The MP3 personal player market is changing. Whereas once it was all about hard disk jukeboxes with large storage capacities and tiny flash memory models with just room for a few hours of tunes, a new hybrid of the two is emerging.
The new models use hard disks yet are more pocketable and cheaper than existing jukeboxes. The trade-off is that they offer much less storage.
There are plenty of models on the horizon too with Apple’s iPod mini and Sony/Aiwa’s HZ-WS2000 both a couple of months away. If you want one now Philips is there with its £160 hdd060 player.
It looks good with its lightweight design and striking white and silver finish. It also has an excellent battery life of 10 hours and, unlike the some other MP3 players (err that will be the iPod then), it will play WMAs as well as MP3s. Its performance is excellent too, though Philips could have offered better quality earphones.
The downside is that it only has a 1.5GB hard disk. This will hold 375 tracks, but that is poor value compared with the forthcoming Apple iPod mini that has 4GB of storage and won’t cost much more. Philips also loses points for including a slow USB 1.1 cable rather than the zippier USB 2.0. The software that accompanies the player, Digital Media Manager, is also a little cumbersome – you can’t simply drag and drop files on to the player as you can with some of its rivals.
If you’ll never fill up an MP3 player with more than a few hours of tunes and you fancy its design, the HDD060 is ideal. If not, join the queue for the iPod mini.