With the Apple iPod being all the rage and making an appearance in 50 Cent’s video for “P.I.M.P.,” it was only a short time before a similar product, but geared more toward the PC was released. Granted, the IPod can be used by a Windows user, but while it will play MP3s, it will not play WM’s which, at a smaller size and lower transfer rate, sound better than MP3s. Philips has answered this demand, recently releasing the HDD 100 Audio Jukebox, which not only has a sufficiently large hard drive, but also plays WMAs.
Unlike the iPod, the Audio Jukebox is only available with a 15 GB hard drive – adequate for most users. The user interface is strikingly similar to the IPod and is very intuitive, with an easy learning cure. Listeners will be able to locate any song on the HDD 100 within moments of picking up the Jukebox. The Jukebox is also equipped with a microphone for recording purposes, but this is even less useful than a cell phone with a camera and really shouldn’t be a selling point. The remote control however, is of good use as you can put the Jukebox on hold and place it in your pocket, but still be able to skip songs and adjust volume.
The one major drawback the HDD 100 presents is that it has a tendency to lock up, especially if you try to play low quality – 64 Kbps – WMAs. When customer service was contacted about this problem, its response was that the company knew it was a problem and the only solution is to reset the Jukebox, a simple process, but an inconvenience. While the IPod is now in its third generation and has had the opportunity to work out many of its flaws, the HDD 100 seems to be a product that was rushed to the market despite the fact its manufacturers were aware of its problems. If you like using Windows Media Players and are attached to your WMAs, you might look into the HDD 100, but with different hard drive sizes available and superior design and function, the IPod is still the top dog in MP3 players.
Rating: 2 1/2 stars.