Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Part 1: The iPod Nano 2GB Clone Review

It feels like just yesterday I bought an iPod Nano MP3 clone MP4 player off of eBay. In fact, it was several weeks ago that I bought this MP4 player, but I’ve since then become really interested in the “other side” of the portable media and audio business. Before I confuse anyone, let me explain what I mean when referring to the “other side” in regards to iPods, Zune, iRiver, and other digital media players, both MP4 and MP3.

I was searching on eBay for a good deal on a real iPod Nano 2GB model. As expected, eBay will save you a few dollars here and there on these name brand iPod models, but it’s really hard to find an incredible bargain, although these do exist. Imagine my surprise when I came across what looked like an iPod 2GB for only $40! After some more careful searching, I found that it wasn’t a real iPod, but a clone that looked exactly like the Nano, and that it supposedly played not only MP3 and other audio files like the real Nano, but that it also played videos (hence the name MP4), and had a larger screen. Excited, but still skeptical, I did my research through search engines like Blingo, and looked more for these MP4 players on eBay.

It turns out that there are many, many MP4 and MP3 players, some clones, and some just unique models. Most people only know of a few companies that make these media players, like iRiver, Zune, Sandisk, and, of course, the over-hyped iPods from Apple. However, many of the clone models, and other models sold on eBay and online are from smaller Asian companies, many of which are made in China, alongside real Apple iPods in factories. They (the small companies MP3 and MP4 players) cost less than larger brand-name companies models, but often have a wide range of features.

Digging a little deeper online, I searched for reviews of these MP4 players, and found very few. Few tech websites even talked about these clone models, although I was able to scrounge up a few reviews on some blogs. Finally, I came across a couple of helpful MP4 and MP3 player forums for these ‘China Players” and found more reviews.

Some reviews I read decried these cheap MP3 and MP4 players for being too hard to use, nowhere near the simplicity of most popular media players like iPods, and simply being pieces of cheap trash. However, the reviews on the media player forums like MyMpxPlayer were generally pretty positive, as most reviewers understood how these MP4 and MP3 models worked, and weren’t expecting something exactly like an iPod or an iRiver. One of the biggest complaints people had was that their purchased player wasn’t really the 4GB or 2GB they were promised, and instead it was only 512MB or 1GB. It turns out that some untrustworthy sellers had ‘hacked’ their MP4 players to show that they had a larger capacity than they really had, and that this wouldn’t become apparent until after files were loaded onto the MP4 or MP3 player. However, there were many sellers selling real, legit models, and some of these eBay sellers were recommended to me by users of MyMpxPlayer.

I’m always one to look for a good deal, and, while my friend wanted a real iPod, I was really intrigued by many of these cheaper Asian media player models. I already owned an iRiver H10 5GB MP3 player, but the siren call of the video playing iPod Nano clone MP4 players was becoming stronger by the day. Frankly, I don’t care at all (well, not much) about brand names, and I’d rather save money than spend more just have the name ‘iPod.’ However, I was still really hesitant to buy one, as I didn’t want to have to deal with returning an item to an eBay seller from Hong Kong, where most of the players are sold from. Remember, Asia is awash in electronics, some amazing and much more advanced than tech gear in many Western nations, but some poorly constructed and of shoddy quality.

Finally, another friend who was interested in getting an MP3 player heard about these models, and asked me to help him. I did some more research, and found several ones that he was interested in on eBay. I told him about the problems some people had to work with when buying one of these players, but he was fine with it, and asked if I could purchase one on eBay for him. I found a seller with good feedback, and that was recommended by others from the MP4 forums, and found a 2GB Black Nano-style MP4 player for only $40. Keep in mind that an iPod 2GB Nano from Apple will cost about $130+. I purchased this MP4 model, and eagerly awaited its arrival. Estimated delivery was about 7-14 days, although we were warned it could take longer. After exactly 7 days, we received the MP4 player, in our USPS mail.

What happened next? Did the player work? Was it good quality? How do videos look on it? All these questions, and more, will be answered in Part 2. Stick around!

1 comment:

avee said...

hello freind i have a ipod nano style of 4GB clone, when i prchased it was works perfectly but when i was doing some changes in language option from menu it was hange, now its displaying only hourglass but still working properly, i want to reset its setting have you any idea for website from there i can reset my ipod or can u send me its menu setting images by this i can reset it. of any another type of help to reset it.