Playing music is just one of the features of personal music players like Apple iPods and Sandisk Sansa Fuze. On the surface, it is hard to tell what’s new about the 2nd generation iPod Touch. But the fact that the latest Apple iPod Touch comes equipped with a mammoth 32GB, makes the 4GB MP3 players look a little impotent.
There’s one more new addition and that’s the volume controls. Apple has also launched a brand new range of whisper-thin iPod Nano series (it’s just 6.2mm) in nine colours. The 4th generation Nanos look completely different from their slightly stubby predecessors.
The standard iPod features, such as playing music, audio books, podcasts, video and displaying photos, are all there. The big new features in the latest Apple Nano and Touch players is the built-in accelerometer, which finds expression mainly in the new games and ‘shake’ to shuffle feature and Genius playlists that are also a feature of the required iTunes 8 software.
Genius playlists are saved directly onto your iPod Touch and with automatic syncing enabled in iTunes you can also transfer them back to your computer. Oddly, the Touch’s Genius feature won’t work if you haven’t enabled Genius on your computer’s iTunes software. A few could have problems enabling the iTunes’ Genius (the feature tracks and reports your listening habits to Apple) then you’ll need to live without the feature on your player.
Apple’s accelerometer now finds way in Nano and Touch players and it essentially means that the iPod can work whichever way up it is. Turn the iPod on its side while you are playing music and the display automatically changes to cover view mode, so you can flick through your album covers using the click wheel. Videos also play in landscape mode by default.
Even with all the new features, the new Nano delivers upwards of 24 hours of battery time for audio and 5 hours of video playback time. The tiny battery can charge up to 80 per cent in about 90 minutes.
It would be wrong to say that Sandisk is pitching the Sansa Fuze as a direct competitor to iPod Nano. It’s twice as thick but its height and width are similar to Apple’s player, however, its black plastic and soft rubber chassis can’t match the style of the Nano’s chrome casing. The most important external feature of Fuze is the Micro SDHC card slot towards the bottom. This card slot fully integrated any media.
You are not just buying a 2, 4 or 8GB player but rather a device that can be expanded by up to 8, 16 or even 32GB. Feature-wise the Fuze comes with an FM radio that lacks RDS but lets you pre-set your 40 favourite stations and a voice recorder that’s coupled to an excellent built-in microphone.
Video playback on the Fuze is a big improvement over its predecessors, but the Fuze’s low power processor requires the video format to be rather bloated. To get anything to play on the Fuze you will need to transcode it using Sansa Media Converter which can be downloaded from the SanDisk site.
You can safely run the battery for 20 hours of music playback The Sansa Fuze player comes in a 2GB capacity and will set you back by Rs 5,490. The Apple iPod Touch 8GB is priced at Rs 12,800, Rs 16,100 for 16GB (around 3,500 songs) and Rs 21,100 for 32GB (around 7000 songs). The Nano 8GB and 16 GB cost Rs 8,200 and Rs 10,500 respectively.
What makes the new iPod players winners are impeccable looks and plethora of accelerometer-based games (that can be always downloaded free or at a price from the online App Store).
6 months ago