I recognize that the iPod was more or less the original HDD MP3 and other music player, and I realize that it’s design is wonderfully compact. Given this, I still don’t really like it. Why…
1. I don’t find that ‘wheel’ comfortable to use, and I like some sort of tactile response from a control unit, not just knowing that some internal thing is sensing if my finger moves. Having messed with one, I’m semi-disappointed with it’s accuracy – I did not like how often it jumped two menu items down when I only tried to go one down.
2. I cannot just drag and drop files to it, I must use MusicMatch or iTunes.
3. I must browse my music based on ID3 tag, not by directory and filename. ID3 tags are nice and good to use, but not something I care to rely on.
4. The low resolution of the screen, or at least the poor use of it. There’s space there that could be used for displaying something useful.
5. Lack of a user adjustable equalizer.
6. Too few buttons, I know simplicity is good, but a few more buttons would eliminate my having to guess what one to use for functions. To expand on this, the same 4 buttons with LCD displays behind them would be absolutely amazing since they could have many different functions and the functions could be shown not guessed at, think soft buttons on a phone or calculator one generation more advanced.
One thing I do like about the iPod is that using the wheel to scroll through a list of a thousand songs is amazingly great. The iPod picks up that my finger is moving faster and skips faster through the list, and there’s no delay like having to hit a button and have the device pick up the fact that you held the button and didn’t let it go.
Also, they are still one of the smallest sleekest designs out there for 10gb and up players.
Basically if the iPod would let me mess with my files directly instead of having to use some shit software and if they replaced the wheel with a scroll bar of sorts which scrolled faster as you moved further from center I’d probably have bought that instead of the iRiver player.
Now, as for the iRiver, likes and dislikes on that…
1. It lets me directly manipulate files, without any stupid DRM issues or such garbage.
2. Hardware capabilities such as recording from the built in Mic, a external Mic or line in, and optical input and output.
3. It sounds great and has a user settable equlizer.
4. Although not as absolutely simple, I think the menus etc. are much more intuitive to use.
1. For as great as the hardware is, it’s under-supported by the firmware. I mean it took two updates to get the shuffle mode working reasonably well, for such a basic feature that’s pretty sad. It would be great if someone developed a replacement firmware like was developed for the Archos.
2. The joystick is a little small and slick, it would be better as a cupped d-pad of sorts so one could use it like a joystick but pressing on the sides would not be like clicking the joystick but like pushing it to the side. Yeah, I know that description is about as clear as shit.
3. Using a joystick to scroll through a great number of songs is a pain. It needs some form of accelerated scrolling feature.