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Hooj Choonz

For a little while now, I've been looking for a suitable MP3 player. Whilst I've had one for a couple years (an iRiver-iFP 899), it's capacity was somewhat limited and I was getting somewhat annoyed with having to plonk new content on each day to listen to. It's a very well featured player (I've got to say that, I'm now selling it on Ebay), but it just doesn't come with any more than 1GB of storage.

Never believe the spec on the box of an MP3 player in relation to capacity and how much music they say the unit will store. Invariably, they mean "will store up to 20 years of music, if you like sound quality akin to said tunes being hummed by a wasp". 1GB = 34hrs, my arse.

So, here was my feature list for the music box of choice:

- Works on a Mac.
- Good sound quality.
- Will either take standard rechargeable batteries or....
- Has battery life of 20hrs+ (If it uses a proprietary battery).
- Can record.
- Has a radio.
- Storage of 4GB+
- 150ukp budget.

I don't care about putting photos, movies or my life history on it, thank-you. Just play music - and play it well.

I did an awful lot of searching. If you stick to your guns with your wish-list many players fall by the wayside, the infamous iPod being one of the first to go namely because the sound quality sucks, it has no recording facilities (unless you buy extras) or a radio. But then I stumbled on this:


It's made by Cowon and is the iAudio X5L. It's about iPod sized and totally fulfilled my feature list. If you believe most web-sites, however, it retails at about 210 - 240ukp, so I was rather chuffed when I got mine for 110. Gasp)

Anyway, it features:

- Colour screen, which does show movies/photos.
- 20GB Storage.
- Radio.
- 3D Sound
- Recording (either through mic, line-in or radio)
- 35 Hours of battery life (I'm still testing this one).
- Works on Win/Mac/Linux (Just mounts on desktop as a portable hard-drive)

I have to say that the sound quality is really good and that it's doing pretty well. It'll take me a while to see if the battery life claim lives up as I'm still on my first charge, but I discovered another feature that I wasn't aware it had - it can act as a USB host. This means that you can hook up a digital camera with a USB lead and download your pictures to it, thus saving memory on lots of expensive memory cards.

In all, I'm pretty impressed with the unit. My only gripe is that it's got a really strange adaptor that if you lose, you're screwed - you can't charge or transfer data to it. I've already ordered a replacement, just in case (they're only a tenner), because I can see it happening at some point. Otherwise though, I'd recommend it.
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