Toshiba Gigabeat S + Windows Media 11 and URGE

I got a new MP3 player this week. Needed something more than my 5-year-old iPOD. After a dreadful experience with a bad sync cable having to be replaced I am happy to report — this thing is awesome!

It has the new Windows Media Mobile player on it, and this plus the new Windows Media Player 11 is really a slick little package. WATCH OUT Apple! This could be the iPOD killer. iTUNES is nice, but I’ve never cared for it’s interface — and comparing it now it’s actually really staid and old looking compared to this new combination I have. Plus it effortlessly found all my pictures and videos, and synced them with the gigabeat player. Very slick.

The Toshiba gigabeat player itself is well designed — 30GB hard drive player with good connection options. You can even output to a TV and watch the videos you have on it (cables came included). Volume and sound are great, and the screen is gorgeous.

So as a part of Windows Media Player 11, they have bundled the new URGE music store, run by MTV. So I signed-up for the free trial. I have to say I’m impressed. Every obscure song I looked for they had, and then I got into the “More music like this” feature which searches for other artists and songs that are similar to what you have selected. I found more cool stuff and songs I remembered and loved that needed to be in my collection immediately! It was easy to select them, they downloaded and synced, again, flawlessly. Even with album art to boot!

After the free trial it costs you $14 a month — but it’s for all you can eat. Or you can purchase songs for $0.99 each. So I guess you could get stuck and tethered to the service if you don’t by the songs outright (which, I’m sure, is what they want). However, searching and sampling all these songs was very easy, and I’d spend the money just for the directory and searching service alone.

Anyways, enough fluff. None of this is new — others have done it before. But the entire “package” of this combination is very nice — This is good stuff. I can’t believe something like this came from Microsoft.

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