It's no secret that I can't exercise without my cute pink iPod Mini, but the one thing that I wish it had was an FM tuner. When I run races, I like having a radio so I can get news and traffic reports. Some local stations cover races, and yeah, I should be focused on running, but I'm no hardcore racer. I run to finish and to have fun, and music and current events is crucial to my sense of fun during a 13.1 mile run.
Yeah, I could add an accessory to my iPod to get the radio but I really don't want to add on another thing just for a race, like the Kaiser SF Half Marathon I'm signed up for. I like to go as light as possible. So, Best Buy gave me one of their Insignia brand 1GB KIX mp3 players to try out. Here's my list of "Turn-ons" and the "Turn-offs" and what I think overall of the KIX. The Apple Shuffle has a run for the money! Read on...
- The FM Tuner! You can preset up to 20 stations, and the reception was pretty darn clear in my area.
- It's very light. It's not as small as an Apple Shuffle which holds 1GB as well, but the KIX allows you to have playlists and it comes with the FM tuner.
- It can play with PCs and Macs.
- Minimum system requirement is WIN 2000/ME and Mac OS9, so those of you who have dinosaur systems, you can use it too. But seriously, these OSs are so 20th century. Upgrade!
- The KIX is $49.99 which is pretty affordable and $30 less than a Shuffle.
- It's easy to import any of your existing audio type files, MP3, WMA, WAV and Audible.
- The music management system is the Best Buy Music Center powered by Rhapsody and it is a subscription based service. I really don't like subscription services because basically you are "renting" music. Yes, you have the option to buy songs for .98cents but you have to subscribe first. Once you cancel your subscription, any playlists you created using subscribed music goes empty. It takes a lot of time to create those playlists. It's like renting furniture for your home. Once you stop paying, they take the furniture away. Some people like subscription services, personally, I'd rather just buy my songs upfront. I find subscription services unnecessary high maintenance, but that's me.
- There is no clip or accessory clip-ons. You have to stick the KIX in your pocket, and on race day, what pockets I do have are already pretty full. I want a clip!
- If you are in the middle of a song, and want to go back to the menu to find another song to play, the current song shuts off. Yeah, silence. With an iPod, you can go search around the menu all you like and the last song you were listening to is still playing in the background. There is no song disruption, and I like that. Not so with the KIX. That's a feature I never knew I cared about until using the KIX.
- The Best Buy Music store keeps bugging you to sign up for subscription if you haven't. You can't do much on the interface without an annoying "SUBSCRIBE" window or message popping up. At set-up, I just wanted to play around and hear 30sec samples like Janet Jackson's new song "Feedback," but I didn't get far because of the SUBSCRIBE, SUBSCRIBE, SUBSCRIBE messages. So, I went through the process, and I didn't have to whip out a credit card which is mainly why I avoid clicking on any "Subscribe" buttons even when it says" your first 30 days are free." That always means (to me), it's free for 30 days until you contact us back to cancel so we don't charge your card, an I am one of those folks who NEVER remembers to cancel.
The KIX is a good buy as a secondary mp3 player or as an affordable player for a kid. I would buy something like this for my nieces because it's robust enough to do quite a bit yet it's below $50. Even though the KIX doesn't have a clip, I'd use it on my upcoming half marathon race because of the radio. That FM radio, to me, is the best feature of this mp3 player.
During "What others are doing to get fit" week, Jan 21-26, you will have a chance to enter to win one of these Insignia KIX mp3 players courtesy of Best Buy. Click here for more details.