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60G Nomad Zen vs. The iPod 673

Posted by timothy
from the ipod-wins-on-visual-appeal dept.
war3rd writes "According to an article in BetaNews, Creative is going to be releasing an upgraded Nomad Zen at the end of the month that is not only larger than the iPod, but cheaper too. At $400 for 60G ($100 less than the 30G iPod), the new Zen will sport more features, although it may be slightly larger than the newer generation of iPods. I have been putting off buying an MP3 player until I felt that the arms race was settling down, but the new Zen is making my mouth water. So what does the /. community think, are Creative and Apple going to be the top players in this arena? Is it time I jumped onto the bandwagon? One thing is for certain, I am going to be watching the reviews closely."
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60G Nomad Zen vs. The iPod

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  • Viva la Zen!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ChaoticChaos (603248) * <l3sr-v4cf AT spamex DOT com> on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:23PM (#5895742)
    I've been using a Creative Labs Nomad Jukebox 3 (30gb) unit for the last year and 10+ hours a *day* and have no complaints. Solid unit. I can not only play MP3s, but also WMA files (sorry /.-ers,,, I have sinned).

    The unit also easily stores data files. w00t!

    IMHO, the zen is an easy choice - twice the storage, $100 less, tons of reliability, and more features.

    Btw, there is also a HUGE Nomad community too! I'll cite Nomadness.net as a great example. Good forums and good Nomad news.

    • No, I'm not being a smart-ass. If they can put in WMV (which I wouldn't use, being an OS X/Linux guy, so I have no point), they should put in Ogg and AAC, since AAC is based on the MPEG-4 codec.

      Then I could actually sit at my desk and try to decide - iPod, or Zen. If for no other reason than I like competition.
    • Re:Viva la Zen!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by questionlp (58365) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:32PM (#5895841) Homepage
      The only gripe I have with the Jukebox line of players is not the hardware but rather the bloated and buggy Creative PlayCenter software. It's no where as clean as iTunes... but Red Chair Software [redchairsoftware.com] has a kick-ass program that replaces PlayCenter and has some additional capabilities like viewing and streaming files over a Web-based interface and SQL-like queries on your MP3 files. The program is Notmad Explorer [redchairsoftware.com] and is available in freeware (limited functionality) and payware... (sorry, not free as in libre either).

      Also the Nomad Jukebox 3 (not the current Zen) has optical-in recording to MP3 or wave. It's not as simple as pressing record on a portable MiniDisc recorder, but it works in a pinch.

      • LOL!!! As soon as you started complaining about PlayCenter, I was going to reply about Red Chair's Notmad. I use that as well! Real nice software.

        It's like using Windows Explorer to transfer music files and data files. Just drag and drop! Mindless.

        • by FosterKanig (645454) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @07:39PM (#5896590)
          Drag and drop? I've gotten spoiled by just plugging my iPod in, waiting 30 seconds while it automatically updates everything, and then unplugging
          For data files, yeah, I guess I have to do the drag and drop. But for music, I'll stick to "plug and un-plug"

          While I prefer the iPod, I enjoy the competition because it only make both products better in the long run. And that benefits me, and isn't that what it is all about?
          • right on the money (Score:3, Insightful)

            by SethJohnson (112166)


            FosterKanig, You are spot-on with the point about competition making both products better. Apple keeps revving the iPod adding new features precisely because companies like Creative are chasing after them.
            • by gig (78408) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @01:24AM (#5898741)
              You know what's funny is that I was shocked to read above that a top guy at Creative wouldn't know what is up with MPEG-4 and especially AAC, and not even know that everything Apple (Mac OS X, QuickTime, all Mac apps, iPod, iTunes) are all fully MPEG-4 and AAC.

              Then the next question the Creative guy goes to is about 48kHz sample rates! The CEO of Creative wants you to use Windows Media and he doesn't even realize that 48kHz is itself like the Windows Media format of the 1980's.

              The 48kHz sample rate was chosen by the RIAA for "consumer" digital audio recording (DAT, MiniDisc, Hi8) so as to make it harder to make CD's from those recordings.

              The small increase in quality you get by sampling at 48kHz instead of 44.1kHz does not pay for the HUGE decrease in audio quality you get by a Sample Rate Reduction from 48kHz to 44.1kHz. It's more destructive than converting to analog and then back to digital with good converters.

              To still be talking 48kHz in 2003 is abysmal. The next rate that's useful above 44.1 is 96kHz, which is high up enough and done at 24-bit or 32-bit and gains you so much quality that you can then come down to 44.1 right at the end and you're better than if you stayed there through the whole process.

              Creative's stuff is sub-par. It's good PC gear but it's not good audio gear. iPod is both good PC gear and good audio gear.

              In short, iPod and Apple are MUSICAL ALREADY. Creative are not as creative as Apple.
          • by g4dget (579145) on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @03:03AM (#5899101)
            Drag and drop? I've gotten spoiled by just plugging my iPod in, waiting 30 seconds while it automatically updates everything, and then unplugging

            That's not exactly rocket science or a complex programming effort. Rather, it's a five line USB hotplug script on Linux (using rsync) that works with every player: iPod, Zen, whatever.

            • That's not exactly rocket science or a complex programming effort. Rather, it's a five line USB hotplug script on Linux (using rsync) that works with every player: iPod, Zen, whatever.

              For 98% of the population a "five line USB hotplug script" is rocket science and a complex programming effort.

              "Normal" users should even need to think about this sort of stuff.

      • Re:Viva la Zen!!! (Score:3, Informative)

        by dcaulton (621302)
        You can also get a nifty driver and power toy that let's you mount the music partition of any creative nomad (including zen) as a normal hard drive, accessible from Windows Explorer. Totally circumvent playcenter. http://www.microsoft.com/windows/plus/dme/portable devices.asp#PTAudio
    • Re:Viva la Zen!!! (Score:5, Informative)

      by mrklin (608689) <ken.linNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:37PM (#5895898)
      iPod has benn able to store data since generation 1. In fact, you can even boot from it if needed. Can't say that about the Nomad.

      Oh, and you speak as if there is not a HUGE iPod community? Ever been to http://www.ipodlounge.com/ and the 1000+ pictures of iPod around the world?

      • <blockquote> Ever been to http://www.ipodlounge.com/ and the 1000+ pictures of iPod around the world? </blockquote>

        Wow! That's definitely worth the extra $100. ;-)
        • Re:Viva la Zen!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by PhoenixK7 (244984) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @08:08PM (#5896938)
          That wasn't his point, his point was that the community was large. Honestly I wouldn't trade my 10 GB iPod (3rd Gen) for anything (other than a newer iPod).

          60 GB is worthless if the software sucks. The integration between iTunes, iSync, and the iPod make for an excellent product that I don't have to spend any extra time fiddling with to get it to work.

          Judging from other posts here, and on the source article, it seems like existing and prior Nomad Zen products aren't exactly all they're cracked up to be.

          You pay more for high quality stuff, and the iPod _is_ high quality. Its not perfect, but what is?
    • Re:Viva la Zen!!! (Score:5, Informative)

      by aberkvam (109205) <aberkvamNO@SPAMberque.com> on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:42PM (#5895947) Homepage
      The unit also easily stores data files. w00t!
      Just to make sure people know, the iPod also easily stores data files [apple.com]. It has a number of other tricks up its sleeve including games, calendar, contact lists, text note storage, alarm clock, sound recording, etc.

      It does not play WMAs though.

    • by lscotte (450259) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @07:12PM (#5896283)
      Another option is the Archos Jukebox. The 20GB recorder model is ~$225, and you can upgrade the drive to 60GB.

      One of the best things about the Archos is the OSS Rockbox firmware at http://rockbox.haxx.se/ [rockbox.haxx.se]. New features are continually being added that make the Archos a very cool device. Plus, if you aren't happy with the way it works, just hack it yourself! The Rockbox source is very well written and easy to hack. Plus it has games.
      • I seriously considered the Archos until I found out that it won't play WMA files.

        No sale.
      • by ibbey (27873) * on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @09:34PM (#5897580) Homepage
        Agreed, Archos + Rockbox kicks ass. This is truly one of the best examples of open source I've seen yet. The feature set of Rockbox blows away the standard Archos, and new features are being added all the time. My favorite new feature will automatically pause the playback when you turn off the ignition in your car (when hooked up to the car cigarette lighter).

        Other cool features of the Archos: MP3 recording, FM tuning & recording (on the FM recorder models, not currently supported in rockbox), built-in batteries are rechargable AA's, so a spare set is easy & cheap (except the FM model).

        One caveat... Be sure to get either the Recorder or FM recorder model, not the Player or Multimedia. The player is supported by Rockbox, but due to hardware limitations & a bad interface, isn't a good choice. The Multimedia is not supported by Rockbox, and likely never will be. Who really wants to watch movies on a postage stamp size screen anyway.
  • iPod (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ballresin (398599) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:24PM (#5895744) Homepage Journal
    iPod sports AAC. That's the kicker. I'd rather have quality than quantity. Besides...you really gonna fill that 60Gigs with music? I don't think so.
    • Re:iPod (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fidget42 (538823)
      Besides...you really gonna fill that 60Gigs with music? I don't think so.
      I really like being able to use my iPod as a hard disk. I can download files to the iPod and take them to another Mac, Windows PC, or even Linux box, and moves the files without needing to burn CD ROMs. Saves time, space, and money (well, on CD-Rs at least).

      I currently have 5 GB of music, and 2 GB of data stored on my 20 GB iPod.
    • Re:iPod (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Gogl (125883)
      First off, ripping my 300 or so cds at high quality VBR would go a decent way to filling that. I'm betting I could definitely fill a healthy chunk of the 60gigs, and it'd be nice to have room to grow, eh?

      That, and all this AAC stuff... is a 128kb AAC really as great as Apple insists? From what I've read, it is better than a 128kb MP3, but if you're ripping a decent VBR MP3 then it really isn't any better. That, and MP3s are, well, compatible on with hardware and software. AAC won't be a selling point u
    • Re:iPod (Score:5, Interesting)

      by valkraider (611225) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:38PM (#5895910) Journal
      Besides...you really gonna fill that 60Gigs with music? I don't think so.

      I do think so. My 10GB iPod is full, 100% legal-i-ripped-them-from-CDs-I-own mp3s at only 128kb. With just the CDs I *currently* own, I could fill a 30GB iPod with 128kb AAC files, I probably have about 40GB of 128kb AAC I could rip legally. That will only increase as time goes on.

      I think the better question is, when is video coming? I mean imagine a 120GB drive and a 3 inch color screen all in an almost iPod sized device - that you could use to play MPEG4 video...

      mmm - Future is tasty and on order for delivery soon...
    • I have a 20G archos jukebox, and I feel constrained by the size. 60G would be about right.

      Also, I don't know about these other players, but the archos can be used as a USB 2.0 drive, so even if you didn't have enough music, you'd probably be able to use the space somehow.

      As soon as my warranty expires, I'm going to see if I can replace the drive with something bigger.
      • Re:iPod (Score:2, Informative)

        by ecchi_0 (647240)
        My warranty has expired and my harddrive has stopped spinning - I think I am going to follow this [mctubster.com] guide while installing a new one.
    • The iTunes music store: the first real reason to buy an mp3. Oh and the attention to detail that will make you a convert..

      And if that isnt enough the new iPods come with solitare (and laser engraving)!

      Looking at my 60gb music collection (10,052 songs) I might consider the Zen, but I only kid myself when I say for mp3's (and an OSX emergency start drive) I need more than my 10gb pod.
    • Re:iPod (Score:3, Insightful)

      by angle_slam (623817)
      Besides...you really gonna fill that 60Gigs with music? I don't think so.

      Just because you can't fill 60 Gigs with music doesn't mean there is nobody who can fill 60 Gigs. If an average CD is about 50 MB of MP3 files, that is 1200 CDs for 60 Gigs. I'm sure I'm not the only person here with more than 1200 CDs. On other boards I've been on, some have more than 3000 CDs.

      Do you need to have access to all of your CDs everywhere you? Of course not. But there will come a day when you install 1199 CDs on your por

    • Re:iPod (Score:3, Insightful)

      iPod sports AAC. That's the kicker. I'd rather have quality than quantity.

      You realise that WMA is actually very high quality right? They had some seriously smart bunnies work on the Windows Media codecs. I don't know how it compares to AAC, but I know it blows MP3 away, so I'd guess it's strongly competitive.

      What you say? It's a proprietary format? Yup, but hey, if you pay the right price Microsoft will license it to you - just like with AAC. Oh and they both have some kind of DRM too.

  • Does size matter? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by macmastery (600662)
    I guess it depends what you value most. Size, capacity or style?
  • Article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bronz (429622) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:25PM (#5895757)
    Looking to draw Windows users away from Apple's wildly popular iPod, Creative has released a mammoth update to its NOMAD Jukebox Zen portable audio player. The hard drive based Zen boasts an immense storage capacity of 60GB - twice that of largest iPod.

    The NOMAD Jukebox Zen sports a sleek aluminum case and USB 2.0 connectivity for fast song transfers. Creative has priced the Zen at $400, $100 cheaper than Apple's new 30GB iPod.

    "We've heard from our users that they would love to see a huge capacity NOMAD Jukebox Zen to take their entire music library and their digital files wherever they go," said Creative CEO Sim Wong Hoo. "And of course they demanded a great price. With the NOMAD Jukebox Zen with 60GB we've delivered a breakthrough capacity in a portable player."

    Creative claims a battery life of 14 hours in the NOMAD Jukebox Zen, slightly higher than that of the iPod. The Zen offers the ability to edit playlists directly on the device, and a "Find" function to quality search thousands of songs. An optional FM Wired Remote is also available featuring an FM tuner and microphone.

    But despite Creative's superior capacity and lower price, Apple has leapfrogged its competitors in terms of dollar market share. According to NPDTechworld, Apple held 27 percent of the market in the fourth quarter of last year, followed by S3's Rio unit with 10 percent.

    Apple's third generation iPods debut May 2, while Creative expects to ship the 60GB NOMAD Jukebox Zen later this month.
    • Dumb question, as I don't see it answered in the Betanews, and someone who uses a Nomad might be able to answer.

      The batteries - AA, or rechargable? I once had a Jukebox that was suppose to be able to charge via a separate AC adapter, but it would be nice if it could charge via USB 2.0. Just because I like less cords.
      • Re:Battery Life (Score:3, Informative)

        by GimmeFuel (589906)
        The Specifications page [nomadworld.com] for the 20GB Zen states it has a built-in rechargable lithium-ion battery, and is powered off DC 5v in. I'd assume the new one uses the same system.
    • Re:Article (Score:5, Informative)

      by Textbook Error (590676) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:37PM (#5895905)
      The Zen offers the ability to edit playlists directly on the device, and a "Find" function to quality search thousands of songs.

      The new iPods also allow you to edit playlists directly on the device ("On-The-Go" playlists), and I haven't seen a better interface yet than the iPod wheel/column browser for digging into thousands of files.

      You could previously use the iPod wheel to change the volume of the current track or scrub back and forth through it. Another neat feature on the new iPods is that you can now also enter a "rate this song" mode and adjust the rating for tracks on the fly. These ratings get passed back to iTunes next time you sync, so you can set up playlists to do things like "Whenever I plug my iPod in, automatically fill it up with random songs I haven't heard in a while that I rated 3 stars or higher".

      This press release is just basic marketing FUD - they're just touting the length of their (future) feature list, and forgetting that it's the integration with iTunes/etc that makes the iPod work so well.
      • Re:Article (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kdoherty (2232) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @07:35PM (#5896525)
        Those are neither future features nor examples of FUD. I'm an iPod owner who read up a little on the Nomad recently and the Nomad playlist editing is different from the iPod's.

        The new On-The-Go playlists for the iPod allow you to add songs to the playlist and clear playlists. When you plug the iPod into your Mac for syncing, the On-The-Go playlist is automatically wiped.

        On the Nomad, you can not only create playlists, but you can name them, and they will persist on the device. I don't know about the software for Windows but I assume it syncs back the playlists from the Nomad.

        Now, I love my iPod; I bought a 10G iPod last August and just bought a 30G one when they came out last week. That said, nobody benefits from this kind of rabid, ill-informed advocacy.

        Next time you want to make an argument for the iPod against the Nomad, make sure you have all the facts. If you're not willing to do that, don't waste people's time.
    • Lessee...
      Ipod: 6.2 oz (30 gig). Nomad: 9.5 oz
      Ipod: 4.1 by 2.4 by 0.73 Nomad: 75.9 x 112.6 x 24.5 mm (anyone have a translation?)
  • Price (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NETHED (258016) * on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:26PM (#5895763) Homepage
    What about us who want a good MP3/OGG player that is under 100bucks?
    • I think for those of us who want OGG players, we'll be waiting quite awhile for any portable mainstream OGG support, and even longer for it to appear in a non-luxury (i.e. sub-$HorrendouslyExpensive) unit.
    • Re:Price (Score:2, Interesting)

      by tasidar (604319)
      What's wrong with a USB Flash Drive/MP3 Player? [yahoo.com]
      Granted, it doesn't have OGG support, but it's small (in more than one way), stylist, and under $100US.
      It even uses a Lithium-ION battery.

      Disclaimer: I do not work for any of the companies mentioned.

    • Re:Price (Score:3, Insightful)

      by blixel (158224)
      What about us who want a good MP3/OGG player that is under 100bucks?

      I'm not a big OGG guy myself, but I wonder why manufacturers aren't including OGG support in their players? It's royalty free so it seems like a win-win situation to me. Doesn't cost them anything to include it except a little more R&D maybe, and it's going to attract at least a few more people.

      Any thoughts?
      • Re:Price (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mr_Silver (213637)
        Doesn't cost them anything to include it except a little more R&D maybe, and it's going to attract at least a few more people.

        You have to balance the amount of money it costs on development against the number of new users it'll attract.

        Outside the /. community - that number is extremely low compaired to MP3. Hell, probably even in the /. community the number is rather low (they're just very vocal).

        Therefore companies find it very difficult to justify this sort of cost for very little gain - especi

  • Well, it's quite big for a start, would certainly make a bulge in your pocket.

    But I have zero confidence in Creative's drivers. Anyone who owns a SoundBlaster card and runs Windows can attest to how crap they are.

  • Interesting how the iPod has become the standard by which other players are judged. Interesting that the submitter has found a player that is both larger than the iPod (a good thing) and also slightly larger than the iPod (a bad thing). Maybe being specific about when we mean capacity in GB and when we mean physical dimensions wouldn't be such a bad thing...
  • Zen Looks Great (Score:2, Informative)

    by artlu (265391)
    I have been using a nomad jukebox 20gb for about 3yrs at about 4 hours per day in my car with not one complaint over the lifetime of the product. I plan on going for the sleeker zen when i pick up a new car shortly and run an aux-in cable to the head unit.
    The iPod is awesome, but you are paying for the apple name and commercialization. Save some money.
    • Re:Zen Looks Great (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nick this (22998) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:45PM (#5895977) Journal
      I hear lots of people say things like this. "Macs are way too expensive for the speed of the machine" or "MP3 player X is a lot cheaper than an iPod".

      I understand this... I used to believe it too. The error is in assuming that the alternatives are all essentially equal... all mp3 players play mp3's, and computers are equal save for the speed of the processor.

      That's not the case. I can't explain it other than saying that there is a design quality and esthetic that is different in the Apple products. You won't believe it until you own one, but once you do, you understand the price difference, and realize it is negligible... that in fact all MP3 players are not the same. All computers are not the same.

      I boycotted XP and switched to Mac, while cursing the increased cost. Not any more. I recognize the difference between my Mac and my PC, and I know the differences are well in excess of the cost.

      Same is true with my iPod. It's the 3rd MP3 device I've owned, and it's cheaper compared to buying other devices, not using them, and having to re-buy an iPod.

      That's my take. Hate to sound like a ravenous Mac-head, but... well... I am one. Now.
  • All i want (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Goalie_Ca (584234) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:28PM (#5895798)
    is a cheap version of ipod that sports maybe 1GB and has an insanely long battery life. What kind of insane moron needs compressed audio with 60 GB of room.

    Maybe the next logical progression would be to sport a small plasma screen and play dvd's and divx. These things already had enough room.
    • Re:All i want (Score:4, Insightful)

      by numark (577503) <jcolson@NOsPaM.ndgonline.com> on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:42PM (#5895945) Homepage Journal
      iPods can be used for more than just music. Lots of people also use them for transferring data back and forth. Imagine having in your pocket an entire backup of your hard drive, so all you have to do to recover your files is connect the device to another computer, download the files, and go on your way. It's pretty hard to find anything else quite like that.
    • by Cyno01 (573917)
      Here ya go. [archos.com]
    • Re:All i want (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:51PM (#5896029)
      See....Archos Jukebox Multimedia 20GB hard drive. Has video playbeck and a small screen.MPEG-4 SP with MP3 stereo sound, near-DVD quality. Resolution CIF-352X288 @ 30f/s. AVI file format, reads XviD and DivX(TM) 4.0 & 5.0.
      Also plays MP#'s AND RECORDS IN MP3!!!!
      Just to let ya know it also takes still pics and VIDEOS !!! All this for $359.00 Oh yes interface is USB 2.0.
    • by Patik (584959) *
      I have a 20GB player right now and it's completely full with 192kbps MP3s of all my store-bought CDs. I hope to re-rip them at 256 or 320kbps so when I hook the player up to a stereo it sounds nice.

      Why so many songs? I got tired of carrying around a CD player and so many CDs. And even if I brought 100 CDs on a long trip, I'd always find myself in the mood for something I had left behind. No with my entire collection at hand, I always have everything I want.

  • Can it record? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mrjive (169376) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:28PM (#5895801) Homepage Journal
    The selling point for me is if it can record like the Jukebox 2/3. This is key when you want to record your dj sets at clubs or parties (which I have done many times using the older Jukebox models).
    • According to this [nomadworld.com] page the zen is capable of recording when you get the 'optional FM wired remote.' According to this [slashdot.org] post the iPod is rumoured to be able to do the same via a yet to be announced accessory. What I can't tell you is if either of the gadgets will record into a compressed format. With longer DJ sets that might be the deal-breaker.
    • Re:Can it record? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by WatertonMan (550706) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:42PM (#5895948)
      The new iPods have the hardware to record and purportedly will have a microphone coming out in June.
  • Okay, I know I was reaching anyway when the Zen (and libnjb) would not place nice on my linux box...but not working on a fully-updated XP box (lacking USB 2) is not acceptable.
  • Formats? (Score:2, Troll)

    by DdJ (10790)
    I don't suppose it plays MP3, Windows Media, AAC, Audible.com, and Ogg Vorbis?

    A man can dream...
  • Who needs 60 gigs? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by skeib (630324) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:31PM (#5895837) Homepage
    Seriously? Who really needs 60GB of mp3s in their pockets?

    I don't think one no longer should judge the players by storage capacity, as they both have plenty. If you look at the user interface and design, no-one even comes close to the iPod! And now Apple is even developing iTunes for windows as well, so soon winPod users will be able to use the best media player available!
  • Size matters (Score:5, Informative)

    by mrklin (608689) <ken.linNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:32PM (#5895840)
    Slightly larger?

    According to my calculation, the Nomad Zen is over twice the size (volume) of the iPod and 60% heavier.

    Apple iPod (Gen 3)
    103.5mm(H)*61.8mm(W)*15.7mm(D) = ~100k cubic mm and 158 grams

    Nomad Zen
    112.6*75.9*24.5 = ~209k cubic mm at 268g.

    Furthermore, the set of functionalities that the two players offer are different (sync vs FM capability for example) so their value to user is highly different.

    While I like iPod to support other formats (WMA and Vorbis Ogg) but I am satisified with AAC and MP3 for now.

    • Re:Size matters (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bengoerz (581218)
      While you may be right about the volume, I think it's a bit misleading to say "twice the size" when it's only twice the volume. (Though, thank you for pointing out that your calculation was for volume.)

      Consider this:
      1.3*1.3*1.3=2.197
      So a 30% increase in each of the dimensions could more than double the volume of an object.

      As for the increased mass, just consider that it is probably carrying around double the platters of the iPod, and an internal disk drive enclosure to hold them.

      All in all, I'd st
    • Re:Size matters (Score:2, Informative)

      by mrklin (608689)
      P.S. A good writer always cite his sources:

      Apple - Gen 3 iPod stas from Apple Japan [apple.co.jp]

      Nomad - Nomad 20GB version [nomadworld.com]

    • Re:Size matters (Score:3, Informative)

      by Brat Food (9397)
      The pictures Above are of the old ipod.. the new one makes the old one look bulkey. basically take off the white top portion, round all the corners and shrnik it just a bit and that new ipod

      theres also something to be said about the new ipods face being completly sealed... ie. no more dustbunnies (dont know if it comes with covers for the IO ports)

      and, really, the ipod just is a marvel of engeneering, design, and ergonomics compared to anythying else. Also take in to account its VERy easy to do all song
  • Already been done... (Score:3, Informative)

    by gimlix2 (451817) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:32PM (#5895842)
    nomadness.net [nomadness.net] has had postings in its forums about hacking and upgrading the Jukebox Zen back in December 2002 / January 2003.

    More recently, a guy has created a complete guide [blurbdesigns.com] to upgrading your Creative Labs Jukebox Zen to 30/40/60GB.

    Enjoy!
  • If you have a Mac and you want to try Apple's new (legal) music [apple.com] service, the complementarity between your Mac, the iPod and easy-to-get, legal music would be enticing.
  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JanusFury (452699) <kevin DOT gadd AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:32PM (#5895844) Homepage Journal
    I don't know. That's a great price, but it's a Creative product so I have a feeling it's not as good as it sounds.

    See, I've used Creative audio products since the days of the original SoundBlaster... and Creative really doesn't do as good of a job as they used to. These days they have horrible drivers, false advertising, and practically nonexistent tech support. They release a new driver update around every six MONTHS, even when there are dozens of outstanding bugs to fix; and cards like the Audigy barely did half of the things they advertised on the box and on websites.

    So anyway, this thing sounds cool... but if I were you, I wouldn't buy one without finding out a LOT about it and making sure I'm really getting my money's worth. You really can't trust Creative anymore.
    • by Doktor Memory (237313) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:51PM (#5896031) Journal
      Creative has to be right up there with Microsoft in terms of their consistant and blatant contempt for their own customers.

      It's been over two years since Creative bought out Aureal, and they still have neither released a card that supports Aureal's A3D 2.0 standard (still lightyears ahead of any version of EAX), nor open-sourced the drivers for the old Aureal cards.

      I can't think of a single hardware company I'd be less likely to give my money to. (What, me bitter about my old Diamond MX300? Why yes.)
      • by ivan256 (17499) * on Wednesday May 07, 2003 @12:56AM (#5898645)
        I was reminded recently as I waited in line for two hours to download drivers from their website for the third time (Unexplicable disconnection from their site during the first two tries) never to purchase another Creative product again. Nobody else makes you wait until there's only 5-10 other people downloading... Can't they spring for some decent hosting? Perhaps they should try to reduce the size (30MB!?) of their driver files if they cant afford the bandwidth. Six hours is a long time to wait for a single driver when you've got a 1.5Mbit connection.

        If only they'd just stop buying companies that make cool stuff and turing it to shit...
  • by ashitaka (27544) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:33PM (#5895853) Homepage
    About how they will triple the price of this box.

    They have revised the rate structure though:

    Before they proposed $21.00/GB which would have added $1,260 to the cost of this box.

    Now the rate strucure looks like:

    1 GB or less 11.1 cents/MB
    $11.50 on 1st GB
    $7.98/gb on Gbs 2 to 5
    $5.98/gb on Gbs 6 to 10
    $3.99/gb on Gbs 11 to 20
    $1.99/gb on Gbs 21 or greater

    I'll leave the calculation on a 60GB drive as an exercise for the reader.
  • Creative? No Way. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by foo fighter (151863) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:33PM (#5895854) Homepage
    It's been years since I've been happy with a Creative Labs product. You have to go way back to their pre-Live! soundcards.

    Since the Live!, Everything of their's I've purchased and/or used has been flakey: 3/4 of the way done, but never quite all the way.

    I'm a person who doesn't like to settle for "good enough", and Creative's stuff is consistently a notch below "good enough" for me.

    At this point I can't imagine anything coming close to the iPod in terms of usability, features, or aesthetics. Certainly not anything from Creative.
  • While the Nomad Zen is certainly a nice MP3 player with an excellent set of features, I think it is an exaggeration to say that it is only "slightly larger" than the 30GB iPod. Look at the specs for the 30GB iPod [apple.com] and the Nomad Zen [nomadworld.com]. The Nomad Zen weighs 50% more than the 30GB iPod (268g vs. 176g). The volume of the Nomad Zen is more than 75% larger then the 30GB iPod (209 cm^3 vs. 118 cm^3).

    Is the difference all that important? Maybe not, but of the two the Apple iPod is certainly the sleeker, and that
  • Big enough? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WatertonMan (550706) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:40PM (#5895930)
    At what point are the hard drives big enough? I know a lot of this has to do with software. With iTunes I can select playlists that I'd want to listen to so easily that 10 gig is more than enough. I have 20 gig of tunes, but rarely want all of it.

    I know someone will say they have 30 gig of tunes and want all of it all the time. This to me is simple geek nonsense. You can't listen to that much in a reasonable fashion. Further needing it all probably says more about poor software and hardware than anything else. (IMO)

    I use my iPod in my car and at the gym and at work. (To drown out my co-worker's Rush Limbaugh at times) I honestly can't imagine *why* you need more than perhaps 20 gig. I honestly can't.

    If you are using it as a portable hard drive then, OK. I can understand. But the reason I like the iPod is that while it functions as a small hard drive for a few files, it is primarily a *player*.

    • Re:Big enough? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Dr.Zap (141528) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @07:54PM (#5896781)
      Since I am waiting for flac and shn decoders to be built in to these units I'll put in my $.02 on the storage capacity issue. I do not listen to many mp3 wma or other lossy formats. I have about 1T of music. Yes, 1 terrabyte. 60G is a good start to being able to handle my requirements.

      This is nothing new. How many times have we heard " is enough for anyone". Time almost always proves such staters incorrect. I replace my first HDD within 2 weeks because 20Mb wasn't enough. The 30Mb I got to replace it filled quickly and needed I more but couldn't afford it. This cycle has been repeated for for aboput 17 years now.

      Caveat Emptor
  • by webslacker (15723) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:41PM (#5895940)
    The iPod has a more ergonomic and intuitive interface.

    The iPod has better construction.

    The iPod will work with the iTunes Music Store when it comes out for Windows later this year. The Zen won't. What does it work with, WMA's? Yes, for those wonderful WMA music stores that are all the rage nowadays.

    The iPod is kicking its ass in the marketplace, and for good reason.
  • by sterno (16320) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:42PM (#5895946) Homepage
    What the ideal MP3 player is:

    -The size of today's ipod or smaller
    -Storage capacity of 5GB+
    -FM Radio (I like to get NPR without carrying around a seperate device)
    -Good sound quality
    -Formats: MP3, WMA, AAC, and OGG
    -Price: $250

    I think this is easily achievable with today's technology. My money awaits the first company to make one.

    Zen almost gets it but too big. IPod almost gets it but no FM tuner.
    • That's bullshit. The iPod doesn't have an FM tuner for the same reason it doesn't have a goddamn calender in it... oh wait.
    • I am seriously considering this [neurosaudio.com] one, because of its amazing features though its bigger than the iPod. It has some really cool features like FM radio, recording from radio or any audio source, FM transmitter, recording voice notes, bidirectional "plug'n'sychronize" (to synch your device playlists with your PC and vise versa). The site also says you can record an excerpt of a song (on the radio say..) and identify it later using their PC software. Another really cool thing is the detachable drive, in case you
  • Nomad Zen:
    Size: 75.9 x 112.6 x 24.5 mm
    Weight: 268g

    ipod:
    Size: 104.1 x 60.9 x 15.75 mm (18.5 mm for the 30 gb model)
    Weight: 158g (176g for the 30gb model)

    So the Zen at ~209.4 cc's is more than twice the size and almost 70% heavier than the 10 and 15 gig ipods (99 cc's), and still nearly twice as big and over 50% heavier than the 30 gig ipod.

    That's more than a little bigger - it's the difference from dragging down your cargo pants and slipping into a shirt pocket. The new ipods are *TINY*. There is NO compa
  • Based on the listed specs from the manufactures, the new 30gig iPod is ~121k mm^3, while the Nomad is ~201k mm^3. Almost twice as large.

    The Nomad is also 50% heavier.

    And the kicker, the Nomad numbers are for the 20GB model, compared to the 30GB iPod. I couldn't find numbers for the 60GB version. I have no idea how the size and weight of the 60GB model compare to the 20GB model. Personally, I would bet larger over smaller.

    For those that haven't held it, the old iPod was almost identical in size to a d
  • by Bronz (429622) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:44PM (#5895971)
    In December we purchased an original Nomad Jukebox (10GB for $100 after Mail-in-Rebate). Exactly 96 days after purchase, the unit failed to boot. Creative's warranty, of course, was an impressive 90 days. Thinking back to the knee-jerk reaction of declining the Best Buy extended warranty, I felt like quoting some Khan from Star Trek II.

    Anywho, I take care of my devices. The Jukebox still has the plastic covering the LCD. Ghetto, ya dig?

    I engaged in an epic duel with Creative's tech support via e-mail. Sending extremely detailed reports to them, and met in return with extremely canned responses. Most often, the responses asked questions that I had already answered in the previous mail. Obviously, this wasn't going anywhere.

    To make matters worse, it had been over the '6 to 8 week' waiting period and I still had no rebate check. Customer Service said 'sorry' and acknowledged the irony that the unit was out of warranty and broken before Creative could even be bothered to mail my rebate. And by that I mean they didn't acknowledge the irony. At all. They just didn't care.

    Instead of pursuing the matter further with Creative's customer service, I used the 'protection' feature of my credit card to reimburse me for the unit, and swore off Creative for future products.

    I don't doubt the Nomads have gotten better through the revisions. However, I try to judge a company equally between the good products they make and how they handle thier failures.

    Buyer beware.
  • by AaronBaker2000 (480581) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:47PM (#5895994) Homepage
    These stats compare the 20 GB Zen with the 30 GB iPod. Compiled from here [nomadworld.com] and here [apple.com].

    Size
    iPod: 4.1 x 2.4 x 0.73 inches
    Zen: 3 x 4.4 x 1 inches

    Weight
    iPod: 6.2 ounces
    Zen: 9.5 ounces

    It should also be noted that the Zen can get FM radio stations with an optional remote control and can use USB 2 or Firewire. The iPod has a bigger screen, but it can only use Firewire. In addition to mp3 format, the Zen supports WMA and WAV. The iPod supports mp3 and AAC audio.

    • by 90XDoubleSide (522791) <ninetyxdoubleside@@@hailmail...net> on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @07:08PM (#5896233)
      It should also be noted that the Zen can get FM radio stations with an optional remote control and can use USB 2 or Firewire. The iPod has a bigger screen, but it can only use Firewire. In addition to mp3 format, the Zen supports WMA and WAV. The iPod supports mp3 and AAC audio.

      No, the new iPods support USB2 and FireWire. In fact, the current Nomad Zen only supports USB2 or FireWire (the FireWire model only supports USB1.1; hopefully this will change with the new version). And the iPod also supports WAV (and AIFF and Audible).

  • Archos AV320 (Score:4, Informative)

    by meehawl (73285) <meehawl.spam@ g m a i l . c om> on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @06:58PM (#5896093) Homepage Journal
    Audio-only players are so 90s. Personally, I'm saving my money for the Archos AV320, or something like it. Big screen, MP3 *&* MPEG video playback and record. The lack of wireless, though, is a sore point.

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.04/play.html ?pg=12 [wired.com]

    http://shanebrinkmandavis.com/homepage/JBMM/Prerel easePicts/ [shanebrinkmandavis.com]
  • by GarthSweet (514087) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @07:06PM (#5896200)
    Sure you can throw away your money on either of these 2 gadgets. Or you can check out the Archo's jukebox multimedia 20.

    - 20gb (40gb coming)
    - 8 hr battery life
    - DivX video playback to Tv or screen
    - built in 1.5in lcd screen (in color natch)
    - Awesome sound controls
    - USB 2.0 and Firewire (natch)
    - Optional SmartMedia and Compact Flash readers
    - Optional 1.2 mega pixel still and video camera
    - MP3 recording via built-in mic or external
    - Video recording module
    - Remote Control
    - ALL of these items (including optionals) come in cheaper then an iPod!!

    P.S. I used mine daily for the last 6 months and it's incredible! Someone once asked me if it was solidly built. I threw it over my shoulder to demonstrate bounced it off my floor picked it up and it hadn't missed a beat!

    Now the cons to be fair:
    - The battery isn't easily changed
    - The playlist support does NOT match the iPods
    - The camera attachment needs a flash
    - Video recording module has mixed reviews

    Oh and it does NOT play Ogg/Vorbis. But would you people please get over it! Nothing portable plays my .RAM, .AU, or .MIDI files either let alone my 8-tracks, but do I rank about it at the top of my lungs trying to drown out everyone else enjoying their paltry MP3's.... Nooooo.
  • by scout.finch (120341) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @07:06PM (#5896209) Homepage
    I've seen a few posts asking Why God Why would you possibly want/need that much disk space. Surely 5GB is more than enough you Gluttonous Babboon.

    Here's why: Imagine you have 40 GB of tunes (not that many once you rip them at good quality, and you finish doing all your cd's). Now imagine you have a 20 GB player. It's all well and fun to carry half your tunes around, but you find yourself saying 'what about CD X'? No problem, just put it on the player. But first you need to remove another CD. And once you have thousands of tracks, and start getting sick of some CD's and want to rotate in others, you realize it's a Massive Pain In The Ass. After a few gigs, the ideal is to just have all your music and skip the rigamarole. The alternative is to just never get around to listening to half your music which is the problem I was trying to avoid in buying an iPod in the first place (swapping CD's from my storage binders to my little travel binder).
  • by Cryptnotic (154382) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @07:47PM (#5896692) Homepage
    The file transfer protocol is proprietary and has only been partially reverse engineered. See libnjb.sourceforge.net for details. The Linux tools for getting songs onto the device currently suck goat nuts.

    The iPod on the other hand, appears as a mass storage device (generic SCSI hard drive on top of Firewire). You can easily "mount" the iPod and use "cp" to copy files to it. This is very different from the Zen, which appears as a random USB device and requires special programs and scripts to put data onto it.

    I bought a Nomad Zen 20GB USB 2.0 for $212 and I think it was a waste of money. I'll probably give it to someone who uses Windows and buy an iPod.

  • creeping featurism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @08:05PM (#5896908) Homepage
    These new MP3 players (yes, that includes iPod) have too many features. I don't care about integration with iTunes or whatever the vendor's equivalent on PC is.

    On my computer, I organize my MP3s using the file system. E.g., if I want to listen to "Dark Side of the Moon", it's in "music/rock/Pink Floyd/Dark Side of the Moon". I've got xmms open, and I keep the "add dir" window opened, which has a nice tree view, so to play an album, I simply double click on it in that window, and hit play over in the main window.

    So, for an MP3 player, I just want something that I can copy my music directory to, and then access via a simple interface.

    This is what I like about my Archos 15 gig, which was $180. It simply works the way I do...it doesn't ask me to buy into some grand unified vision of music management like the others seem to.

  • by Mr. White (22990) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @08:55PM (#5897326) Homepage Journal

    I have a 20gig Archos Jukebox. It's a souped up mp3 player. In additition to storing and playing mp3s, the thing has a little LCD screen, and it plays MOVIES! Or it can output the signal to a TV.

    Additionally, it has compact flash and SD adaptors, so you can download the pictures from your camera to the device. This is handy when travelling: you can empty your CF cards and browse photos on the Archos whenever you feel like.

    Additional size is always a plus, but stats rarely tell the whole story.

    Witold
    www.witold.org
  • by Raven001 (654558) on Tuesday May 06, 2003 @11:32PM (#5898276)
    After an obsessive amount of research on both the iPod and the Zen, I bought a Zen.

    After using the Zen extensively, I returned it for an iPod.

    Initially, I was attracted to the Zen for these reasons:

    - Price Value .. I got the Zen for $300, which was $200-less than a comparable iPod.

    - "Playlist on the Fly" Options .. I like to be able to listen to WHAT I want, WHEN I want, without having to futz with the iPod after each song (pre-programmed playlists have never worked well for me.. I have spontaneous music-needs

    - Expandability .. From what I've read, it's quite easy to upgrade your Zen to 40 (or even 60!) gigabytes. This always appealed to me, in case I find my music collection suddenly growing by a factor of 4

    - FM Radio / Radio Recording / Voice Recording (with add-on remote) .. These features weren't deal-breakers for me, but I figured they'd be nice to have (especially the voice recording).

    - Looks.
    Everyone here who has been ragging on the Zen's looks has a) never seen one in real life or b) has no tastes .. because the Zen looks AMAZING (it easily rivals the iPod in this regard). The metal-outside feels so much sturdier as well, and unlike the iPod, doesn't scratch at ALL.

    I ended up returning it for these reasons:

    - The user-interface was AWFUL (IMHO). To get to a particular artist would take me at least twice as long as it takes me on my iPod. Little quirks - like having to scroll to "OPEN" before you could browse an artist or album got annoying pretty quick.

    - The screen is small.. it's still very usable, but not nearly as easy-to-see as the iPod's.

    - The scroll-wheel was a bear to use, and scrolling through long lists was not fun (this was after a firmware-upgrade, which improved this problem somewhat).

    - The buttons were not overly-easy to press, which made using the Zen a challenge when using one hand. This wasn't a huge problem, but after seeing how easy the iPod is to use, I realized how the Zen is lacking in this area.

    - There are NO accessories for the Zen (unlike the iPod, which has cases, stands, docking stations, etc, etc.) - This alone, however, was hardly a deal breaker, but being stuck with Creative's case wasn't fun (it's bulky and ugly).

    ---

    Oh, one other significant difference between the two is the support you will be getting if you ever have a problem with your player. From everything I've read, Creative's 90 day-support is anywhere from "decent" to "awful", and Apple's 1 year support is nothing short of amazing (this is simply based on stories I've heard, not any statistics). Still, I was uncomfortable owning the Zen knowing that Creative only supported it for 90 days.. that's unacceptable for a consumer product of that price.

    People like to compare the software that goes along with each of the players, but that's pretty trivial IMO. For the Zen, get Notmad Explorer (It'll save you a LOT of headaches), and for the iPod, get ephPod (It'll save you a LOT of headaches). Both of those programs are amazing, and make transferring to your portable-player a cinch.

    I'm now a happy owner of an Apple iPod (a 20-gigger). Using some coupon codes I found for Dell, it only cost me about $420 - which is only $70 more than the $350 Zen (they discontinued the Zen's rebate, correct?). If FM-Radio, voice recording, WMA support, or expandability are essential to you, by all means, go with the Zen. Otherwise, I'd recommend the iPod to anybody.

    Of course, before you buy EITHER player, you should go down to your local CompUSA and hold both of them in your hands. This is important, do not skip this step!

    If anyone has any questions about either player, just ask...

    Raven001

The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct. -- Ralph Hartley

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