Writen by Mike Singh
According to the latest market studies, the iPod has sold over 1.5 million units as compared to the other MP3 players. The iPod video 30gb holds over 15,000 songs, 25,000 photos, or 150 hours of video with a battery life of 14 hours for music, and two hours for videos. This is exciting when we think about having no choices a few years ago, or carrying around a lot of CDs. Of course, we could always listen to the car stereo! But when a person is out shopping for a MP3 player, is the iPod really any better?
First of all, we need to understand that the iPod is an MP3 player, not that iPods and MP3 players are identical and in competition. A good rule of thumb to remember is this: when you look for a DVR, you don't say you are looking for a DVR. For example, you say you are looking for a Tivo. An analogy would be this - when you go to buy a carbonated beverage or soda, you don't say you are looking for a carbonated beverage, you say you are looking for a Coke or a Pepsi. Both are carbonated beverages. When you look for an MP3 player, you don't say you are looking for a MP3 player - because it could be any brand, including the iPod. You say you are looking for an iPod. This, and other subtle differences, is the difference between an iPod and an MP3 player. And when recognizing this, understand that of all the negative reviews of any of the MP3 players, all the complaints of errors were 95% user errors - not reading what the item was actually capable of doing.
The iPod is the most popular MP3 player out there. This is not even open for discussion. Owned by celebrities in the Rolling Stone Magazine or on Entertainment Tonight, you never see them talking about the benefits and features of their Creative Labs or iRiver, other brands of the MP3 players. Why? Because it is not considered "hip" or "cool" to talk about anything other than an iPod. It HAS to be an iPod for a person to fit in, to be with it, and to be accepted as one of the leaders in MP3 players.
But then, don't most of us grow up? We begin to see all options that fit our needs, not just what is hip. We begin to see ourself as an individual, not just as one of a group - with no separate identity. We pass through Junior High and High school, and head into college, begin a family, or just get on with life. And with this, we begin to see the benefits of more affordable MP3 players, not just one. We begin to look at what we want in a MP3 player beside a brand name.
The most important focus for most buyers who are paying their own bills is money. The iPods are very expensive, with a nonreplacable battery that loses its resiliency in about a couple years. And if money is issues with the ol' pocket ... consider how much extra space you can get for your dollar by going with a different brand name than iPod. If the price tag on the iPod 60GB player is $399 and the price tag on the Toshiba 60GB player is $249, then a person has something to consider. Another option could be the MP3 CD players, which offer more megabytes per dollar with CDs that hold 10 hours of music each. Some people get hung up on the fact it is not a hard drive-based player, while others feel it is comparable enough to go for the extra saved money. It's all about choice.
Additionally, the iPod video and audio formats can sometimes cause problems with people who like to use certain types of media formats. Apple uses a few exclusive types of video and audio formats, like the AAC-encoded files, because they are Apple where other manufacturers use multiple formats to become more attractive to the consumer. Many reviews consider this an extremely negative drawback to the iPod, as they feel "hemmed in". Other MP3 players allow the choice of "BuyMusic", "Musicmatch", or "Napster". Most MP3 players support a wide range musical service choices. Make sure you investigate what formats are supported by iPod and other manufacturers you are considering, it could make or break your purchase.
Apple's iPod is the industry leader for a reason, because they make tremendous products, but that doesn't mean that there aren't other great products on the market. With many drawback such as a high price, review complaints of limited support, limited memory, limited types of music that can be recorded or played, or with unlimited ability to record online music. Other brands to look would be Rio, Creative, Samsung or Dell - it may be time to do a comparison study!