Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The iPod Nano Clone Part 2

The iPod Nano MP4 2GB clone we received came in a small package, nothing fancy, along with headphones, a CD (for Drivers and Video AMV converter), a USB cord, and a wall charger. The USB cable for the MP4 player was pretty poor quality, and our computer didn't recognize it, but we had an extra USB cable from a digital video camera that worked. The drivers on the CD weren't needed, as we had Windows XP, and the computer automatically recognized the device once the USB cable was connected. Loading music was accomplished by just adding a Music folder into the device by going through My Computer to access it. First off, we checked the device using MP3 Player Utilities programto find out if it was truly 2GB, and it was, so we didn't have a hacked player (Whew!)

The MP4 player came with two videos preloaded onto it, one song, and a few pictures. The videos on the iPod clone 2GB MP4 player worked fine, and didn't exhibit much 'ghosting', the song sounded fine, and the pictures were easy to find. However, at first it was somewhat difficult to navigate the MP4 player's firmware, and browse between different functions, but this was accomplished after getting the hang of the MP4 player.

From the outside, it is hard to tell the iPod Nano Clone MP4 we received, and a real iPod Nano, apart at first glance. We compared a real Nano with our model, and a few things stood out. First, the screen on our MP4 player is 1.8 inches, larger than the small 1.5 inch screen on the real Nano. The players weigh about the same amount, but the clone player has a USB port on the bottom, while the real Nano has a connection point to mount it onto a charging and syncing dock. Besides that, they look basically the same, and most people probably wouldn't be able to tell them apart. True iPod's have a 'click' wheel on the front that is used to scroll between selections. This iPod Nano clone has wheel that looks exactly the same, but it does not work for scrolling. Instead, it functions with a push-button function, a 'push-click' like method.

The CD also came with a MP4 video conversion tool program, but it did not work. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, this wasn't too much of a hassle, as we found a great MP4 video converter called AMV Converter that would convert .AVI and other files to the needed .AMV format to play.

While we are on the subject of videos, let’ talk about how these players play videos. MP3 players do not play videos, like the iPod Nano or iRiver H10, and only play music. MP4 players play both music and videos, although the video file format differs for different MP4 players. The cheapest MP4 players only play a video format called .MTV, and it is supposedly very low in quality. Most MP4 players, though, play a video format called .AMV, which is higher in quality in than .MTV, and is more widely used than .MTV. The clone player we bought off of eBay was advertised as playing only .MTV format, but it ended up playing .AMV format fine. Finally, some of the newer MP4 players coming out of China, and other countries can play .AVI and other more common video formats without having to convert them, and are quite high quality according to reports.

Back to our MP4 iPod Clone player-after fiddling around with it, we were able to navigate it with ease, add and view videos, photos, and listen to music. Videos play fine, but don’t expect high-definition quality, or anything of that sort. Subtitles are pretty much impossible to read, so don’t buy a Nano Clone MP4 player if you are looking for a portable Anime player. The only problem we still haven’t been able to figure out on the MP4 player is how to prevent the player’s built in date and time stamp from refreshing every time the MP4 Nano clone player was turned off.

The player’s background and it’s “firmware’ (the browsing system to select from different types of media in the player) is probably the most tricky part. People who aren’t too technologically savvy will probably have a difficult time figuring out the player, as the included instructions aren’t much help (written in poor, broken English). Others who are used to simply booting up iTunes and loading up their music files to their iPod will probably have a harder time figuring out how to load music onto an MP4 player. However, it’s really not too hard to load music, videos, and pictures to the MP4 player, as it works similar to a USB flash drive.

This mini-review of the firmware and browser wouldn't be complete without mentioning the player’s graphics. They are somewhat harsh and garish compared to the iPods sleek navigation system, and don’t look anywhere as nice. However, they are easy to understand (100% real English, plus other languages that may be selected from), and, they can be replaced (although this is a risky step!) with your own background images by editing the firmware with software available online (be careful doing this though, and make sure to back-up your MP4 firmware before trying this).

All in all, this little iPod Nano 2GB Clone Player works quite well, especially for its cost. My friend is really happy with his device, and has loaded a lot of music, videos, and pictures to the MP4 player. For about $40, he has received a 2GB MP3 player that looks almost exactly like a Nano, but has a bigger screen and plays videos. It can be a little difficult to navigate and figure out in the beginning, but it is truly worth it, as my friend will tell you. If you are looking for a low-cost alternative to most MP3 and video players, and are willing to figure a MP4 player out, then look into these awesome little MP4 players.


Big Anda said...

I bought a similar player, however my Windows XP machine wouldnt recognise it. Would you know what's it displaying in your device manager?

Godzzla said...

Thanks for all the info. I've got a clone that were selling at our store, but couldn't sell them without a video to play on our demo. Couldn't get it to work with an MP4 file, but thanks to your article I was able to download the great AMV converter, and BINGO. Thanks again.