In MP3 Showdown, Winners Are iPod Touch And Sansa View

Okay, so it’s not like there aren’t 15,000 MP3-player reviews already on the web, but SmartMoney decided to jump on the bandwagon and rate five 8-gigabyte MP3 players. Instead of hard stats and lab tests, they handed the devices to an NYU music instructor and audiophile and asked him to walk around the city playing with them. The Apple iPod Touch—at $300, the most expensive of the lot—came out on top, which probably doesn’t surprise anyone, but the SanDisk Sansa View performed well too.

Microsoft’s Zune actually came in second place, but when you compare price and battery life, the Sansa View is the better value.

  • Apple iPod Touch – great sound and interface
  • Microsoft Zune – great sound, great UI but hypersensitive
  • SanDisk Sansa View – half the price of the Touch, navigation mimics traditional iPods, great sound
  • Creative Zen – large screen but requires too much button mashing
  • Samsung P2 – touchscreen is “finicky”, sound is “flat”

“Closing In on the iPod?” [SmartMoney]
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. kimsama says:

    Actually, this isn’t surprising to anyone who’s owned a Sansa. I love ’em — they are extremely good (with great features) and the price is right.

  2. sleze69 says:

    I’ll take my Gmini 400 any day of the week over an Ipod. Dragging and dropping mp3s into the music folder is about as intuitive as it gets.

  3. IrisMR says:

    I <3 my Sansa clip. Sure it’s not fancy but it does the job and is tiny weenie.

  4. Trae says:

    Half of the time that I read the Consumerist, I do it on my 8 gig Touch.

    Just saying.

  5. Joafu says:

    I tried out my friend’s Touch on New Year’s Eve, and it was fricken sweet. A bit over-priced for sure, but darned if I didn’t feel like a different person afterwards. I’ve tried the Zen and the Zune, not impressed. The touches are flash memory, right?

  6. m0unds says:

    the “sound” of stuff is purely a matter of opinion. someone might think something sounds “flat” and another person other may think it sounds great. people should try devices themselves and form their own opinions.

  7. Zgeg says:

    If the touch could somehow mange more than 16 gigs I would be on board.. Until it can handle the 9298 songs and 32 movies I currently have on my video ipod (aka “Classic”) then I’ll get one..

  8. Trae says:

    @Joafu: Yeah – the Touch is flash memory, hence why they’re only 8 and 16 gig models of it.

    I love the thing… but the dirty secret of the Touch is that it’s really a PDA disguised as an MP3 player. Which I have no problem with by the way — it allowed me to retire my old Casio E125 finally. :P

  9. Jthmeffy says:

    I got a 16GB touch on my birthday. I am absolutely in love with the damn thing. I would recommend it to anyone.

  10. LoLoAGoGo says:

    I love my 16GB Touch. Cannot wait for additional add ons (I may just hack it myself).

  11. BStu says:

    I do wish the Touch managed more than 16 gigs, but I finally got over it and ordered one at Amazaon’s cutrate pre-update prices. Should arrive tomorrow and I’m excited. After playing with an iPhone, I’m totally sold on the touch screen interface. It really does feel like the future has arrived and with videos, WiFi, and YouTube, I’m looking forward to getting it. Even if I will covet the inevitable 32 Gb model that I’m sure will be announced tomorrow for the same price.

  12. riverstyxxx says:

    I used to have a 40gb Creative Zen Player. Only costed 100 bucks too, worked great until I dropped it in the toilet one night.

  13. ekthesy says:


    I seem to be the lone dissenting opinion that thinks 16 GB is plenty. Actually, I have an 8GB Touch and I find it more than enough space. It all depends on what kind of “listener” you are…some people, like my brother, are crazy about putting every last CD on his MP3 player…he even converted my parents’ old LPs, for crying out loud. So he has one of those massive jukebox players, and he’s happy.

    Me, I like loading different music in every day, depending on what I am going to be doing while I’m listening…I like listening to music on Shuffle…when I had a large-capacity iPod, I found myself skipping a lot of songs I didn’t want to hear, so by cherry-picking my collection, I avoid having to do that (and also having to constantly take my iPod out in public).

    I bought the Touch, as someone commented upthread, as basically an upgrade to my 2nd-gen Shuffle that came with a pretty decent PDA as well as wi-fi capability, which was really the killer app for me.

  14. @ekthesy: I still am using my Gen 1 iPod Shuffle 1 gig. It’s solid, no screens to break, and after two years, still chugging along. I mostly listen to podcasts, and I don’t store them on the shuffle when I’m done listening, so it’s the perfect size.

  15. kbarrett says:

    Sansa + Rockbox FTW.

  16. shadow735 says:

    I pod touch sucks till they get a 80 gig or higher its a waste of money

  17. rjhiggins says:

    @m0unds: Not entirely. There are plenty of ways to quantify sound quality. But you’re right, some people prefer sound that doesn’t measure up to industry standards.

  18. meanwalrus18 says:

    i dont know any other devices that give you wifi access and browsing free, plus duh the “touch” screen is sweet, also 16 gigs of storage is plenty! unless you have a bunch of greatest hits or just random mp3s here and there or Now 11-26….i dont see the problem with making a playlist and just making a few to switch it up

  19. ekthesy says:


    Ding! I now use my Shuffle exclusively for podcasts…I just sort of leave it to update, and each Monday I can pick it up with a week’s worth of multiple podcasts loaded.

    And from a durability perspective–I have knocked that little bugger around, there are chips and scratches all over it, still works great. I guess that’s the flash memory talking. My 1st gen Nano, if you breathed on it funny it would crash.

  20. FLConsumer says:

    I’ve been buying the little 1GB Sandisk/Sansa MP3 players off Woot. For $12, I can’t go wrong. Uses a standard AAA battery and seems to last about a month or so on a full charge using Sanyo Eneloop batteries. Sure, it’s only 1GB, but at this price, who cares? I have couple of them floating around. No major loss if one gets destroyed or lost.

  21. dewsipper says:

    I got a Sansa View for Christmas. It works GREAT! Especially paired with Amazon’s video downloads. One thing I would definitely mention – the view also takes MicroSD cards.

  22. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    This “showdown” was the opinion of only one person who claims to be an audiophile? I think Smart Money is fishing for Apple sponsor money. Haha.

  23. seeker1321 says:

    so being an audiophile makes him an expert on user interfaces? I thought he was supposed to test sound quality. Just another ipod sheep.

  24. snoop-blog says:

    i have 3 mp3 players, can’t remember how many years its been since i’ve used them, but i have em.

  25. mrosedal says:

    Iaudio will blow you away. Take it from me…and audiophile and music professional. The sound is superb and features will blow your mind!

  26. moorem2 says:


    The 8 gig touch is more than enough. I have 16+ gigs of music, countless TV shows and movies ect. and my 8 gig touch is more than enough. Grant it, it would be sweet to have all of my digital media in one place, but if we’re honest with ourselves, outside of the, look how much shit I have factor, the 8 gig ipod touch has enough room for all the music I really want to listen to. I don’t need to have Hanson’s 3 CD’s, All 5 versions of DMB’s Crash, and the countless other junk I have saved on my mac.

  27. Zimorodok says:

    I love my Cowon D2. Touchscreen, 4GB onboard + SDHC expansion slot (they have an 8 GB model now), drag & drop (functions like a flash drive). $210 on newegg.

  28. Trae says:

    @shadow735: Not everyone needs that much space. Bigger isn’t always better.

  29. synergy says:

    I love my Sansa and my Creative Zen and Micro (don’t ask how I ended up with so many lol).

    @ekthesy: hear hear. I don’t understand the need to have a thousand or five thousand songs on. You won’t hear your favorite song for months if you put it on shuffle. Heck, I have a 4G and that’s enough for me.

  30. synergy says:

    As a sidenote, it amuses me how much people go on about how innovative the iPods are. Considering Apple has been sued over the click wheel and the navigation system (by Creative), it doesn’t take a genius to steal someone else’s work.

  31. flipzter says:

    Meh. Jailbreak the ipod touch for an all inclusive multimedia device. Wifi browsing, ebooks, games, music, and video. Plus so much customization of the device with wallpaper, background, custom icons, etc.

  32. Gloria says:

    I like fancy touch interfaces, but with Canadian winters, I prefer being able to set volumes and skip songs without having to rip my gloves off. So I like my little Zen V, since its buttons all provide tactile feedback.

    Memory isn’t just about music. I find my players super handy as flash drives to bring some movies to a friend’s house, swap files, etc.

  33. Suffer says:

    Flash players just don’t cut it for me. My music tastes are so varied that I need to be able to carry my entire collection at once. Add to that the fact that my collection is almost entirely in WMA and I like to record TV on my MCE box….yeah, I’m getting a Zune 80 next week.

  34. othium says:

    @kbarrett: I LOVE Rockbox on my Sansa! Now that they have a 12 gig Micro SD card, those that bought the 8 gig version can have a 20 gig player. (It might be a bit for the price to drop to affordable levels though..)

    My e-250 was purchased in 2006 and it works extremely well. Having the Rockbox firmware on it gives me a lot more choices. I can change the theme to a different look, swap out the font or change it’s size for easier reading, watch mpeg movies, record from the radio or from the microphone, browse photos, play games (I missed my bus stop several times because I was playing Counterstrike!) and read e-books.

    Quite a versatile little player. It even plays music files!

  35. @ekthesy: I went on Ebay and got the “Otterbox” for my shuffle for dirt cheap because they updated the series. True, it’s only waterproof to one meter, but still, this thing lets me do my walks in the rain or snow, as well as when I’m working on my farm in the crappy weather, and not have to worry about it getting wet. It’s pretty much the best thing that came out of my relationship w/my Ex(it’s also almost lasted as long as we did).