Just found this one. Delete it if it a repost....
Source : http://reviews.ebay.com/The-Official-Nano-...000000002660651
To all applebots :
The Official Nano Clone Buying Guide (iPod v. Chipod)
This guide is both an overview of the popular 1st Gen Apple iPod Nano Knockoff (aka "Noname Nano Clone" aka "Chipod" aka "MP4 Player"), a review of my own 1st gen Nano clone, and a comparison of the 1st gen Nano vs. Nano Clone.
If you do a search for reviews on Apple iPod players on eBay, you'll currently find there are over 3,500. If you do a search for noname MP4 players, you'll find this one. And only this one. Strange, isn't it? Seems you can find hundreds of reviews for the Apple iPod Nano. But even though the Nano clone is one of the hottest selling items on eBay for 2006, and indeed the Chinese Apple clones have taken over 40% of Apple's market, for some strange reason, this is the first time anyone's written a proper review of one on eBay. You know what's even stranger? The Nano clone is better than the iPod Nano! Read my comparison below, and learn why!
CHIPOD v. IPOD: 13 REASONS TO BUY A NANO CLONE
1. You stave off world domination from the likes of Apple, (which has started to become "the new Microsoft"). If only for a day or so. And you hand it over to the lovely Chinese. Who brought us Egg Foo Young. Did any CEO's at Apple Headquarters ever come up with a dish as delicious as Egg Foo Young? Doubt it. It's no accident the most popular colour in iPod is white. That's also the colour of sheep. As it's no accident Jobs created iTunes. Sheep need a place to graze.
2. It can actually play MP3's! This means you don't have to get your music from iTunes, Apple's download site which its iPod Nano is normally meant to connect to for loading music files with**. You can get your music from just about any source, since MP3 is the most popular digital music format today. These clones can also play OGG and WMA format, but I prefer to stay away from WMA like the plague. Some people like it because at 64kbps, it is said to be the equal of a 128kbps MP3, but utilizing half the space (if you can believe that....).
**n.b. While the Apple iTunes service does not support mp3, _ the Apple Nano player does_. The Nano clones, known mainly as "MP4 players", don't really support MP4's (they must be converted twice first), which the iPod does.
3. It can actually play videos! You only get that when you move up to the larger Apple iPods, with the hard drives. But then you have the problem of waiting for the mechanical hard drive to fail, under use. Flash drives are far more reliable, and all Nano's and Nano clones use Flash drives. Except the screen on the Apple Nano is only there to select menu items. Whereas on the clones, you can take most any DVD or video file (including formats like AVI, MPG, MOV, RM, etc), and play it on the Nano clone (after it gets converted to the Nano's proprietary video format). If you get one with an AMV converter, its fast, and can pack a full length movie in maybe 250MB (figure about a third of your file size).
4. It has a LARGER SCREEN. 1.5" vs. 1.2" on the Apple Nano. 65,000 colors, minimum. Some Nano clones have 1.8" screens and more colours.
5. It does FM. You can get a Nano clone for what it costs you just to get an FM add-on for the Apple Nano. And the clone has a very nice built in FM Radio, with presets, and you can even record off of it! Can't do THAT with any Apple Nano...
6. You can record voice with the built-in mic, even have it start and stop automatically to the sound of a voice.
7. You can read eBooks in TXT format, so when you're out of movies to watch or music to listen, read a book!
8. You can switch the menu's language to any of 13 languages.
9. It's a USB "pen" drive. Meaning you can store any file on a Chipod's flash chip, and transfer it to another computer via USB. You can even encrypt a part of the flash drive, so others can't steal your data.
10. Like the Nano, you can also view pictures (JPG) on the Chipod.
11. It can play built-in games (ie. Tetris knockoffs, or whatever it might come with). It won't replace a PSP, but again, it makes it more versatile. You may be able to do this on a Nano, but only the later generations.
12. Some Nano clones also have a Telephone Book function, to store contact information.
13. The Chipods are highly modifiable and customizable, with many software & tools written for them - more so than the iPod, despite its widespread popularity (this depends on the firmware version, as the very latest versions do not have firmware customization support yet). You can find some of these tools on popular MP4 sites, ie. mympxplayer(dot)org.
(It is advised you do not mod your firmware unless you know exactly what you're
doing, otherwise you risk ruining your player! Don't say you haven't been warned...)
As music players, they are FANtastic for sound quality. That's once you throw out the included earphones and get some decent name brand phones. However, you'll need to buy an extra 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter to use the model I featured in this guide, because this type ofNano clone uses a nonstandard 2.5mm jack (others, like the i-Platinum, may have the std. 3.5mm jack). Add another $5 to the price, and you're still about $200 ahead of the Apple Nano. As an audiophile, I'm a fanatic about sound quality, and I find the sound quality on my Nano clone is better than any MP3 player I've heard, and everyone who hears it is amazed at how good my Nano clone sounds on music (through my Koss Sportapros). Output to a stereo, it also sounds FANtastic. I'd say out of the box, it's at least as good as the real Nano. However, in about 5 minutes, I easily added modifications to my Nano clone and it has since taken a quantum leap in sound quality (no joke!). After comparing it to a friend's Apple iPod Nano, I confirmed that my Nano clone is now FAR SUPERIOR to an unmodified iPod Nano! (See pic below for more info!). So its better than the original Nano in yet another way!
I won't compare the video quality with that of the Apple Nano, since the Nano can't play videos! Ideally, a 1.5" screen, no matter the quality, is not an ideal size for watching movies and such. The Nano clones can vary in their screen quality. Mine featured here is nothing special, and exhibits the typical "ghosting" effect you find on nothing special screens. This is like a delayed shadow that occurs when an image transitions into another. The faster the action, the more pronounced the effect. The size and ghosting effect might bother some people more than others. The converted files are greatly compressed and on some shows, you can see the low-res artifacts that are the cost of such high conversions. But if it allows me to put an entire season of the Family Guy on the player, and still have room for several full length movies or hundreds of MP3's, I can live with the imperfection. (You can use VirtualDub or other software to preprocess and improve your MP4 videos).
So far, I find it more suitable for watching tv shows than movies, particularly ones with little action. I think that it can play videos makes it far more versatile than a Nano, and that its always better to have some video capability, than none! If you want better than this in an unbranded "MP4" player, one with no ghosting, smoother video, sharper and richer colors, you can have that, but you'll pay more for it.
I read that it cost something like $100 to replace the iPod's battery, and you have to send it to Apple. (Apparently, its "only" about $50-$60 now...).Sending your player to Apple, also means you cant expect the same player back.You get someone elses Nano, without your music on it.
That's reason enough for me not to get any iPod! However, there are eBay sellers that sell batteries for the iPod cheaper, and guess what? If you can find one that's the same size as the one in your clone (or close enough to fit in its space), and about the same voltage rating, you can usually use that. Get a higher mAh rating, and you can get a better one than the one your clone came with, for the price of a McMeal. No more "feeding the giant" (Apple Corp. & It's Army of Lawyers).
One of the most obscene things for me about the Apple products, is the cost of Apple's accessories! My local electronics chain sells Apple armbands for the Nano for like $45! Yes, an armband that costs more than the Nano clone, which is better than the Nano! Now some Apple Nano accessories won't fit some Apple Nano products, depending on the generation of Nano you have. It's worse with the clones, trying to get a case that fits.
Some eBay sellers and off eBay online merchants do have silicone skins for the Nano clone MP4 players (ie. DIGOLE_COM). I've not seen any other type for these Chinese no-name Nano's, so I bought a leather and a silicone case designed for a 2nd gen Nano off of eBay, and simply modified it for the clone (On the Nano clone, the click wheel is located a bit lower than on the 2nd gen Nano, and the headphone jack is in a different place, plus the screen is larger, don't forget!). You can see pics of my hacked up Nano cases below. They may not be very pretty all cut up, but neither is an MP4 player with a cracked screen! (Tip: cut the plastic film thats on a new player, to just larger than the LCD screen, and use that as a protector. You can buy superior screen protectors on eBay for PDA's, and cut them to size).
(MP4 from ELLIESHANG, Leather case from LUXURYXL, white 2.5mm-3.5mm adapter from FACTORYLINE, silicone case from the dollar store)
I consider a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter essential with the purchase of a Nano clone, because they use the smaller jack and there's no good 2.5mm headphones I know of. I prefer not to have a bulky adapter sticking out on the side though, because that's inviting trouble (too easy to hit the adapter and mess up the player's internal jack). I opted for a cable type instead, which you can see in the photo above. It uses a small 45 degree angled jack which only protrudes just a bit beyond the case (because the 3.5mm end is a few inches away) and makes a tight fit, so you can't knock into it and damage the player's jack. Beyond that, you do have to figure out where to store the excess cable.
I find the speed of transfers of my Nano clone quite speedy, they can use the 2.0 USB interface. The USB cable the Nano clone comes with is not very easy to find, but some eBay sellers do have it (Shhhh.... ancient Chinese secret: its a Hirose 4pin type USB 2.0 cable).
CONSTRUCTION & RELIABILITY
The bottom half of my clone is aluminum, top half plastic, this is typical (some are fully metal bodied). The thickness is about 1mm thicker than the iPod Nano, which to my mind makes it 1mm sturdier. Otherwise, the size of the original & clones are comparable. Battery life expectancy may be 3 - 10 hours, depending on the usage or model, and the menu settings. Get a better quality battery or clone, get a better battery life. (Make sure the Nano clone has screws on the back to allow you to open it yourself, before you think about getting a replacement battery! Also, you need the same dimensions). The battery may need to be charged properly first, once or twice, before it starts to perform adequately. It appears to take about an hour to charge using the supplied AC power outlet charger (it can also be charged via the computer's USB port, but I suspect the AC charger is better).
I think the physical (case) construction, perhaps not quite up to iPod Nano standard, is quite fine for the price (if one won't survive a fall, neither is the other one likely to!). Can't say how long the battery will last yet, but even the Apple iPods had some issues with the longevity of their batteries. Like any iPod-style player, I believe the abuse the Nano clones will withstand is directly related to the case you keep them in, or how careful you are with them. I suggest a hard leather case (modified), a type I chose after much careful review of all the iPod cases. A really good thick silicone case might also work, but they'll cost as much as your clone! n.b. The cheap 2mm silicone case I bought at a dollar store for $2 (and later modified, see pic below), looked cute but wasn't my ideal. Once fitted, it shifted here and there a bit too easily, and attracted dust to itself. Plus, didn't offer that much in the way of protection. It may be okay if you plan to hook it to an armband or belt.
I've seen some critics calling Chipods "Chinese rubbish". Where do these people think the Apple iPods are made? The Royal Palace in London? Well sorry to disappoint the Applebots, but they're made in factories in China, along with all the Apple knockoffs. The factories are owned by Foxconn, and according to an article in the "The Mail" (on Sunday), a UK-based newspaper which visited the Apple factories in China and spoke to staff, the Apple iPods are made mostly by female workers, working 15 hour shifts who earn as little as £27 per month. So the high price of the Nano isn't because the people who actually make them are being well paid. According to the article, the Longhua plant contains 200,000 iPod workers, living in dormitories that house 100 people, and visitors from outside are not permitted.
Another article reports on iPods infected with a virus: mailonsunday(dot)co(dot)uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=411198&in_page_id=1770
Yet another on the proliferation of cracked screens and easily scratched bodies of the Nano: mailonsunday(dot)co(dot)uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=363735&in_page_id=1770
This is an article from The Guardian, about the expensive iPods that break down within about a year (1 year is, coincidentally, the guarantee given by Apple), and are told by Apple to get a new one. Apparently, the iPods are only meant to last one year. You can buy an extended warranty from Apple. But you can also buy a Chipod for the same price, or less: technology(dot)guardian(dot)co(dot)uk/news/story/0,,1784400,00.html
A lot of people complain that the Nano clones don't have the same music file access options you do with the Nano. That's one of their drawbacks, but I found it wasn't much of a problem for me. I'll explain in a bit more detail:
You can browse folders on the Apple Nano, and it recognizes id3 tags and you can sort music by its tags. There's no sorting music files on the clones, the files are there in the order you put them in on your hard drive, before transferring them to the player. The Nano clones can recognize id3 tags, and they will show artist & song title (and other vital information), while the song is playing. But you can't search as quickly or easily as on the Apple units. However, I find I can get by quite nicely, because my music is already properly sorted in their proper folders on my hard drive. (Say, each artist has their own folder on my computer). You search through the Nano clone as you would a hard drive, going up the directory tree, until you get to the root directory. And although one manual I read says otherwise, I can have subfolders on my Nano clone.
This means I can create a folder in the Nano's root directory, called "MUSIC", then within that, create many subfolders, each with the name of a musical artist. Then the artists music files go into their respective folders (up to 99 songs per folder). You can go through the tree to find the artist's folder, and play just the songs within that folder. Or you can have it play ALL songs on the unit, or other variations. Just don't try to get too fancy, by expecting it to play all songs of a certain genre or album title (by id3 tag). Unless you preorganize it that way on your computer before transferring the files. For the record, my Nano clone uses v.9.0.48 of the Action chipset firmware.
MUSIC PLAY DETAILS
You get a lot of options to play around with in each section, including the MUSIC section. You can opt for several EQ settings, several different play settings (ie. random shuffle, etc), and even change the pitch of songs.
No comparison, the Apple Nano's is unanimously considered better. It's very smooth to operate, whereas the clone only looks like Apple's wheel, but requires a distinct downward press on the four corners of its wheel, to create a true "click" sound. Personally, I found using the Apple's clickwheel a bit too "speedy" for my tastes. You have to spin your thumb around the wheel, which causes the cursor bar to move pretty rapidly, and it often caused me to overshoot the file I wanted (perhaps you can change this in the Apple's settings, I'm not sure). Well, trust me, you'll never have any such problem with the Nano clones! It's one file at a time, and sometimes there's a bit of a "lag" where you may think the click didn't work, but it's just taking a bit of time to acknowledge your input. It's not as bad as it sounds, if you ask me, unless you're really fussy about how fast you need to locate a particular song. Also, you can't easily use Apple's Click Wheel to advance songs with the player in your pocket, whereas you can with the Chipod.
A WORD OF WARNING ON 4GB+ PLAYERS!!!!!
BE CAREFUL buying any Nano knockoff advertised to be over 2GB flash ram! Apple hoarded most of the 4GB flash chips for themselves, so for the most part, 4GB+ Chipods don't exist! As of now (2/20/07), true 4GB 1st gen Nano clones (aka "Chipods") are just starting to come out, but few sellers have them and, as far as I know, there are currently NO sellers that have true 8GB 1st or 2nd gen Nano clones. (For more info, see my other guide, "The Official 4GB+ MP4 Player FAQ" for more info! It includes both blacklists and whitelists (of safe sellers)).
One obvious difference with an Apple Nano, is that it has 4GB, and as mentioned, you can only currently go up to 2GB on the Nano clone. That's still up to 500 songs, or 20 TV episodes or 8 full length movies. Need more space? Easy, get a second iPod Nano clone. You're still not up to half the cost of Apple's version of the Nano, and you have twice the chance of it surviving damage.
My MODIFIED NANO CLONE
Below is my beloved Nano clone in Powder Blue. It's about 3 days old, so don't be fooled by the lousy camera I used. There's a glare off the flash at the bottom left hand corner of the screen, and the Tom & Jerry cartoon on the screen has more colours and a bit better definition than depicted. The wording above the LCD screen says "MP4/AMV/REC/FM" and below the screen "Digital Player MP4". The black lanyard was not included (came with the case).
UPGRADING THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR MP4 PLAYER
Oh, that little white square below the player's LCD screen? That's the modification I was talking about earlier! It's actually a very unique little product I was making available on eBay recently (if I may be allowed to plug my own wares here, for a moment....). It may not look like it, but in about 5 minutes or less, it can create dramatic improvements to the sound of any mp3/mp4 player on the market (improvements to the quality of video are possible as well). I was "giving away" samplers for $2.99 (pack of one dozen), and full packages of 50 for $9.99 (both with money back guarantees!). If there's any interest in my MP4 Improvement Kits, email me, and I will consider making them available to eBayers again. Other than that, the only sane way I know to upgrade the sound of a Nano clone is by upgrading the headphones. (Of course, good headphones + my MP4 Improvement Kit = unbeatable combination!).
REPLACING THE NANO KNOCKOFF'S HEADPHONES
If you do look for name brand phones for your Nano, beware of buying Sennheiser CX300 or Creative EP-630 earbuds on eBay, there are a great many fakes around (check out the eBay guides on this). The real ones however, are reputed to be good. The fake EP630's? Well it depends on who you talk to.... If you're intent on getting fake CX300's or EP630's (and if you buy them on eBay, you pretty much have little choice about that!), I would suggest a little known knockoff of the EP630, called the "i-Voda" (made by OVC), assuming its still available on eBay by the time you are reading this. It may be well superior to the fakes at the cheap price of the fakes. For the absolute cheapest and "bestest" earbuds on eBay (at their price), I suggest the Sennheiser
MX400's, as sold by "ELECTRONUUS". These were only $1.99US (about $4.50US SHIPPED). They dont come with the original plastic box or packaging, so I am unable to confirm if they are fakes or not, but I can confirm they sound absolutely fantastic, and not anything like their
selling price. Be warned they are not for bass freaks and have a short cord.
For portable headphones, apart from the Koss Portapro/Sportapro models, I tried and like the Sennheiser PX100's (get 'em in white, can't go wrong!), but KOSS KSC-75s, KSC-35s, and Philips HS820 are also well regarded choices. Although they look cool, you might be better staying away from all earbud phones that look like the original Apple iPod ones. Even those from Apple are not known to be all that good.
I hope this has been a useful basic guide to the Nano clone. If I have left any significant information on the Chipods you would have liked to see here, or if there are any criticisms or inaccuracies to be corrected, let me know. If you found this guide helpful, please vote "Yes" so others will more easily find it!
*ps: how true is it..
Official Nano Clone Buying Guide (iPod v. Chipod), ~L.O.L~