Triple play: Portable Media Center devices compared
In the Windows Media world, these portable media devices can do it all: WMV movies, WMA music, and digital photos with the greatest of ease, thanks to a revolutionary Windows Mobile-based user interface. Portable Media Centers (PMCs) sacrifice certain features found on conventional portable video players such as audio/video recording, an FM tuner, and native compatibility with many popular media formats, but they're also the easiest in the world to use, in part because of its automatic syncing relationship with Windows Media Player (WMP) 10.0. As portable extensions of WMP 10.0, the devices let you watch TV shows recorded on your Media Center PC, listen to on-the-go music subscription services such as Napster or Rhapsody, and view photos and album art while you listen to music. Since the PMC operating system's launch last fall, only three devices have made it to the stores. The first to hit the market, Creative's Zen, is bulky but has excellent battery life and unique customizable preset buttons. The Samsung YH-999 has a stylish and compact form factor but wimpy battery life. Finally, the iRiver PMC-120 (which has a non-PMC brother--good for comparison) represents a nice medium with a less bulky design and decent battery life.