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Is Achshar Player better than Remo on Chrome OS?

While Google Play Music does come in handy for listening to songs as well as purchasing them.  However, it’s not always a viable option on a Chromebook, especially if there is no access to the Internet.  Integrated playback for music works, but lacks the ability to manage an entire library.

So what other options are available for offline mode?

Remo is available, but is simply window dressing to existing features with a few minor extras (equalizer and control through your smart phone).  For an alternative, there is Achshar, a Chrome extension that plays audio.

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The player has most of the normal controls found in other music players.

The player is built using HTML 5 and Javascript. It can play any audio file that is already supported by Chrome OS.

But is it better than Remo?

To find out, I decided to install the extension through the Chrome Web Store.

Songs can be navigated, played, and paused through these controls.

Songs can be navigated, played, and paused through these controls.

Songs can be navigated with the forward and backwards button.  The play button also acts as the pause button while a song is playing.  These controls are available on the upper left hand corner of the local page for the player.

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Looping, shuffling, and Tweeting the current song on Twitter are among the unique features.

In the center of the page is the portion that shows what’s currently playing.  Looping and shuffling are available, and the currently playing song can be tweeted by clicking the Twitter icon.

The song's volume can be changed, though it isn't synced with Chrome OS's sound system.

The song’s volume can be changed, though it isn’t synced with Chrome OS’s sound system.

The volume control is functional, though not quite in sync with Chrome OS’s volume. Still, the music can be turned down given the appropriate situation.

On the left hand portion of the player under the main controls is the menu, which is where the library can be managed.  Songs can be added individually or from entire folders.  There are a few options regarding notifications and what is displayed in said notifications.

The menu for Achshar is where the library is managed and settings are changed.

The menu for Achshar is where the library is managed and settings are changed.

The library itself can be managed and playlists can be created and edited.  The search feature can also be used to find that one favorite song to play.

The playlist can be reordered, thus allowing for a better experience.

The playlist can be reordered, thus allowing for a better experience.

The one thing that Remo lacks Achshar has. Songs in playlists can be reordered, thus allowing for a more custom listening experience.  Of course there are other extras such as changing the color theme and text color along with labels, but they are sparse and simple.  The player does what its supposed to; play music while allowing for playlists to be reordered.

Though it lacks an equalizer and the ability to be controlled through a smart phone, Achshar is indeed better than Remo. The eye candy is kept to a minimum while allowing for a somewhat custom look through the color theme options in the extension’s settings.  Best of all, it works offline.

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There’s also a better presence in terms of social media. The player has a Facebook fan page and Google+ page. The author even has a Twitter account.

Thomas Holbrook II

Thomas first encountered FOSS while visiting the University of Central Missouri (then known as Central Missouri State University) during high school. Mandrake was the first distribution he ever attempted to run. He has had experience with SuSE, Red Hat, Fedora, Ubuntu, and other distros. He currently does a podcast each week and publishes a monthly digital magazine covering Unix and Overlooked Pop Culture at www.thenixedreport.com.

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