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Old 02-02-2012, 10:32 PM
themagni themagni is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Near the ocean
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Default Sony NWZS544 vs. Cowon iAudio9 vs. Creative Zen X-fi3

Hi everybody.

For the last three years, I've been using a Sony NWZS544. It broke when it got wet after a rainstorm. (It was in a bag at the time, there was a LOT of rain.) I tried my best to fix it but to no avail.

I live in Canada, so my options are quite limited. For the price range I'm looking at, I can basically get the NWZS544, the iAudio9, or the X-Fi3. Each of those will have to be shipped so I can't try them out nor return them if I don't like them.

I used the Walkman for daily biking, so an external speaker is critical. I do not feel safe wearing headphones or earbuds when biking.

I also used it for teaching spin classes. It would be great if the unit could handle playlists. The Sony could not use playlists under Ubuntu, so I had to copy my music into subfolders and rename them with a number prefix to make a playlist. I could live with it but it was a pain. So a proprietary loader will not work out; I don't have a Windows machine. Drag-and-drop only. On-the-fly-playlists like the newer Sonys would rock absolutely.

I use the player most of the day at work, although I can plug it into a wall charger so battery life is not the most critical factor. (For security reasons, I would not be able to plug it into the computer.)

I did not use it for movies ever. I don't think I'd bother using movies. It's for music only. I have a netbook for portable movies. Same with camera, Internet, etc. Music is the critical thing. Actually, a camera would be a bad option at work.

Standard cables are a plus, although I have two of the WM port USB cables.

Durability is really important. I've dropped the Walkman a few times, and the worst I've had is a scratched screen and a dented case. (That was on cement.)

No matter what the interface is, I've probably seen worse. I can cope with a bad interface as long as it's learnable and has features like playlists and EQ. Normalized volume would be a plus but not a deal-killer.

So given those three options and my requirements, what is my best option? The Sony has great speakers, but they're on an armband and I have to put the player upside down to get decent sound. The other two players let me move away from the Sony and try a different system. But, since I'm getting them shipped there's no takebacks, no warranty, and no complaining.

If there's another Canada-available option in roughly the same price point (with a speaker) I would love to know about it.

Thanks, I really appreciate the time you took to read my post.
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cowon iaudio 9, creative zen x-fi3, sony nwzs544

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