M3 Follow-up

Nov 15 2004

I’m getting more requests about my experience with the M3, so here’s a little follow-up. Am I mostly mentioning the quirks here, I hyped the device up last time ;)

The device feels a lot like the sony minidisc I had before the ipod. The interface is not as clean and intuitive as the ipod. Of course this is partly due to the fact that I have used the ipod for long and got used to the wheel a lot. Habit is an iron shirt they say. On the other hand I didn’t need to read the manual for the ipod, I did with the M3 and the minidisc.

Seeking within a track is very painful, nowhere near the ipod. That must be the place where I miss the wheel a lot. Sucks if you have long tracks (like DJ sets). It’s virtually impossible to seek within one on the M3. It doesn’t even speed up the seeking after holding the FF jog for a while.

Apple is actually stupid not to do proper pitch shifting with the wheel. Would be a handy DJ deck to have only a mixer and two ipods.

I am a bit worried about damaging the cable for the remote. All navigation happens on the remote, so the device is useless without it. On the other hand it’s really nice for winter since you don’t need to dig up the player from your pocket to navigate to another album ;)

But what the thing absolutely rocks for is a storage device. USB2 appears faster than firewire on the ipod. Like the ipod it is also powered by the single (usb) cable. But unlike firewire, usb is on every computer. Also it doesn’t seem to discharge when off like the ipod. At least not so significantly. You need a small dongle to get all the I/O ports though :/

The FM radio mp3 recording absolutely rocks too. If there’s anything worthy on the radio that is ;). You hear a track you like, one button and plop you got it. No matter where you are (as long as the signal’s fine ;) The microphone recording is also suprisingly good quality.

While with oggs the device should be able to do gapless playback, there is quite a gap before an ogg plays. The device doesn’t do hacks like using a cue file on a large mp3 either.

Oh and the thing that I take for granted, but should be mentioned is that it sounds great (if you attach good headphones). The provided headphones look like tiny hammers and stick outside a lot. If you like to listen to music in bed, turning on the side will push them into your brain ;)

So to sum it up - it’s not as easy to use as the ipod, but it also does more than the ipod. I’m glad I did the switch. If you’re not into oggs or flac, mp3 recording (line-in, radio, mic) or universal portable hard drive, are ok with using a propritary app to handle your music library or hassle with a binary database of the songs on the device (read: if you’re an average Joe or Jane) I’d still recommend the ipod.

Update: Another nice thing would be to combine this device with the Linksys NSLU2 that Havoc blogged about.