I have spent the past few days reading. I'd like to think I appreciate quality audio but after all the reading, I think I am just an audio enthusiast that appreciates good sound.
I currently have a little Sandisk Sansa MP3 player. It has been pretty reliable. I don't know if I ever had a problem with it until lately. It seems that the phone-jack is going out. I have to keep the earphone jack in just the right spot or I don't get quality throughput. My current earbud is the Bose IE2 (I have really liked these. They don't fall out when I am on the road or exercising at the gym)
My little Sansa has taken a LOT of abuse.
First, I am a road bike cyclist so it goes with me on my long rides and it gets beat around. Next, I am a spin instructor at a gym and it is getting plugged into the big sound system. What I like about this unit is that it is small, light, robust, and it can hold all my playlists (used mostly for spin classes).
With the jack going out, I am looking for a new MP3 player but have added a new "want". As mentioned, I do some bike training. I would like to be able to load some of my training videos onto the device so I can go someplace other than my garage to do my training. If the videos are on the device, I can go to my local gym or to a training area away from a wifi area.
I have read a lot about the COWON, Nationite, and Sony. These seem to the the 3 brands I have interest in. The Nationite seems like a really nice unit but from what I can tell, it does not support playlists. The COWON is said to have great audio and good video support too.
The danger of reading the forums for too long is it is harder to decide what to get because I get more confused the more I read.
Bottom line is I need a new unit. As such, I have a few requirements.
1. Prefer the price under 200. max is 300
2. Must have playlist capability (or some alternative I can play custom music list for gym classes)
3. Prefer to have video capability to play training videos
4. Decent battery life
5. Excellent sound quality
If not to make it any more difficult, there are less expensive units like the Creative that now offers GPS (Creative Zen 2). It has stuff I dont need, like a camera but it got me thinking. I don't own a smart phone. But, there are times when I am out riding, it would be great to stop and take a photo. It would be great to use software that can track my riding route that can later be loaded online for analysis. It would be nice after a day in the saddle to post a message from Tokyo Joe's (using their free wifi) about the ride, or send the photo to my riding buddies. While this is not audio related, it is all stuff I would "like" to be able to do but does it come at the cost of poor sound quality? If I owned a smart phone, this would all but a non-issue. I am old school....simple phone.
Question is....if you were in my shoes, what kind of units would you be looking at to meet the 5 items listed above and why.
Thanks for any feedback. BTW, I really like this forum!