It's been a while since an MP3 (or rather, ATRAC) player impressed us this much. Sony has nailed the small-form player and delivered everything you could hope for. Aside from the typically pointless SonicStage software, this is a master stroke
The slimmed-down features list bothered us at first, but what Archos has done is given you the choice -- if you don't want to record TV shows, you don't need to buy the dock and can save yourself £70 off the price of an AV 500. Improved design and similarly strong performance makes the 604 a more than worthy successor
For a budget portable media device, the likable Kingston K-PEX definitely rocks.
The Blue is a competant, compact player that should see you through any long-haul flight or dull commute. Though the display lacks the sharpness and clarity of some other PVRs we've tested, contrast on the Blue is good, and the unit is sturdy
Aside from a few minor flaws, the AV 700 TV is an excellent product. It's certainly the best mobile digital TV we've seen, and the fact that it also features video, music and photo playback is a huge bonus
If you don't want to be held to the standards of another gadget, you probably shouldn't dress like it. The IPocket's iPod nano-like chassis begs for comparison to Apple's player, and it falls far short. While the IPocket is sonically fairly competent, it lacks the fluid interface and attention to detail of its body double
The YP-U1 won't be up for any awards, but it's a competent player with plenty to offer the casual listener. Though sticklers for sound quality will be underwhelmed by the output, if you're looking for a data USB key with a little extra kick, the business-like U1 should make the commute more bearable
We've heard better MP3 players and we've used better control systems, but we've never seen anything this small with passable built-in speakers. The MP-500 never really curls its biceps at the iPod nano, but then the nano is worthless without headphones. If you want to go public with your taste in music, this is your best bet. Just don't get on our bus
A superhuman MP3 player with a very mortal sound, the mobiBLU DAH-1900 may have stamina, but it's got no style. mobiBLU has released some decent MP3 players in the past, but this one is a disaster. It may play for 153 hours without a charge, but the DAH-1900 sounds so lacklustre you'll unplug it after just one song
Samsung has broken with convention by allowing the YP-Z5 to mount on any computer as a USB drive. It's a revelation. You don't need to install drivers, worry about DRM, stick to a single machine, or use a convoluted proprietary interface to transfer music. The touchpad is fiddly -- no match for the iPod -- and the chassis may look a bit 80s, but many will be happy to pay this price for the freedom the YP-Z5 offers
While the T8's design doesn't make it the slickest player out there right now, it can play video. You're restricted by the capacity of the flash memory inside the player, but it's a small miracle that the T8 postage-stamp screen lets you watch your favourite TV shows on the train to work
The Philips GoGear Jukebox 6GB (HDD1630) will please penny-pinchers and patient power users alike, but if you demand a speedy processor in your MP3 player, look elsewhere.
It's taken a relative newcomer to show the old timers how to do things right. PQI hasn't been in the mainstream long, but its P600 blows away the competiton like a nuclear bomb. Feature-wise, there's nothing more to ask for here. A few tweaks to the user-interface and PQI could just push this product from merely impressive to spectacular
Creative's experience in MP3 player design has finally paid off. This is an exceptionally capable player, impressive both for its good quality audio output and its video playback features. The Vision:M leapfrogs the iPod's current video offering and proves itself a worthy contender. With a revision of the navigation system Creative will have a killer on its hands
The Creative Zen Sleek is a decent WMA alternative for those looking for a music-only high-capacity MP3 player.
The Gmini is a strange hybrid -- a cut-down version of the company's other media centres, with a tacked-on 'camcorder' element and tiny 4:3 screen. Lacking the ability to record from TV, you'd better have a collection of DivX video. The screen is of a high quality, but it's too small and the wrong format to enjoy movies on. The tacked-on camera is no reason to buy the device, but it is cheap
This is certainly Sony's most impressive player yet. With a little more attention to detail and some more work on the much improved bundled software, Sony may yet have a chance in this market
Against the Archos AV500, the Zen Vision just loses out thanks to a lack of TV recording and a 4:3 screen. However, it is much easier to use and offers a pleasant picture quality, even if the screen is far too reflective. It also looks like a premium device, with a sleek chassis. It's just a little too expensive, but it will appeal to novices who hate Archos' horrible interfaces