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IPOD Pros (over iriver):
Sexier (this is the most listed reason)
Better MAC support
IRIVER Pros (over ipod):
WMA and OGG support
FM tuner and voice recording built-in
Ships with fully functional remote with LCD
Easier to transfer files back and forth through Windows Explorer
Better Windows support
Longer battery life
Cheaper in the end since you need to make additional purchases with the ipod
Please help me with some additional pros and cons of each. iRiver iHP-120 certainly has more features than the iPod. I was turned on by the fact that it had an fm tuner, wma support, and it's easier to use to transport files back and forth between computers. The wma support I am no longer thrilled about since you have to navigate to them in the file system to play them, they aren't automatically stored in the music database. I could always use a memory stick to transfer files around. I would definitely miss the fm tuner. I need the windows support and there are some comments about bad windows support with the ipods. I am hoping that these issues are fixed with the 4th generation ipods. Does anyone know? Which one sounds better? I've heard people say that each one sounds better, so it's hard to tell who is right. Are there any technical comparisons that can put this issue to rest? I've heard that there can be a hiss associated with iRiver's products. That's definitely a big con, if true.
Have any of you compared the two before and made a choice? What helped you make the decision?
If you do go the iPod I really recommended getting the firewire, especially if you don't have USB 2.0. It makes it much quicker to transfer any files and also charges the iPod at the same time.
The reason I bought an iPod was that I wanted a portable music device for listening on the plane. I did end up buying an external battery, a couple of different cases (depending on when I was going to be using it) and am currently waiting for a bluetooth remote control to come out. For me, the iPod does the job very well.
Oh, alright then, with Tetris.
The one unbeatable attribute the iPod has is its super-easy user interface. I would buy another iPod again in a heartbeat.
I also won't touch WMA/AAC/OGG with a 10' pole, because the support isn't universal. *Everybody* supports MP3.
I can't tell you which is better. I have an iPod and I like the iTunes store. The quality and ease of use impress me and I like being able to also buy mp3's from other sources. I would buy another iPod without hesitation.
That's all I can tell you.
The IRiver is bare bones in the user interface and is quite frankly difficult to use for anybody who is not pre-XP computer literate. It makes up for it by having audiophile capabilties in the Input and Output areas but requires storing of files in WAV format to take advantage of this. I was quite happy to go along with that as it still allowed around 1100 tracks in 40GB and that was enough for me. This could however be doubled if a lossless compressed format was supported such as FLAC - but it isn't. For those who don't want to go to my extremes the higher quality audio formats are still well supported on the IRiver with availability of OGG. From the little bit of usage available to me, I really like it and it does everything expected.
IPOD is High Quailty consumer electronics. The User Interface is superb and about as instinctive as it gets. If you are after a mobile player which will mainly be listened to via earphones or in the car, it's perfect. The Windows interoperability was previously inferior to Macintosh but now it's much of a muchness. For the user who wants to have thousands of MP3 tracks available at a bitrate that still sounds good on the car stereo it's a great way to go. A lossless compression format is also now available which effectively allows it to store almost double the quantity of full CD quality tracks as the IRiver and they sound great on a good quality home stereo. If you are into High End Audio however the mini stereo jack output doesn't cut it and the IRiver fibre optic Digital outs are way better.
This of course still leaves unanswered the question of why my daughter prefers the IRiver and I have no idea of the reason. Maybe she just wants to be different. For her usage both players have identical capabilities but the IPOD is much easier to use. She does use the IRiver for recording lectures but the IPOD can do that too if a microphone is purchased. For computer file storage, photo files and the like they are both essentially equal.
[edited by: Macguru at 2:24 pm (utc) on Aug. 20, 2004]
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I'm also backing up a lot of data on it and it is a breeze through Explorer.
The only thing I don't like are the earbuds; they hurt my ears and fall out a lot. I'll have to invest in a set of headphones. But overall, I'm very pleased and it is way better than my old Creative Labs Jukebox.
playing OGG files requires more cpu than playing mp3. It's a better format and grows in popularity.
irivers hardware is all flash upgradable. When I had their flash based unit, I was able to upgrade the software to one that had more features and bug fixes.
batt time should be one of your big concerns. irivers is longer, and unless you've had a remote with LDC screen before, you really don't know what you're missing out on. It's really that great.
with 40+ gigs of disk space, firewire would be nice, but not required. You're not going to be replacing 40 gigs of data every day.
Unfortunately I don't have the iriver HD player, so I'm basing my comments on what I know of the unit, and what I know about iriver.
Nothing against the ipod - it's great too, but bang for the buck, iriver isn't a cheap knock off. They make quality hardware and software with excellent sound.