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2 Pcs Gold Plated 3.5mm Stereo Male to 6.3mm Audio Mono Female Adapter
2 Pcs Gold Plated 3.5mm Stereo Male to 6.3mm Audio Mono Female Adapter
Offered by GOMARK
Price: £2.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Came Apart When Used, 16 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've not had the luck of the other reviewers. I plugged a 6.4mm headphone jack into these and the 3.5mm portion came apart in my hands. It turns out that the adaptor is a very cheap 3.5mm plug seated (badly) inside a larger 6.4mm shell. Give it a few weeks and you'll probably see this come apart. I'm going to buy the quality Philips adaptor which I understand is the same as the one supplied with their Fidelio headphones.


Philips Fidelio X1/00 Hi-Fi Stereo Indoor Headphones (discontinued by manufacturer)
Philips Fidelio X1/00 Hi-Fi Stereo Indoor Headphones (discontinued by manufacturer)

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 85% of the Sennheiser HD 800 Experience, 27 Jun. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've written previously about the talents of the Philips Fidelio range, and particularly the DS9000 speaker dock. See: PHILIPS DS9000/12 Primo Docking Speaker for iPad/iPhone/iPod - wood finish

Tempted by a good experience with the brand, I decided to purchase these Fidelio X1 headphones. They are interesting. Very large 50mm drivers (compared to the Sennheiser HD 700s which have 40mm ones and the HD 800s which have 56mm ones). Important but not alone responsible for great sound. The latter, incidentally, are the best headphones I have ever heard. How do these compare? I'd say probably 85 per cent of the HD 800 experience at a fifth of the cost. For me, that makes these fantastic. If you are an experienced geek, the following is how I would rate a range of headphones I have owned/enjoyed/listened to, from best to 'worst'. None of these are poor, and you will note my bias for open headphones as the best sounding headphone type. Perhaps you've listened to some of them too, in which case you have something to relate this review of the X1s.

Sennheiser HD 800 >
Fidelio X1 - Sennheiser HD 650 - Sennheiser HD 600 >
Audio Technica ATH AD700 - Sennheiser HD 598 - Grado SR80 - Sennheiser HD 595

EDIT: Update after more listening time. I would say that these X1s have gone from sounding excellent to pretty spectacular after some 40 hours with them. They definitely seem to "open up" (and sound 'wider') the more you use them.
Comment Comments (17) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 3, 2014 11:43 AM BST


Philips DS9000/10 Docking Speaker System for iPod
Philips DS9000/10 Docking Speaker System for iPod

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fidelio Primo vs Arcam rCube vs Zeppelin Air vs Go Play 2, 16 Dec. 2011
Want an iPhone dock? Confused? So was I, until I gathered enough intelligence on the subject to open a library. Eventually, I overcame severe purchase-inertia (it's a new term I've learnt which means "stalling on a purchase due to information overload"...if you're a fellow geek, you'll understand) and thankfully, I have now resolved my oh-so First World Problem of "buying the best iPhone dock possible". Here I present my findings to fellow Amazonians, free of charge. Aren't you lucky little beans?

First, let's rewind to my pre-research iPhone dock ruminations, when I set some "purchase criteria". "An iPhone dock must sound superb", I said to myself one day reflectively. "And it must be compatible with *both* an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2 for music playback" and... "the iOS device must be clearly visible for navigation purposes when docked: that's also important."

This dismissed all average-to-good sounding speakerdocks, including some good budget choices such as the Logitech S715i and the pricier SoundFreaq SomethingOrOther. Despite the price value of these options, having listened to them at various stores including Best Buy, PC World and John Lewis (yes I really am that...thorough) I decided that they were just a disappointment in terms of sound quality: good but just not great. And by "sound quality" I'm referring to the *clarity* of the sound, not the ability to reproduce low frequency bass notes at ear crushing levels, as some other dubiously praised budget options are designed to do extremely well (see the frankly ludicrous marketing of the KitSound Boom Dock here on Amazon, for example).

These criteria led to various in-store product "auditions". (Sales people seem to love that phrase: "Would you like to 'audition' this one, Sir?" "Sure, don't mind if I do. Shall I put on a rubber Simon Cowell mask and award points in a superior, narcissistic manner as well?"). Anyway, these "auditions" led to a shortlist which included the Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Air, the Arcam rCube, the Philips Fidelio Primo DS9000, and the Harman Kardon Go Play 2. Of these, I dismissed the Harman because of the design. The iPhone is not visible from the front, and that is just plain disappointing. It sounds lovely, but the design is an issue. It also can't dock an iPad. It does have a baby brother called the Harman Go Play Micro, which solves the visibility problem in exchange for a sin: quite significantly less punchy sound quality. I also dismissed the rCube because it can't dock an iPad, and because it really doesn't "feel" as beautiful a product as either the Fidelio Primo or the Zeppelin Air.

So then, what of the big two?

Let's be clear: they both sound utterly superb and there is very little to split them in terms of sound quality. If testing them blind, I would not be able to distinguish between them. Beware reviewers who say things like "X wiped the floor with Y". No it didn't. The audio characteristics of these excellently engineered products are too comparable for this long-time audiophile to detect any substantive differences, so consider the matter simply one of personal preference and budget. Unless of course you have superhuman hearing! :-)

The good news is that the Fidelio is significantly cheaper than the Zeppelin and looks absolutely fantastic. It's made of sheets of wood to form a beautifully carved-looking device which elicits major geekgasms each time I look at it. After hearing it, I was sold. I saw no reason to pay twice the price for a Zeppelin when the same sound quality was achievable in this phenomenal product. And if there are any brand snobs out there, I'll have you know that Philips is a Dutch company which invented the compact cassette and have a long tradition of important contributions to the history of technology. Indeed their attention to detail is quite evident in the DS9000. The dock connector, for example, has been engineered to accept any iDevice. Even my 2003 iPod works with it perfectly without the need for an annoying, fiddly adaptor.

To be sure, the Zeppelin Air has Airplay technology built in, which the Fidelio lacks. This is nice. It allows you to stream music over WiFi stright to the dock. The Fidelio lacks this feature, but it wasn't important to me because there is plenty of flexibility in streaming music wirelessly without Airplay. I use Apple's Home Sharing mode to stream my entire iTunes library from my MacBook over WiFi to both my iPad 2 and iPhone 4. It works a treat. The iDevice must be docked for this to work, but it works well and negates the need to obsess over AirPlay for music streaming. The other alternative is to buy an AirPort Express and run an Auxiliary cable from it to the 3.5mm port (it has one) at the back of the Fidelio for wireless music streaming. Still another idea would be to buy a bluetooth 3.5mm receiver for little over a tenner here on Amazon and plug it into the aux port on the Fidelio and simply stream via bluetooth from an iOS device. In short though, AirPlay was no big deal for me. Nice, but not crucial.

Having now purchased and used the Fidelio Primo for a month, I am truly smitten. This ranks as one of the best technology purchases I have ever made, alongside the iPad 2, MacBook Air, Cowon D2 and Sennheiser HD 595 and the Sigma DP1. Audiophiles will truly appreciate the Fidelio's sound quality, and this is no mean feat for a speakerdock. The fact is, the Fidelio Primo doesn't just sound good "for a speakerdock". It sounds spectacular, period. It normally retails at £400, so Amazon's current price is scarcely believable. If you have the inclination, do go ahead and have your own in-store "auditions" of my shortlisted speakerdocks. I challenge you to find one that sounds better. Philips engineers, if you're reading this: I tip my hat.


PHILIPS DS9000/12 Primo Docking Speaker for iPad/iPhone/iPod - wood finish
PHILIPS DS9000/12 Primo Docking Speaker for iPad/iPhone/iPod - wood finish

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fidelio Primo vs the Arcam rCube vs Zeppelin Air vs Go Play 2, 15 Dec. 2011
Want an iPhone dock? Confused? So was I, until I gathered enough intelligence on the subject to open a library. Eventually, I overcame severe purchase-inertia (it's a new term I've learnt which means "stalling on a purchase due to information overload"...if you're a fellow geek, you'll understand) and thankfully, I have now resolved my oh-so First World Problem of "buying the best iPhone dock possible". Here I present my findings to fellow Amazonians, free of charge. Aren't you lucky little beans?

First, let's rewind to my pre-research iPhone dock ruminations, when I set some "purchase criteria". "An iPhone dock must sound superb", I said to myself one day reflectively. "And it must be compatible with *both* an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2 for music playback" and... "the iOS device must be clearly visible for navigation purposes when docked: that's also important."

This dismissed all average-to-good sounding speakerdocks, including some good budget choices such as the Logitech S715i and the pricier SoundFreaq SomethingOrOther. Despite the price value of these options, having listened to them at various stores including Best Buy, PC World and John Lewis (yes I really am that...thorough) I decided that they were just a disappointment in terms of sound quality: good but just not great. And by "sound quality" I'm referring to the *clarity* of the sound, not the ability to reproduce low frequency bass notes at ear crushing levels, as some other dubiously praised budget options are designed to do extremely well (see the frankly ludicrous marketing of the KitSound Boom Dock here on Amazon, for example).

These criteria led to various in-store product "auditions". (Sales people seem to love that phrase: "Would you like to 'audition' this one, Sir?" "Sure, don't mind if I do. Shall I put on a rubber Simon Cowell mask and award points in a superior, narcissistic manner as well?"). Anyway, these "auditions" led to a shortlist which included the Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Air, the Arcam rCube, the Philips Fidelio Primo DS9000, and the Harman Kardon Go Play 2. Of these, I dismissed the Harman because of the design. The iPhone is not visible from the front, and that is just plain disappointing. It sounds lovely, but the design is an issue. It also can't dock an iPad. It does have a baby brother called the Harman Go Play Micro, which solves the visibility problem in exchange for a sin: quite significantly less punchy sound quality. I also dismissed the rCube because it can't dock an iPad, and because it really doesn't "feel" as beautiful a product as either the Fidelio Primo or the Zeppelin Air.

So then, what of the big two?

Let's be clear: they both sound utterly superb and there is very little to split them in terms of sound quality. If testing them blind, I would not be able to distinguish between them. Beware reviewers who say things like "X wiped the floor with Y". No it didn't. The audio characteristics of these excellently engineered products are too comparable for this long-time audiophile to detect any substantive differences, so consider the matter simply one of personal preference and budget. Unless of course you have superhuman hearing! :-)

The good news is that the Fidelio is significantly cheaper than the Zeppelin and looks absolutely fantastic. It's made of sheets of wood to form a beautifully carved-looking device which elicits major geekgasms each time I look at it. After hearing it, I was sold. I saw no reason to pay twice the price for a Zeppelin when the same sound quality was achievable in this phenomenal product. And if there are any brand snobs out there, I'll have you know that Philips is a Dutch company which invented the compact cassette and have a long tradition of important contributions to the history of technology. Indeed their attention to detail is quite evident in the DS9000. The dock connector, for example, has been engineered to accept any iDevice. Even my 2003 iPod works with it perfectly without the need for an annoying, fiddly adaptor.

To be sure, the Zeppelin Air has Airplay technology built in, which the Fidelio lacks. This is nice. It allows you to stream music over WiFi stright to the dock. The Fidelio lacks this feature, but it wasn't important to me because there is plenty of flexibility in streaming music wirelessly without Airplay. I use Apple's Home Sharing mode to stream my entire iTunes library from my MacBook over WiFi to both my iPad 2 and iPhone 4. It works a treat. The iDevice must be docked for this to work, but it works well and negates the need to obsess over AirPlay for music streaming. The other alternative is to buy an AirPort Express and run an Auxiliary cable from it to the 3.5mm port (it has one) at the back of the Fidelio for wireless music streaming. Still another idea would be to buy a bluetooth 3.5mm receiver for little over a tenner here on Amazon and plug it into the aux port on the Fidelio and simply stream via bluetooth from an iOS device. In short though, AirPlay was no big deal for me. Nice, but not crucial.

Having now purchased and used the Fidelio Primo for a month, I am truly smitten. This ranks as one of the best technology purchases I have ever made, alongside the iPad 2, MacBook Air, Cowon D2 and Sennheiser HD 595. Audiophiles will truly appreciate the Fidelio's sound quality, and this is no mean feat for a speakerdock. The fact is, the Fidelio Primo doesn't just sound good "for a speakerdock". It sounds spectacular, period. It normally retails at £400, so Amazon's current price is scarcely believable. If you have the inclination, do go ahead and have your own in-store "auditions" of my shortlisted speakerdocks. I challenge you to find one that sounds better. Philips engineers, if you're reading this: I tip my hat.

EDIT (27/11/2012): Still going strong and the recent upgrade to an iPhone 5 with a lightning connector has proved irrelevant because I now use an AppleTv which streams all my music from a Mac directly to the Fidelio Primo over AirPlay. (The dock is hooked up from a HDTV's 3.5mm audio jack to the Fidelio, and sounds spectacular.)
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2012 12:57 PM BST


XMI X-mini Max 2 Portable Speakers for iPhone/iPod/iPad/MP3 Player/Laptop - Black
XMI X-mini Max 2 Portable Speakers for iPhone/iPod/iPad/MP3 Player/Laptop - Black

78 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Word of Advice for Getting Optimal Sound, 6 Jan. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are superb mini speakers. They produce an excellent sound, and not only for their tiny size. They are well constructed, the battery lasts long, and they come with a nice carry pouch, and have a tidy single cable which doubles up both for charging the units as well as connecting to portable media players.

A major piece of advice I would pass on to fellow Amazonians:

Because the speakers are actually quite good, they ruthlessly expose poor quality music files. I found that with many of my low bit rate music files (say 55kbps to 100kbps), the speakers "distort" at anything above 70% of my mp3 player's volume. (In fact this is not really the case; the speakers are simply exposing the weaknesses in the music files).

On the other hand, with all of my downloaded music from iTunes (nicely encoded higher bit rate files) and ripped music from CDs (excellent quality 320kbps mp3 files) I encounter zero distortion. With quality files, the speakers happily pump out very loud, well articulated music all the way up to the maximum volume of my mp3 player(s).

In short then, if you think these speakers are "distorting", do check your music files.

Very satisfied with my purchase, overall. I can't say that these compare to larger sound docks because that would just be fanciful, but the fact remains that these are superb mini speakers (emphasis on mini), are more portable than all the sound docks I've encountered, and sound pretty good to boot. Good stuff.

A last word: make sure you "run" them in. Like all speakers, they improve with use.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 25, 2012 3:48 PM BST


Apple iPod Touch 32GB 2nd Generation
Apple iPod Touch 32GB 2nd Generation

176 of 182 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An OBJECTIVE plus (+) and minus (-) review. Please read this if you're making up your mind., 15 Jan. 2009
This is an impartial review based on my experience of the iPod Touch 2nd Generation, and other Personal Media Players.

Strengths:

+ WiFi and Safari Browser. Superb mobile browsing experience. For example, you can stream BBC iPlayer to the Touch perfectly. A real joy.

+ Youtube widget for playback of youtube videos.

+ Integrated Nike + Support, so that you can use the device as a training tool for exercise.

+ App Store. You can download from thousands of Apps on iTunes, including games, and stream internet radio, for instance.

+ Superb capacitive glass touch screen. Older touch screens use `resistive' technology. These work on a different principle, and are less responsive. (The Archos 5 uses a resistive screen. The Cowon S9, however, uses a capacitive one like the iPod Touch).

+ Incredible User Interface. Beautifully conceived and implemented. Music and Videos are organised with an astonishing attention to the user's goals, and you regularly feel that Apple designers have read your mind when you go about tasks.

Here's an example: you wish to download a podcast. You go to an internet address in Safari. Safari automatically grabs the address, boots you into iTunes (on the device itself), and takes you to the podcast listing within the iTunes store. Two more clicks and you're downloading your content. That's the way things should be done.

+ Advantages over the previous generation include a dedicated volume rocker, slightly more curvaceous design, slightly improved battery life, integrated Nike + support and mini speaker.

Weaknesses:

- Very, very average sound quality. Now it is a mystery to me why so many users and reviewers overlook this issue. Having owned the Touch, I have come to the conclusion that it is a stylish Swiss Army Knife whose MAIN BLADE is blunt.

It is true that many people will have no issue with the sound quality probably because their only reference point to the world of personal media players is the iPod brand. This is useful ignorance, because I would challenge anyone not to be thoroughly crestfallen with the sound of this device compared to something as cheap yet beautiful sounding as the Sansa Clip.

- Video playback. If you are happy to be locked into the iTunes universe, then you will love this device. You will endlessly pay for movies and will enjoy them on this device. If like me, however, you like to play your own physical DVDs in DivX format,in addition to a range of movie files in various formats and codecs, then the Touch is simply not your friend. It only supports a few video codecs, which means as a device for video playback, it is somewhat paralysed.

- Terrible battery life. Three hours of mixed use, and the Touch is wheezing for a recharge. It's great being a Jack of all trades, but Jack gets tired rather too quickly sometimes!

- Being `locked in' to iTunes. There are some Apple hating brand lunatics who simply disparage anything Apple for the sake of it. For me, I feel that iTunes is an excellent software (especially on a Mac) but it is also limiting. With iTunes organising my device, I can't just drag and drop files onto the Touch, and this is a bit of a pain. But you may feel different, so this one is up in the air...

Conclusion and buying advice:

Having owned it, the Touch is either superb or mediocre depending on whether you wish to buy it as 1) your mini WiFi web browser with an App Store, or as 2) your multimedia player.

1) As a mini browser, it is excellent. Browse the web, download podcasts, stream iPlayer, etc. (But remember, when you're not near a WiFi signal, none of these capabilities count for anything).

2) But as a genuine media playback device, it just does not cut the mustard. Think of it as a second rank device in a field of stellar performers. The sound quality for music playback is just average, and in some cases, embarrassing when listened to devices made by Cowon, Sansa, iRiver and Sony. And its Video playback is equally crippled by its lack of codec support.

So what is the bottom line?

Well, I owned this device but decided to sell it when I bought a £20 Sansa Clip and stopped listening to music on it because the sound quality was so much superior on the Sansa. This is not hyperbole, and I do not hate Apple. In fact, I love Apple, so do take this as objective advice.

I simply realised that my priority was sound and video quality, and that I would get all of the extra features of the Touch most important to me (namely WiFi and a stunning User Interface) when I buy a Macbook in the future.

I have since purchased a Cowon O2, which is a stellar sounding device (admittedly without the Touch's `extra' features) but in a league of its own in terms of sound quality for music playback, and movie playback. (It supports a cornucopia of music and video files and in this regard is a much more accomplished device).

So then, what are you after?

A mini WiFi enabled device with music/video as an extra? Well then buy the Touch! Go for it. You'll love it and enjoy its brilliance.

But if the answer is an audiophile experience of sound and video, do not buy this device. Start investigating a Cowon O2 or S9, or an iRiver Spinn.

Hope this helps.

- Written by a non-partisan audiophile.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 26, 2009 5:04 PM BST


Apple iPod touch 16GB - 2nd Generation
Apple iPod touch 16GB - 2nd Generation

179 of 188 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An OBJECTIVE plus (+) and minus (-) review. Please read this if you're making up your mind., 15 Jan. 2009
This is an impartial review based on my experience of the iPod Touch 2nd Generation, and other Personal Media Players.

Strengths:

+ WiFi and Safari Browser. Superb mobile browsing experience. For example, you can stream BBC iPlayer to the Touch perfectly. A real joy.

+ Youtube widget for playback of youtube videos.

+ Integrated Nike + Support, so that you can use the device as a training tool for exercise.

+ App Store. You can download from thousands of Apps on iTunes, including games, and stream internet radio, for instance.

+ Superb capacitive glass touch screen. Older touch screens use `resistive' technology. These work on a different principle, and are less responsive. (The Archos 5 uses a resistive screen. The Cowon S9, however, uses a capacitive one like the iPod Touch).

+ Incredible User Interface. Beautifully conceived and implemented. Music and Videos are organised with an astonishing attention to the user's goals, and you regularly feel that Apple designers have read your mind when you go about tasks.

Here's an example: you wish to download a podcast. You go to an internet address in Safari. Safari automatically grabs the address, boots you into iTunes (on the device itself), and takes you to the podcast listing within the iTunes store. Two more clicks and you're downloading your content. That's the way things should be done.

+ Advantages over the previous generation include a dedicated volume rocker, slightly more curvaceous design, slightly improved battery life, integrated Nike + support and mini speaker.

Weaknesses:

- Very, very average sound quality. Now it is a mystery to me why so many users and reviewers overlook this issue. Having owned the Touch, I have come to the conclusion that it is a stylish Swiss Army Knife whose MAIN BLADE is blunt.

It is true that many people will have no issue with the sound quality probably because their only reference point to the world of personal media players is the iPod brand. This is useful ignorance, because I would challenge anyone not to be thoroughly crestfallen with the sound of this device compared to something as cheap yet beautiful sounding as the Sansa Clip.

- Video playback. If you are happy to be locked into the iTunes universe, then you will love this device. You will endlessly pay for movies and will enjoy them on this device. If like me, however, you like to play your own physical DVDs in DivX format,in addition to a range of movie files in various formats and codecs, then the Touch is simply not your friend. It only supports a few video codecs, which means as a device for video playback, it is somewhat paralysed.

- Terrible battery life. Three hours of mixed use, and the Touch is wheezing for a recharge. It's great being a Jack of all trades, but Jack gets tired rather too quickly sometimes!

- Being `locked in' to iTunes. There are some Apple hating brand lunatics who simply disparage anything Apple for the sake of it. For me, I feel that iTunes is an excellent software (especially on a Mac) but it is also limiting. With iTunes organising my device, I can't just drag and drop files onto the Touch, and this is a bit of a pain. But you may feel different, so this one is up in the air...

Conclusion and buying advice:

Having owned it, the Touch is either superb or mediocre depending on whether you wish to buy it as 1) your mini WiFi web browser with an App Store, or as 2) your multimedia player.

1) As a mini browser, it is excellent. Browse the web, download podcasts, stream iPlayer, etc. (But remember, when you're not near a WiFi signal, none of these capabilities count for anything).

2) But as a genuine media playback device, it just does not cut the mustard. Think of it as a second rank device in a field of stellar performers. The sound quality for music playback is just average, and in some cases, embarrassing when listened to devices made by Cowon, Sansa, iRiver and Sony. And its Video playback is equally crippled by its lack of codec support.

So what is the bottom line?

Well, I owned this device but decided to sell it when I bought a £20 Sansa Clip and stopped listening to music on it because the sound quality was so much superior on the Sansa. This is not hyperbole, and I do not hate Apple. In fact, I love Apple, so do take this as objective advice.

I simply realised that my priority was sound and video quality, and that I would get all of the extra features of the Touch most important to me (namely WiFi and a stunning User Interface) when I buy a Macbook in the future.

I have since purchased a Cowon O2, which is a stellar sounding device (admittedly without the Touch's `extra' features) but in a league of its own in terms of sound quality for music playback, and movie playback. (It supports a cornucopia of music and video files and in this regard is a much more accomplished device).

So then, what are you after?

A mini WiFi enabled device with music/video as an extra? Well then buy the Touch! Go for it. You'll love it and enjoy its brilliance.

But if the answer is an audiophile experience of sound and video, do not buy this device. Start investigating a Cowon O2 or S9, or an iRiver Spinn.

Hope this helps.

- Written by a non-partisan audiophile.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 27, 2009 5:06 PM BST


Apple iPod Touch 8GB 2nd Generation
Apple iPod Touch 8GB 2nd Generation
Offered by TheBuzzer
Price: £139.99

274 of 287 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An OBJECTIVE plus (+) and minus (-) review. Please read this if you're making up your mind., 5 Jan. 2009
This is an impartial review based on my experience of the iPod Touch 2nd Generation, and other Personal Media Players.

Strengths:

+ WiFi and Safari Browser. Superb mobile browsing experience. For example, you can stream BBC iPlayer to the Touch perfectly. A real joy.

+ Youtube widget for playback of youtube videos.

+ Integrated Nike + Support, so that you can use the device as a training tool for exercise.

+ App Store. You can download from thousands of Apps on iTunes, including games, and stream internet radio, for instance.

+ Superb capacitive glass touch screen. Older touch screens use `resistive' technology. These work on a different principle, and are less responsive. (The Archos 5 uses a resistive screen. The Cowon S9, however, uses a capacitive one like the iPod Touch).

+ Incredible User Interface. Beautifully conceived and implemented. Music and Videos are organised with an astonishing attention to the user's goals, and you regularly feel that Apple designers have read your mind when you go about tasks.

Here's an example: you wish to download a podcast. You go to an internet address in Safari. Safari automatically grabs the address, boots you into iTunes (on the device itself), and takes you to the podcast listing within the iTunes store. Two more clicks and you're downloading your content. That's the way things should be done.

+ Advantages over the previous generation include a dedicated volume rocker, slightly more curvaceous design, slightly improved battery life, integrated Nike + support and mini speaker.

Weaknesses:

- Very, very average sound quality. Now it is a mystery to me why so many users and reviewers overlook this issue. Having owned the Touch, I have come to the conclusion that it is stylish Swiss Army Knife whose MAIN BLADE is blunt.

It is true that many people will have no issue with the sound quality probably because their only reference point to the world of personal media players is the iPod brand. This is useful ignorance, because I would challenge anyone not to be thoroughly crestfallen with the sound of this device compared to something as cheap yet beautiful sounding as the Sansa Clip.

- Video playback. If you are happy to be locked into the iTunes universe, then you will love this device. You will endlessly pay for movies and will enjoy them on this device. If like me, however, you like to play your own physical DVDs in DivX format,in addition to a range of movie files in various formats and codecs, then the Touch is simply not your friend. It only supports a few video codecs, which means as a device for video playback, it is somewhat paralysed.

- Terrible battery life. Three hours of mixed use, and the Touch is wheezing for a recharge. It's great being a Jack of all trades, but Jack gets tired rather too quickly sometimes!

- Being `locked in' to iTunes. There are some Apple hating brand lunatics who simply disparage anything Apple for the sake of it. For me, I feel that iTunes is an excellent software (especially on a Mac) but it is also limiting. With iTunes organising my device, I can't just drag and drop files onto the Touch, and this is a bit of a pain. But you may feel different, so this one is up in the air...

Conclusion and buying advice:

Having owned it, the Touch is either superb or mediocre depending on whether you wish to buy it as 1) your mini WiFi web browser with an App Store, or as 2) your multimedia player.

1) As a mini browser, it is excellent. Browse the web, download podcasts, stream iPlayer, etc. (But remember, when you're not near a WiFi signal, none of these capabilities count for anything).

2) But as a genuine media playback device, it just does not cut the mustard. Think of it as a second rank device in a field of stellar performers. The sound quality for music playback is just average, and in some cases, embarrassing when listened to devices made by Cowon, Sansa, iRiver and Sony. And its Video playback is equally crippled by its lack of codec support.

So what is the bottom line?

Well, I owned this device but decided to sell it when I bought a £20 Sansa Clip and stopped listening to music on it because the sound quality was so much superior on the Sansa. This is not hyperbole, and I do not hate Apple. In fact, I love Apple, so do take this as objective advice.

I simply realised that my priority was sound and video quality, and that I would get all of the extra features of the Touch most important to me (namely WiFi and a stunning User Interface) when I buy a Macbook in the future.

I have since purchased a Cowon O2, which is a stellar sounding device (admittedly without the Touch's `extra' features) but in a league of its own in terms of sound quality for music playback, and movie playback. (It supports a cornucopia of music and video files and in this regard is a much more accomplished device).

So then, what are you after?

A mini WiFi enabled device with music/video as an extra? Well then buy the Touch! Go for it. You'll love it and enjoy its brilliance.

But if the answer is an audiophile experience of sound and video, do not buy this device. Start investigating a Cowon O2 or S9, or an iRiver Spinn.

Hope this helps.

- Written by a non-partisan audiophile.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 3, 2009 3:09 PM BST


Koss Porta Pro On-Ear Headphones Classic, for iPod, iPhone, MP3 and Smartphone - Black/Silver
Koss Porta Pro On-Ear Headphones Classic, for iPod, iPhone, MP3 and Smartphone - Black/Silver
Price: £28.02

294 of 298 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Koss Porta Pro v Sennheiser PX100, 2 Jan. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Since everyone else has concentrated on the virtues of these excellent headphones, I thought it might be useful for people (who have researched) to offer the following subjective insights about the Koss Porta Pro and their main rival, the Sennheiser PX100 (which is also available from amazon at a similar price point).

I own both sets, so I would like to issue the following comments about their relative sound quality.

PX100 - These offer a very beautiful, well rounded sound. Not bass heavy, but very coherent, and thoroughly enjoyable as a listening experience. They tend to improve with 'run in', and sound terrific overall.

PortaPro - These offer better bass reproduction, but also sparkling mids and highs. They seem to produce a far richer sound overall, especially when comparing the same songs encoded in the same format (WAV) on a Cowon D2 personal media player.

In short, both these sets are excellent, but if the sole criterion is sound quality, my preference is just slightly for the Koss PortaPros. I have previously owned a pair of audiophile Sennheiser HD 595 headphones, and strongly feel that the sound quality of the Koss Porta Pro, in particular, is quite comparable.

I hope this review is useful to people who are on the fence, especially as no one else seems to have covered this comparison in their reviews.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 22, 2014 8:44 AM BST


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