Giving mum an MP3 player for Mother’s Day is a great idea — she can store all her old CDs as well as old vinyl records and listen to them on the move, at the gym or on the train. They can be connected to your car, used as an alarm clock or hooked up to your home theatre. Forget flowers, chocolates or gift cards — this is what your Mum really needs.
There are good reasons iPods are so popular. There are more products specially designed to be compatible with Apple’s iPod range than other MP3 players. There are numerous accessories such as iPod docks available. High-end models like the iPhone 3G and iPod Touch pack in features like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for networking with other products like newer car stereos and PCs. Video and picture playback is common. But which one is the best for mum?
Pros: Includes a Web browser and Wi-Fi, beautiful design, easy to operate, slim enough to slip into a purse
Pros: In-line controls are easier to access when jogging/walking, minimalist design, VoiceOver feature, supports multiple playlists, 4GB storage
Cons: Too small, can’t use standard third-party headphones, shuffle slider button too small, multiple click sequences are frustrating, might confuse mum
Pros: Touch wheel is very intuitive, menu additions are great, larger capacities
Cons: Still reliant on iTunes, sound quality could use a little work
Pros: Multi-touch navigation, HSDPA bandwidth, Exchange and MobileMe support, mum can throw away her old mobile phone
Cons: Poor GPS implementation, no physical keyboard, poor battery life, mum will have to learn how to drive a new phone
Pros: Very slim and light, supports voice recording
Cons: No FM tuner, must be turned sideways for video viewing
Of all the iPods lined up here, we’d probably pick the Touch or the Nano for mum. They’re small enough to easily fit into a purse or pocket and are easy to operate after a little training. Plus, we think they look the best.
Other MP3 players
You don’t have to pick an iPod if you don’t want to. There are thousands of other MP3 and portable media players that exist on the market, but we’ve condensed this list down to five of the most interesting.
Pros: Player and earphones work surprisingly well underwater, very sturdy construction
Cons: Unintuitive controls and antique LCD screen
Pros: Gorgeous screen, plenty of formats supported, great battery life
Cons: User interface isn’t as good as iPod’s, plastic casing feels cheap and tacky
Pros: Stylish, intuitive menu, produces good sound, good screen
Cons: No drag-and-drop functionality, menu lags in certain folders, fingerprint magnet
Pros: Elegant design, spectacular video and music playback
Cons: Awkward to hold
Pros: Large, vibrant and sharp AMOLED screen, beautiful design and solid construction
Cons: Navigation can be unintuitive at times, expensive for its storage capacity
Overall, we prefer the great combination of battery life and gorgeous screen that the Cowon S9 offers. A 32GB model is coming in May, and will only cost $30 more than Apple’s 16GB iPod Touch — making it a good value alternative for mothers who aren’t so concerned about brand names.