential. Anything else would be an optional and probably unused extra. Decent capacity is a must, 32 GB min, preferably not reliant on an external card. It's mostly used whilst sleepy in bed so being able to click a button (as opposed to fishing it out, wondering where the pointer got to, peering at it and trying to prod the right place on a touchscreen) is good. Cost is not a consideration, doing what I need it to is what counts.

I recently bought an EvoDigitals 32GB player but found it just did not suit at all. It missed the functions I really needed and simply didn't work very well, the touchscreen was either too fast or too slow and the music files frequently just jumped to another song, without even touching the device. It didn't even have the basic option of a Stop command whilst playing music files. I couldn't access most of my songs as it meant individually tapping the touchscreen a few 1000 times to navigate down the list, there was no scrollbar drag or incrimental jump-through reading the song menu. I'm not in the market for RSI or needing 5 mins to navigate menus to find one song.

I appreciate a lot of people will perhaps think I'm weird, but I *hate* touchscreens, they don't suit me or my needs at all. I accept that's the way things are going now, but I haven't given up hope there is a decent player out there for me that still has useful buttons, primarily or as a supporting option to touchscreen. I'd buy another Gmini but I can't find any in good condition for sale so I'm looking for something with similar functions to that. I'd like the JPG files I have associated with my MP3s displayed on the screen while the song plays. I'd like to be able to move speedily through the song lists, not to have to tap 2000 times individually on a touchscreen, as I did with the EvoDigitals. Buttons for (at minimum)Stop/Play/FF/RW. Must have a Shuffle play function. Of course sound quality matters and I do like high volume but I'm not an audiophile and don't use sound modes (like setting to Jazz, Classical mode etc).
I would like a straightforward file loading option, plug into my PC (USB cable, no wi-fi/bluetooth) and transfer files across via copy/paste or drag/drop. Windows-style Explorer folder viewing would be nice. My MP3s are all in one folder but the JPGs and videos are separated into various folders, would like it to stay that way.

I'm located in the UK and I'm really hoping folks here will be able to direct me to suitable models or a stash of antique Gminis hiding in someone's attic!
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:00 PM
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IDvsEGO IDvsEGO is offline
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if you want 32 or higher and no cad you are pretty much stuck with an ipod classic. no touchscreen there either so it actually sounds like a good option for you. pretty sure it works with media monkey too so thats better than itunes.

sansa clip or fuze (not +) might work but they are small or old.

you could try a higher quality touchscreen player that has some hard buttons. the j3 has hard buttons on the side for you. its kind of tough to find these days though. there may be other cowon options though.

sony fits your needs but is lower in capacity typically and has no expansion slot.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:34 AM
Kammie Kammie is offline
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Thank you for the reply.

I don't know much about Ipods specifically, but I don't like the company and don't really want to give it my money. Again, maybe it's just horror stories but I've heard stuff about people not being able to use/copy their existing MP3s freely and I figured I would be tied into Itunes, which I really don't want. Also, I figured I wouldn't be able to copy-paste files from a PC into an Explorer type structure on the player. Am I completely wrong? Having looked at the unit, it appears to have buttons but lack a basic Stop button. I'm confused as to why Pause seems to have become a universal substitute. Also, way too many bad reviews about durability. That'd be a device of last resort at the moment.

I've searched for a J3 prior to coming here, with no luck. I was looking also at Sony NWZ-Z1060 or Cowon Z2 but I couldn't make out if they do a decent range of hard buttons as well as self-chosen MP3/JPG association, which I do care about. I'd reduce my MP3 collection to manage with a 16GB device, if it met the Wants list so any suggestions there are welcome.

I'm pretty horrified at the way things are going. Due to hand-mobility restrictions and other factors, not everyone can readily use a touchscreen with relative fluency. We can get big button mobile phones these days, for such folks, would be nice to see player manufacturers realising some of us still like the olden ways

Last edited by Kammie; 01-04-2013 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:44 AM
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IDvsEGO IDvsEGO is offline
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For the iPod, you are right about no drag and drop but you don't have to have iTunes. I haven't heard of issues with not being able Tobias MP3s freely. Maybe people don't know where iTunes buries the files so they think they can't but that lack of knowledge, not lack of ability. My daughter has had an iPod touch for a couple of years now. I am not the biggest fan and I don't have one myself, but its not a bad product. A little over priced possibly. As for durability...its the most prolific seller in the market. That means tons of idiots buy them and don't treat them well. Treat it right and its fine.

Stop button - I am confused as to why you want one. With physical media there are pause buttons that maintain all mechanical functions on hold so you can resume at the same place. The stop releases all mechanical functions. In electronic media there is no functional difference in stop and pause. They do the exact same thing. The only potential difference would be clearing your current place in the song.

As far as touch vs buttons...you are in a huge minority. Most people, even older people, prefer a touch. Getting the right UI is the trick. That's why I went with an android player. You have freedom to pick from multiple playbacknapps so you can find the layout that works for you best. It takes less dexterity to touch a large icon than press a small button for most. As long as your eyesight is still good.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:07 PM
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BruceBanner BruceBanner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kammie View Post
I appreciate a lot of people will perhaps think I'm weird, but I *hate* touchscreens, they don't suit me or my needs at all.
I don't think yer weird at all. I think touchscreens have their place, but not on small devices. 4.3 inch screen and touchscreen is viable. I have a Galaxy S2 smartphone and although i can't type properly on it in portrait mode, swinging it to landscape mode and I can thumb type pretty fast (this is prolly the best example of being fiddly with a touchscreen device).

I owned a psp3000 and still have my pspgo, both arn't touchscreens, but Sony's Crossbar navigation User Interface is superb, you can really get to where you want to go with ease via the directional crosspad etc (tho i wouldn't recommend these devices for your actual needs).

I too hated touchscreens so that my journey started of with the sansa range of goodies. First the clip, then the clip+, then a Fuze and also a clipzip (all of which are non touch).
The Fuze you might like and once rockboxed (custom firmware) you are presented with a plethora of Now Playing Screens to choose from as well has higher end audio tweaks and better navigating options etc.
Where the Fuze falls down is its screen isn't that great for video (tho it can do it). The clip range i would not recommend as they won't do video or jpgs well at all.
The Fuze + has a nicer higher quality screen than its predecessor tho its navigation is apparently very bad due to using 'touchscreen like' controls (tho its actually not a touch screen device). Some users report back that once its rockboxed things get alot better, for sure its a cheapish device, perhaps its a compromise you can live with.

My current player of choice is Cowon's C2, but its touchscreen sadly, and a little fiddly, other than that it trumps my other players in different areas, but certainly I was a tad quicker doing things on the sansa products.

You can't have everything, every device seems to have something that trumps another device. For me I was willing to forgo spending an extra 30-60seconds building that playlist on my C2 but to gain (what i felt) was better sound quality and certainly better battery life.

I guess my real point is I would reevaluate yer dislike of touchscreens if you actually have experienced a well executed touchscreen device (like an ipad or decent smartphone). Touchscreens definitely have their uses and places in technology, but on small mp3 player devices I think tactile is best. Rethink yer stance on touchscreens if yer thinking of buying a product with a fairly large screen, it does change things considerably.
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