No it isn’t a typo. Let’s face it, Portable Media Playas (PMP) are hot. The question is, “Is my PSP still hot?” I’ve had mine since 3/24/2005 but it seems like two years. Now that the iPod versus everyone else battle is heating up, I’ve started to look more closely at replacements for my PSP.
My needs for a PMP are a little different. I am much more into video than audio so the screen and storage capacity are key requirements. With that in mind, here’s the short list of announced products in my order of preference:
Creative Zen Vision W – the 60GB Vision W hasn’t started shipping yet, but it’s likely to be my new Christmas (or Thanksgiving) toy. It’s a little thicker than I would prefer, but it has the 4.3″ screen and a good sized hard drive.
Archos 604 – the 604 rocks. Everything I’ve read seems to indicate this is the one of the best video playas, and it might very well be the best. However, the 604 only has a 30GB drive. If they made this model in a 60 or 80GB model, I would probably move it to the top of my list.
They also just announced the Archos 604 Wifi. Wireless is cool and all, but I’m not really using the wireless capability of my PSP much so it isn’t a feature high on my list.
Archos 504 – the 504 comes in a variety of hard drive sizes all the way up to a whopping 160GB drives. Unfortunately, the 504 is on the fat side as a result. At .9″, it’s significantly thicker than the 604 or the iPod. I was under the impression the 504 was offered in 40, 60, 80 and 160GB capacities but my most recent check only shows the 80 and 160. That was probably by design to differentiate it from the 604. Sneaky. Like I said, the 604 would be perfect with a 60GB drive. That’s a hint Archos.
Microsoft Zune – Zune has obviously received a lot of press, especially from us. I’m hopeful I’ll end up with a free one. Unlike the offerings above with their 4.3″ screens, the Zune only has a 3″ display. That’s a pretty big difference compared to my PSP. I would also like to see a bigger 60 or 80GB hard drive. That moves the Zune down the list in terms of a video player for me.
Apple iPod – the current iPod is still an audio player at heart. Although the 80GB drive is attractive, the 2.5″ screen is a big negative in my video book. The iPod is the slimmest and lightest player of this group and it is a big seller for those reasons. Considering the iPod doesn’t play all the formats I have, it moves to the bottom of the list.
If Apple is really planning on releasing a widescreen video iPod with a touchscreen, they’d better do it fast. The holiday season has already begun. Since I haven’t seen anything official, I have my doubts it’s going to happen until next year.
None of the portable players above meets my “needs” perfectly. Maybe I’m too picky. No, that can’t be it. I’d like a .5″ thick, 60GB+, 4.3″ video screen player at about $350-$375. Some of the players above are close. I’ll probably cave and get the Vision W. Decisions decisions.