September 11, 2006

Return of the AntiPod Nano!

I just wanted to give an update on my "AntiPod Nano" - aka my new mp3/mp4 player. There have been some questions, especially since it was so cheap. It just seems too good to be true.

The player seems to be most of what it was advertised to be. I can't get it to record, but it does have audio and video playback, it does have an FM tuner, it even has ebook and contacts list support. Just no record, (that I can get it to work, anyway - there is a hole on the side labeled "mic" but selecting record from the menu results in a reboot).

What the player is, is what's called a S1 mp3 player (actually, an S1 mp4, player, but anyway.) They are cheap knock offs made in China. There are users lists and forums - one such is The controls are kludgy, and it's rife with copyright and patent violations. (The box has mp3 / mp4 writen with an upside W from the Sony Walkman logo, and every page of the horribly translated manual has the Apple logo on it.) It's a click wheel design, like the iPod.

I've heard the rumors (on that it may not actually be 4 GB - just 2 GB. It says 4 GB when I connect it to my PC - but they said if I format the drive, it will only be 2 GB, or even 1 GB. That is not the case (at least not for me). What some people have problems with is, after 2 GB, it starts giving them error messages, so they reformat the drive to FAT 16 and only get 2 gigs. The problem isn't the player - it's the format. FAT 16 only supports partitions up to 2 GB (or so I've been told). I've reformatted it twice to FAT 32, and it gives me 4 full GB. (I haven't put that many songs on it yet, so I can't vouch for it not having error messages. Also, before I formatted the drive, my MacBook didn't even recognize that it existed. It now works.

There is no real way to organize the music. You can't sort or shuffle on the device at all. The mp3s play in alphabetical order within the folders. Speaking of folders - you can only have 99 files in a given folder. It just won't recognize file # 100 or higher. And you can only have folders one deep (so music1/ and music2/ not music1/a/ music1/b/ - just top level folders). I'm not sure, but I'd guess you can only have 99 folders - so 99 * 99 (9801) is your absolute limit of number of files.

Also, you don't load it through iTunes. You just use it like a drive. I read something about using Windows Media Player to load it (and maybe that will let you arrange playlists or whatever) - but I'll just stick with doing it myself.

The point is - if you are willing to put up with some frustation and limitations - it's a good deal. If you just want a simple player - and video player and/or money isn't important - get something else.

The Cash On Delivery thing threw me for a loop, too. But look at it this way - if it's COD, they can't take your money without shipping you *something*. It could be an empty box or an envelope - but you will get something. If you pay with a Credit or Debit Card or electronic check - they have your money before anything leaves their office. It does cost about a buck to get a money order from the post office or a gas station or something - but it's not much, (I paid $0.89 I believe.)

I can't completely recommend this site. I mean, it's a little shaddy, but I got what I ordered (well, I also ordered a 4 GB MiniSD card, but got a 4 GB SD card, so there was a mistake.) So it's really up to you whether the risk is worth the reward. I can say it's not a total scam - they didn't rob me - but there's 0 service after the sale (no replies to my email saying I got the wrong card and can't get record to work).

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