Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tech Comparison: iPod Shuffle, HP iPAQ, and iPod Touch

Two weeks, I acquired an iPod touch. I guess through the gifts of Karma, I get to experience the iPhone/iPod Touch phenomenon. So, I thought I'd do a slight review and comparison between the different devices I have.

I chose the shuffle after reading several reviews, but one review in particular sold me (click here to read the review). This is one tuff little cookie of an MP3 player. I have the 1 GB model, and it holds about 5 audiobooks, and 10-15 more podcasts depending on their size. 

What I like:
  • I love it's size. It's actually smaller than a Sweet'n'Low pack, thicker, but not much. The controls are simple. 
  • I like that I can quickly start, stop, forward, and reverse. 
  • The battery life on the iPod Shuffle is long enough that I haven't been able to leak it all the way down yet. I've gone a whole week without a recharge, playing it for a few hours a day. 

What I don't like:
  • I don't like that I can't load on OGG files, WMA files, or other types. 
  • Sometimes, when I connect the Shuffle to the desktop, it resets the bookmark on an audiobook or podcast, and I have to fastforward through the entire thing. Fastforward seems to go at 3 second forward jumps. Not very fast.
  • I don't like that I can't see what's playing. Occasionally, I'll have several episodes from one podcast show, and I can't tell which one I'm listening too. As a trade-off for the size, this is one that really doesn't bother me too much, but was a thought.

HP iPAQ rx3715

I've had my toy for almost 5 years. With the Rhinoskin aluminum cover, it's held up pretty well. Held up externally, at least. The biggest problem I'v
e had with the rx3715 is the earphone jack. I've sent it off to be repair once at a resonable cost, but it broke again a year later. The right earpiece is the only one that works. If I was really into music, I'd be upset. But since I listen to audiobooks and podcasts, it's that that big an issue.

What I like:
  • I like that Windows Mobile OS is somewhat like Windows. Close enough that most anyone would know where things are. Adding programs is actually easier on Windows Mobile than it use to be. With Windows CE, you had to add programs from your Windows desktop. With Windows Mobile, you can download programs wirelessly, and install them right from your device.
  • I like how many wireless hacking tools are available for Windows Mobile. I can use my toy for site surveys. Yeah...we'll call it that; Site Survey.
  • I like that I can download podcasts and audiobooks directly to the device.
  • I like that I can sit it on an infrared keyboard, and write. 
  • Battery life is pretty good. As long as I don't use the wireless access too much, it lasts a long time.
  • I have a library of 15,000 ebooks in all kinds of different formats, and the rx3715 has programs available for all of them. I usually keep at least 500 ebooks on that toy at any time. Just because I can.
  • I like that I can download ebooks directly to the toy.
  • I can add podcasts or videocasts any time I want, as long as I'm wirelessly connected.
  • I can control all of the TV's, DVD players, and stereo's in our house with it. Very handy, especially when we've lost the original remote.
What I don't like:
  • I don't like the problems with the headphone jack. This seems to be a common defect on this model, as there are a few PocketPC vendors that has a specific service fix for the issue.
  • I could do without the whole stylus thing. I've gone through at least six.
  • It has the older 802.11b wireless card. Works, but weak. 
  • It's a bit heavy and bulky. But, that's only in comparison to newer gadgets. In it's day, it was the best of the best.

Let me start off by say; This type of interface is the future of how we will interact with a computer. For at least the next 5 years, the laptop will become less important, and devices like these will increase. Rapidly.

What I like:
  • The touch interface is awesome. Apple really got this right.
  • WiFi is fast.
  • Lots of applications.
  • Pretty much everything I do online can be done on this thing.
  • I can put almost all of my podcasts and audiobooks on this device.
  • I makes a good alarm clock
  • Except for Microsoft Reader books, most of the eBooks I have can be put on the device.
  • Battery life is pretty good. A bit better than the iPAQ.
  • I can be used as a wireless 'jumpdrive'. Yeah...that's right; wireless!
I'm going to stop there before I fall deeper into the Mac Cult. I've got to hold to my Penguinista mentality.

What I don't like:
  • It doesn't work with Linux. At least, not yet. But, I don't hold any confidence that apple will produce a version of iTunes for Linux.
  • No way to read Microsoft Reader ebooks, yet. This isn't a show stopper, but I'd still like to be able to read my 800 .lit ebooks on the iPod Touch
  • It's not an open platform. I'm curious how Google's Android will be. I'm waiting for that to come out before I decide to upgrade my phone.
  • No camera on the iPod Touch.
  • No capability of making video on either. 
  • I can't control the TV's, DVD's, or stereo equipment.

Category Winners:
Versatility: iPAQ rx3715
Portability: iPod Shuffle
Useability: iPod Touch

Edit January 5, 2009: The Stanza app on the iPod Touch/iPhone with 2.2 update allows for some MS Reader .lit file to be used. Basically, all my .lit ebooks can now be read on the iPod Touch


Nikolai said...

great review, thanx! i have a 1st gen. ipod touch and i'm gonna sell it tomorrow and buy an HP iPaq rx3715, its true that depending of what you want from a device or the use you're gonna give it, the specific device will be more usefull for you, but for me, the iPaq is operfect. I h've jailboken my device looking for a "boost" of its possibilities, trying to use it as a PDA but it is so difficult, the Mac OS mobile doesn't have enough possibilities, i think changing my device i can get all i want.

thanx a lot.

Nikolai said...

and, of course, i use ubuntu linux, that's another point (sorry 'bout my englich, i'm half finnish half chilean, ugh!)

CoachDANNY!! said...

You might want to wait and see what newer handhelds with Android are available in the future.