After Hours

Photos: Six alternatives to the iPod

"Alternatives" is so much nicer than "killers," don't you think? While the iPod and its brethren hold a substantial lead in the MP3 player market, there are definitely some non-iPod players that can hold their own--and even surpass the iPod. Maybe you want more features than the iPod can provide. Perhaps you prefer a refreshingly different design (remember, Think Different). A bigger screen? Better battery life? Or maybe you'd rather not be locked into the iTunes/iPod universe. Whatever the case, you have a bevy of high-capacity options.'s James Kim takes a look at a few of the better alternatives to the iPod.

Creative Zen Vision (30GB)

The good: Available in five colors, the Creative Zen Vision:M has an incredible screen, a simple interface, excellent video battery life, an FM tuner and recorder, and a voice recorder. It features a customizable Shortcut button, and it supports a wide range of online music stores and subscription services, as well as video formats. It has excellent audio and video quality.

The bad: The Creative Zen Vision:M has no iTunes-like video content--yet. Some will find the touch-pad controller frustrating. The black model scratches easily. The documentation is skimpy. You must use an adapter for transfers and power, meaning that occasionally you need two cables and the adapter. A dock and an A/V-out cable are not included. Finally, the Zen Vision:M isn't as elegant as an iPod.

The bottom line: The dazzling, DRM-friendly Creative Zen Vision:M gives the iPod a run for the money as the current high-capacity WMA champ.

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CNET Networks

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the ...