It took me some time to actually own a portable digital music player (mp3 player), because I didn’t want an mp3 player, really. I was searching for an ogg vorbis player and it takes some effort to find one, especially in Brazil where the sound format is virtually unheard of.
I was gladly surprised when I was in FNAC one day and found a player which clearly stated in the box that it was able to play .ogg files (okay, ogg vorbis for the purists out there. but I’ll say .ogg from now on.) and better yet, even not counting this feature, it was actually the player with the best cost/benefit ratio on that store. It’s the Samsung U3.
I’ve been using it for about two months now, and I am enjoying it. You should take this with a grain of salt, since I didn’t have many requirements from a digital player except that it could play .ogg files, and I’m not an expert or music lover. I’m just an occasional listener. The reviews I have read about it tend to be good though, even regarding the sound quality.
One nice thing is it’s form factor. The player is very small, thin and light. I also like it’s very bright OLED screen, and the fact that it’s very simple to use in Linux. It just presents itself as a regular pen drive. It sports 2 GB of capacity, FM radio, sound recording, progressive “fast forward”…
The main drawback is it’s very sensitive touch buttons. They’re cool, but not very practical. You need to look at the device to see where to touch (but eventually you develop your muscle memory and just know where buttons are). You also need to use the player’s hold key a lot, otherwise buttons will activate all the time while the player is in your pocket.
Now, why this need of playing .ogg files? I have all my CDs encoded in ogg vorbis format, and didn’t want to reencode it all. I think ogg vorbis is a better format than mp3 since it’s newer (mp3 is already more than 10 years old. some advances in lossy audio compression must have been made since then!) and patent-unencumbered. Before you ask: no, I can’t hear the difference in quality between .ogg and .mp3… It’s more the decision of an engineer who preferred to go with the newer, shinier system.