MP3-Player - have they grown up?

Dr.-Ing. Peter Strassacker
Archos Gmini 400

In the past MP3 players were often little USB sticks. Tracks were loaded using a PC and then played back using an ear phone.

By now, MP3 players the size of a cigarette packet have caught on and show an outstanding performance.

These players include a hard drive of anything between 20 and 60 GByte, enabling the storage of 300 to 900 CD's in MPEG 3 format. Access to tracks using several search criteria is simple and quick. Operation is simple and straight forward. The sound quality of the top models in the medium price segment is more than adequate when using a conventional hi-fi stereo set-up for playback.

We are comparing three models that caught our eye:

Manufacturer / Type Apple / iPOD Apple / iPOD mini Archos / Gmini 400
Hard drive capacity 20-60 GByte 4-6 GByte 20 GByte
Capacity equivalent to CD's 300-900 60-90 300
Accessories medium sparse comprehensive
Track transfer with PC with PC with PC or direct
Sound quality good (not tested) very good
Frequency range with      
  connected main amp extremely linear (not measured) extremely linear
  50 Ohm ear phone (-3 dB) 30 Hz - 20 kHz (not measured) 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Signal to noise: 90 dB (not measured) 96 dB
Design classic white
reminiscent of Braun
oval, aluminium
Video playback no no yes
Price in EUR from approx. 330 approx. 200-250 approx. 350

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