I had a requirement for a way to record to mp3, and move gigs of files around for CD burning purposes. External Hard drive devices are the only gig plus solutions. I just could not figure out
which of these devices to pick, so I snagged both. I am IBM only, so the ipod was out. I did however put the Archos next to an ipod, and it was nearly the same size. Zen was out since it can't record.
|Fits in pocket
||Archos: Yes! (most of my relaxed fit jeans, and even in its bag.)
Nomad: Not even my baggies. Guess I will be looking for a CD carry case if I ever actually use it.
||Archos: Sturdy. Like the cool Rubber guards and the puffy foam bag.
Nomad: Yikes! Almost broke the little plastic tabs installing the battery. (you see how big my hands are in the pics)
||Archos: Sound is surprisingly good. Lots of volume, and my 320 mp3 files are sweet.
Nomad: There is a slightly better output here. I can't nail down what the quality difference is, but I can feel it on my big stereo.
||Archos: Built in mic - About every five minutes the drive has to spin up. I think the buffer is small. So when the drive spins, the noise comes through the recording. Line in works charmingly. Variable bit rate recordings come out small and AWESOME. Renaming files is a slight pain, otherwise it will record over the last recording.
Nomad: Like most of the buttons, the record button has to be held down for like four seconds, so get used to the timing attempts. The drive noise is much softer. Also it automatically names and dates the files.
|Easy to manipulate
||Archos: Drop the files in and the device lists and plays the mp3s. It will continue to the next song it finds. I arranged mine in folders.
Nomad: There is a separation between mp3s and files. I think the music goes into some kind of database. Not sure if once in there it will come out again. Mp3s added as files are not playable. There is no way to get the bitrate and time details of the mp3s when they play. There seems to be no folder-type music structure. I do like the ability to play all songs by one artist, however my mp3s are not labeled exactly the same. It requires you to manually build a playlist.
||Archos: Win2k support is NATIVE! :) Win98 was a simple driver install. Comes with a manual, but I have not even had to consult it.
Nomad: No manual. Throw the Creative labs disc in the trash. Your system's memory will thank you. Go straight to Red Chair and get Notmad. It is still clunky, but unavoidable due to the music database thingy above. (and if you pay the fee, you can extract the music)
|Cool gadget look
||Archos: Can't go wrong with blue/silver.
Nomad: The blue is not as bright, but overall it wins in the beauty contest. I look at it occasionally on my shelf.