Got the Xclef HD-500 (80gb), better than iHP?
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austonia

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Yeah, it's big in every way. about 5 x 3 x 1 inches. and 80gb!

This is just a quick rundown, I'll get around to reviewing it in a couple of weeks (finsihing up some others right now), though I don't know how many people are really in the market for this thing.

It's huge, but still, pretty likeable. The main thing that sets it apart from the crowd, other than the 80gb drive, is the File/Folder navigation system. Much like the iRiver iHP, and Archos models. Everybody else is using an iD3-tag organization system which is what I usually prefer.

IMO, the HD-500 File/Folder view is better than iRiver's. The Xclef makes better use of screen real estate so you can see more of the files and folders you are trying to navigate through. The font is easy to read. The HD-500 fits about 17 characters per line vs. 14 on the iHP.

The controls are better than iRiver's as well, making it easier to navigate. It has a scroll-switch on the right side, which is similiar to the one on the Zen Xtra, but bigger. You just push it in one direction and hold it there to keep the cursor moving up or down, and click it to select. I really don't like the iHP's joystick-controller because its hard for my thumb to grip, you have to kind of attack it from the sides. Navigating with the HD-500 is more efficient in comparison. The HD-500 has two scrolling speeds, so if you hold down the scroll-switch for 2 seconds or so, it speeds up to help get through long lists faster. Scrolling through lists on the iHP is at one speed only.

The screen on this thing is huge. As big as they come. Not the most high-resolution, but it gets the job done nicely.

The HD-500 has about the same controls, including Menu/Back, Volume Up, Volume Down, Record, FF/Next, RW/previous, On/Play/Pause, Off/Stop, and the Lock switch. That the iHP is noticeably missing dedicated volume controls, so you can't adjust the volume while browsing.

The HD-500 does not have line-out, but some people would argue the iHP doesn't either


The Xclef does support an in-line remote but its not included. I have seen one you can get from advancedmp3players.co.uk that has has basic functionality but no LCD. I don't use remotes that often so its not an issue for me.

Formatted capacity is 76gB, about twice the iHP-140. And it costs $50 less ($380 vs. iHP's $430). Of course, it's about twice as big.

Both have line-in recording (analog or optical) but the Xclef only records to MP3, not WAV. The iHP can record uncompresed WAVs but apparently it loses milliseconds of the recording every so often while it saves data to the hard drive. Both players have a built-in mic for voice recording.

The HD-500 features alphanumeric searching where you can enter the first 3 letter and it will take you to the best matching file or directory on the hard drive. The iHP has no search capability unless you use it's iD3 tag database but that has its own problem - it doesn't register any filename longer than 52 chatcters for some reason (a known issue).

Both can read text files but you can see more text on the HD-500's screen so it feels easier to read from. Both have a custom EQ but the iHP has only Bass and Treble sliders while the HD-500 has a 5-band EQ. Neither have gapless playback or crossfading, but the Xclef has a Fade in/Fade out feature with variable duration.

Both are USB2.0 and mass storage device complient. No software or drivers needed. File transfers are fast.

I haven't had a chance to test it yet, but the HD-500 may have even better battery life. Box claims 20 hours. I get around 15 on the iHP. But I can't judge on this one until I see it for myself. The HD-500's battery is rated at 2000mAh which is pretty impressive. Both players have built-in batteries, but they can be replaced. Batteries for the Xclef are available from advancedmp3players.co.uk for 30 pounds ($50?) and batteries for the iHP are available from laptopsforless.com for about $50 as well.

The Xclef only plays MP3 and WMA. Not even WAV, oddly enough. I don't care personally but some do. iHP supports WAV and OGG.

The HD-500's Now Playing screen has a cool feature where along the bottom it shows the last file played and the next file to be played. Alternatively, it can display Artist and Album tag data like the iHP does.

The iHP's case is definately more luxurious, like one that would cost $30 or more for an iPod. The HD-500's is a thin vinyl-like thing thats very cheap looking. Both cases have clear viewing area for the screen and cutouts so you can access the controls.

Appearance-wise.. the HD-500 is kind of retro-looking, not especially attractive. You won't get the same effect as an iPod, but then again, probably no one's going to steal it either. The iHP looks pretty good to me, I like the all-black design with chrome accents. The HD-500 is more plasticky while the iHP's shell is made from magnesium as I understand it.

The HD-500 came allready loaded with the latest firmware available on Xclef's website. I had to update the iHP to the latest firmware myself.

Overall, the HD-500 is a decent alternative to the iHP considering its price advantage, if you can handle the size and styling. It's one of the few models available at 80gb. You can also get an 80gb Nomad Zen Xtra off of eBay or make your own.

EDIT: cleaned up the text, fixed some errors.
 
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austonia

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nevermind... it's allready loaded with the newest firmware.

one other weird thing I noticed, when I plug it into my computer, it shows up as TWO disk drives, F: and G: drive, the first with like 45gb and the second with like 25gb... What? I'll have to try it out on another PC and see whats up.
 
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JiPi

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Maybe that's just the way the HDD is partitioned!


OR maybe 1.8" (or whatever size of HDD that player takes) can't be partitioned to a full 80GB (just like the first generation 160GB normal HDD were.. couldn't see the full 160, only ~130)...
 
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thanks for the review. i was interested in this little player for a while.

jipi: actaully this player only use 2.5" labtop harddrive, not 1.8". thats why its bigger than the 1.8"hd players. you should be able to open it up and install new harddrive. i heard the li-ion battery also.
 
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JiPi

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Quote:

Originally Posted by terrymx
jipi: actaully this player only use 2.5" labtop harddrive, not 1.8". thats why its bigger than the 1.8"hd players. you should be able to open it up and install new harddrive. i heard the li-ion battery also.


^^

Quote:

Originally Posted by JiPi
... OR maybe 1.8" (or whatever size of HDD that player takes) ...


 
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austonia

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ugh. I wrote that late last night and it looked like stream-of-consciousness nonsense. I cleaned up some errors I made and deleted some irrelavent stuff.
 
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Skeeve

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Is the 80gb drive an official thing in that player or is it simply something that dmc have done i.e. its on a par with making your own from a smaller player?

Incidentally, for anyone interested, xclef do actually sell a nicer-sized hd player now, the hd-800 although obviously you are losing on the hd space and paying a bit more.
 
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fappar

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Quote:

Originally Posted by JiPi
Maybe that's just the way the HDD is partitioned!


OR maybe 1.8" (or whatever size of HDD that player takes) can't be partitioned to a full 80GB (just like the first generation 160GB normal HDD were.. couldn't see the full 160, only ~130)...



That was an OS issue, since fixed. No hard drive needs numerous partitions
 
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austonia

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Quote:

Originally Posted by fappar
That was an OS issue, since fixed. No hard drive needs numerous partitions


my player's loaded with the latest firmware, so maybe not.
 
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fappar

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Quote:

Originally Posted by austonia
my player's loaded with the latest firmware, so maybe not.


no, i'm just refering to the 137GB hard drive capacity barrier. It was just this crazy bug, involving a weakness of 28 bit adressing. Therefore, anything over that amount was done with 48 bit addressing, a feature not supported by any operating systems (before the drives were released, anyway.) So the things worked fine partitioned, but until MS released the patch (it was really soon after hte first such drive was released) it was not possible to hvae a full 160GB partition.
 
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