|Can't believe I still have this bad boy.|
So I bought a Chipod...
Just got it in the mail last week direct from Hong Kong. I kept seeing all these really cheap MP4 players running around eBay so I said why not take a chance and order one. Most I had to lose was about $25. So I got this one (mostly because it stayed in a range I was willing to part with and also because bidding is and remains really competitive for these machines).
First I want to say that when I ordered this I expected to wait a while for it. I wasn't disappointed. It took a month to get to me. Better than 4 to 6 weeks I'd say.
Second I want to say that before I got this thing I had no idea that MP4s in Hong Kong are different from everywhere else. They use AMV files in their players. A fact that was hidden in plain sight in the item description.
Despite this I went to work trying this thing out. I found it's actually pretty cool.
In comparison to the iPod, this player has a few things going for it.
The Chipod can play mp3 files as well as an iPod. Noticeably missing is the album art. For some people that's just fluff anyway. Without an interface program, you have to organize your own music files. Pretty simple to just drag and drop from your My Music folder if you've been ripping with Media Player. However, get used to the fact that the "wheel" doesn't work nearly as well as it does on an iPod. The Menu button doubles as the Enter button. It's kinda easy to forget that center button isn't Enter anymore. That said, you better make your "playlist" well in advance and put all that music in their own folders.
Two things that the Chipod has that you won't find on an iPod is an equalizer and a tempo setting. Those are fun to play with.
So dark the con of man.
Ok, AMV video is bad. It's not bad to the point where you can't watch it, but it's a far cry from the Apple MP4.
My first challenge was converting the MP4 videos I had made using Handbrake into AMV files. Sure the Chipod came with software but installing it proved to be a huge mistake...it was in CHINESE!
After uninstalling the crap and reinstalling iTunes and Quicktime (yep, it messed with those), I started hunting for what I needed. I finally settled on Azera Free MP4 to AVI Converter to convert my MP4s to AVIs. Then I used Bytessence's AMVConverter to convert the AVI to AMV.
Now I have video on the go. It's not great video, but it's fun when I've got nothing else to do. Besides the quality of AMV, the biggest drawback of video on the Chipod is fast forward/rewind. I don't know if AMV supports chapters but I'd love to find out because in order to fast forward or rewind I have to hold down the corresponding button until it gets to the part I want. At my best guess I think it does this at a constant rate of about 10x.
About the same as the video. Not really that great. Think first-generation camera phones.
Oh, and all of a sudden the center button is Enter.
Awesome feature! I wish I had this on my iPod.
Voice Record and Voice Playback
Where the heck is the mic on this thing?!
This works surprisingly well. Not that I ever have need to do recordings but it's nice to have the option available.
Don't believe the hype! It's just text file reading!
Apparently you can store phone numbers in this thing. I haven't really played with this feature but I can tell it's something build directly into the player because there's no file associated with it.
It comes with three built in games and I only one of them have any real fun potential: Bricks a 2-D tetris clone. The other two aren't even worth mentioning.
All in all, I give my Chipod a 6/10. Yes it fails, but it has some strong points.
You really do get what you pay for.