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creative, ipod or zune - please recommend

I currently have a Creative Zen Nano Plus 1GB MP3 Player. I love creative, but this doesn't hold nearly enough music & I totally dislike the tiny screen & not being able to see what's on there. So I'm looking for at least an 8gb mp3 player now.

I looked at the ipod nano. But my husband has a creative mp3 player that uses windows media player. His concern is that itunes will convert all the music & he won't be able to use it on his creative. Is this the case?

As far as creative, can anyone recommend what might be good? I'm not really up to date on what's out there right now. Just would like at least 8gb, a screen that I can see & use, good sound, and ability to use windows media player.

Is it true that with zune you can't use media player?

Thanks in advance for the help.

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My take...

If your husband is strictly using .mp3 audio files, there should be no problem with having an iPod or iTunes on the same computer. That said, each client software app has its own way of handling data, and even the manner in which the files are stored on a computer. iTunes won't convert the .mp3 files, but it can shuffle them around if one is not careful. But it's generally easy to have Windows Media Player reread the library so that it works with either application if iTunes does decide to run amok and rearrange things.

If your husband uses .wma audio files, iTunes is unable to use those straight away, but instead can offer to make versions in AAC (.m4a) or .mp3 format, which then would be compatible for an iPod. It means that there would be multiple copies of the song in the library, only in different formats. The original .wma files will still exist. It potentially makes for a library management headache, but all of the music would still be there.

If you want a Windows Media Player-compatible player, there are a number of options available to you. Sony makes a couple of WMP-friendly devices that compete directly against the iPod nano. Both the E-series and S-series devices offer 8GB and 16GB flavors, have large screens and can play video...if need be. Sandisk makes the Sansa Fuze, available in 8GB form for usually around $80. The Fuze also allows you to add additional storage via a SDHC card slot (up to 16GB, for a total of 24GB of storage). The Sony Walkmans will sound slightly better that the Sansa, but I have both the Fuze and a 16GB S-series and you really can't go wrong with either. I'm not a fan of Creative these days, so I can't help you with information on their devices.

The Zune HD uses proprietary software; Microsoft's own WMP will not work with managing the HD. That said, the Zune software (that's what it's called) does play nice with existing media libraries and can easily co-exist with other software. It will play .wma, .mp3 and .m4a files without any hassle, other than you must use the Zune software to manage the device. A 32GB Zune HD is my current player of choice; it's simply put a great device. For almost the same money these days, you can buy a 16GB Zune HD over a 16GB nano; despite nano's video camera, the Zune HD IMO has the nano beat in so many other ways.

Good luck with your quest.

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creative ipod or zune

Thank you so much for your response. I had almost decided against the zune based on the software it uses. I thought I'd run into the same problem as the ipod - having a program convert the windows media player files. To be honest I'm not sure what type of fily my husband's creative uses. I'll have to check on that.

But from what you say here, the zune would still be an option (& wouldn't convert the windows media files; would just have to use zune software) and the sony can utilize windows media player?

I'm not super smart on all these things, so again, thank you for your help.

Melissa

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Regarding your questions...

I have to correct myself...the Zune software is generally benign with media content, EXCEPT when dealing with iTunes data. Media (song files) ripped/created in recent versions of iTunes can have its album art corrupted by the Zune software, among other bits of minor song data (like the total number of songs from a CD, for instance). It's as much Apple's fault than it is Microsoft's, since it's a commonly held belief that iTunes does a poor job of embedding metadata (all that song info that shows up on the screen) into the individual song files.

I suppose it's that Microsoft vs Apple thing...I guess. But with Windows Media Player, the Zune software doesn't modify anything that messes up how WMP reads the song files; it's part of the same Microsoft family, after all, and data integrity is more or less maintained between the two programs. At least I've never encountered a problem with shared data between WMP and the Zune software.

As for Sony: WMP will easily manage a Sony player; Sony has even gone as far as to include a copy of WMP on CD with a Walkman purchase. The Sony devices are so open that even File Explorer in Windows can be used to manage a Walkman. Their latest Walkman players work nicely with Windows Media audio files, MP3, and Apple's unprotected AAC (.m4a) files, much like the Zune HD. The only real drawback with them is that Sony's quest to lower their prices have resulted in the use of a lot of plastic and removal of functions that were standard from past generations. But the sound quality of Sony devices can't be denied; arguably they sound better than the Zune HD and easily spank anything currently made by Apple, ESPECIALLY the current nano; our (no-so) little one has one of those, and while it's neat it does NOT have the best sound by quite some margin.

As for Creative: I was a longtime Nomad fan back in its heyday. And I've recently owned the Zen and Zen X-Fi. The Zen was a really sweet player (well, at least my first one was...the second one that replaced the first was rather buggy and sluggish in comparison), except for the fact that its electronics were less-than-durable. I fried TWO 32GB units, simply by charging the battery via the designated and approved Creative-branded AC adapter. The Zen X-Fi had a myriad of functional issues in its user interface and operation that Creative never did rectify with its firmware updates. Now it sits in my dead-and-buried drawer of various devices from Apple, Microsoft, Creative, Sony, etc. simply because I got sick of using the thing. Both Zen and Zen X-Fi were excellent-sounding devices, but the nagging problems just outweighed the sonic benefits.

In all a very frustrating experience from a couple of years ago when they were considered the flagships of the Creative line during their reigns; these three disasters and their associated price tags and the value lost convinced me to stay clear from Creative until they can prove to consumers who review their players that they've finally turned the corner on such issues. I occasionally cast an eye on their top-line models (Amazon product reviews are actually a good place to look, primarily for those products that have LOTS of review postings); in recent times it looks like Creative still has some considerable work to do before they can be considered a top-tier gameplayer again, IF they even care for that anymore.

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sony or zune

Thanks so much for your advise. I've decided to either get the 16gb sony s series, or the zune. I'm definately leaning towards the sony purely because it sounds so easy to use with wmp.

Thanks again!

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creative

One last question... why aren't you a fan of creative? Just wondering if there's something I don't know.

Thanks again!
Melissa

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