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Author Topic: iPod - tell me why I should buy one  (Read 11018 times)
Target
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« on: November 16, 2010, 10:56:26 PM »

I'm looking at replacing my old mp3 player and have been looking around for potential candidates

let me state up front that I am (or at least have been) staunchly against anything apple.

I've never had an Apple device so I may well be missing out on something, but if I am I've yet to hear about it.  I don't buy into the whole fashion/image thing, and it's extremely unlikely that I'll ever use iTunes (I'd much rather buy a cd).

Trouble is the Apple machine has been so successful/pervasive/infectious that it's almost impossible to buy anything else. 

I had a whip around the local retailers at lunch and while I can buy an iPod anywhere, there is a serious dearth of alternatives.

Given that my options seem to be very limited, I'm looking to the apple users here to convince me why I should buy an iPod instead of an alternative (if I can find one...).

I'm already grinding my teeth in anticipation...
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Darwin
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2010, 11:42:49 PM »

I'd seriously hold out until the Archos 43 Internet Tablet becomes more widely available, if only to give one a whirl and compare it to the iPod. I had an iPod for about 24 hours but couldn't stand the iTunes lock-in and returned it (thought the hardware was nice, though. Didn't keep it long enough to form much of an opinion about the GUI/Software). Now that I think about it, isn't the ZuneHD available where you are? Or the X series of Sony Walkmans?
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Renegade
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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2010, 12:01:22 AM »

If you like easy and have lots of money and aren't worried about compatibility, the iPod is a good choice. It's actually a good device. (iTunes is another matter entirely.)

Apple, like many other large companies, is risk averse, and what that means is poor format support. No OGG, no FLAC, etc.

Smaller companies aren't so averse to risk and will include FLAC and OGG support along with others.

If you're an audiophile, WMA is one of the best formats out there. WMA lossless is excellent. WMA lossey still beats MP3. FLAC is lossless, and excellent, and open.

If you have a lot of wave files, an iPod is a poor choice as iPod wave format support is very poor.

Sony's proprietary formats are also a very bad idea.

I'd say have a look at COWON as they are aggressive and hungry. But I have a bit of an irrational affection for them, so YMMV. The X7 and the J3 look very slick. One other good thing about COWON is that they offer far better compatibility than just about anyone else out there. Oh, and battery power -- the company puts a lot of focus on that with some of the best in the industry (I could be out of date though - check some recent reviews).

http://en.wikipedia.org/w...of_portable_media_players

I don't know about Samsung players. Years ago their UI design was absolute crap in their phones, but they've come a VERY long way. Might be worth looking at.

Not sure about Sony.

There are a trillion players out there with no name that are really cheap. You could get one for $30 then figure out what you like/hate about it and go for a better one. MP3 players are literally disposable now.

Phones are a bad way to go. Their batteries just don't stand up enough for media playback. Especially video.

iPods have had a bad run with battery power. Not sure about the most recent ones.

Anyways, just my $0.02. Hope it helps.
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2010, 12:08:05 AM »

I had a Creative MP3 player a couple of years ago: much cheaper than iPod; I could put just about any music on it that I wished, purchased & downloaded, my own ripped CDs, etc. Only problem was that the battery started lasting less and less hours each time I used it until it was impossible to keep it charged. However iPods were also having battery issues then and theirs weren't replaceable at all. Anyway I don’t use one now.

Thanks!

Jim
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Target
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2010, 12:36:28 AM »

I'd seriously hold out until the Archos 43 Internet Tablet becomes more widely available, if only to give one a whirl and compare it to the iPod. I had an iPod for about 24 hours but couldn't stand the iTunes lock-in and returned it (thought the hardware was nice, though. Didn't keep it long enough to form much of an opinion about the GUI/Software). Now that I think about it, isn't the ZuneHD available where you are? Or the X series of Sony Walkmans?

nice as the archos device looks, it's way more than I'm looking for (or am likely to use - it's also a bit more than I was looking to spend, but that's to be expected with the extra functionality).

Likewise the Zune, but that's irrelevant as it doesn't appear to be available here

Your feelings on the ipod pretty much reflect how I feel about the things - the hardware is probably nice, but the lock-in factor has had me looking elsewhere straightaway...

Renegade

Somehow I can't help feeling that you might not be as objective on the subject as some others here Wink)

Money is a consideration - face it, this is never going to be a hifi experience so I don't see the value in a big dollar multimedia or audiophile device (if there is even such a thing - I commute by bus and use the player to ease my boredom which may give you some idea of my requirements)

I'm not averse to other brands (my current player is an IRiver, and it's been excellent), I was just trying to get an alternative viewpoint on iPods seeing as our retailers don't seem to stock anything else.  Ideally I'm looking for a device that is in no way proprietry, ie one that doesn't require special software or drivers to charge or manage (effectively it would be USB key with a music player built in...), but that wasn't actually the point of this thread



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Target
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2010, 12:42:02 AM »

I had a Creative MP3 player a couple of years ago: much cheaper than iPod; I could put just about any music on it that I wished, purchased & downloaded, my own ripped CDs, etc. Only problem was that the battery started lasting less and less hours each time I used it until it was impossible to keep it charged. However iPods were also having battery issues then and theirs weren't replaceable at all. Anyway I don’t use one now.

I bought a Zen a couple of years ago for my wife, but the battery life is abysmal, and it won't work at all without their proprietry software and drivers (indeed, they claim trying to do so will brick the unit).  Worse, there is no support for it past XP, so she can't even maintain the thing (good thing she has a support person on staff...)

I wouldn't write them off, but I'd certainly be cautious about getting another one
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2010, 01:18:45 AM »

Renegade

Somehow I can't help feeling that you might not be as objective on the subject as some others here Wink)

...

I'm not averse to other brands (my current player is an IRiver, and it's been excellent), I was just trying to get an alternative viewpoint on iPods seeing as our retailers don't seem to stock anything else.  Ideally I'm looking for a device that is in no way proprietry, ie one that doesn't require special software or drivers to charge or manage (effectively it would be USB key with a music player built in...), but that wasn't actually the point of this thread


That's about as unbiased as I get. Well, on this topic anyways. I at least said some nice things about the iPod before I pointed out all it's bad points. smiley

As for a USB key with a music player built in, you can get a decent player for $30 or $50 now easy. They're all pretty much the same, except for the proprietary ones that try to lock you in, like the iPod. And they're all made in China. I think I'd go for a cheapo now if I were to buy another.
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2010, 02:08:39 AM »

Phones are a bad way to go. Their batteries just don't stand up enough for media playback. Especially video.

 huh

I carry a spare battery and & have a charger in my car. Rarely need to use either (Android phone - HTC Desire). Listen to music on it much of the day, though don't often do videos. The GPS probably drains the battery faster than anything & I use that quite a lot some days if I'm not in my own car. The saving of weight & number of gadgets to carry is well worthwhile. Calls automatically interrupting/resuming the music is a good bonus which saves extra faffing around. I wish I'd done this earlier.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2010, 08:07:15 AM »

You probably should buy one because it's a slick little gadget that doesn't seem to give any trouble, and has a really nice interface (sample of one).
As with just about everybody else, I don't like the idea of the Apple lock-in. In reality that's no problem for me as I don't buy stuff to load onto it.
FWIW, I use mine when I'm doing noisy stuff that needs ear protection — it's audio only.

What kind of iPod have you in mind? I see they range in price from about AU$70 to AU$330 at your Apple store.
Thought about eBay?
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Chris
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« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2010, 09:03:30 AM »

Sorry, Target - I managed to read "Touch" after iPod in your subject line, so was thinking of alternatives to it in feature set.

Other than the iTunes lock-in, I can't think of a reason not to go iPod... unless you are concerned about audio formats, as Renegade pointed out.

Having said that, there are alternatives out there. Archos has a line of media player only products that are cheaper than iPods - my sons each have one and I am impressed by the sound quality. One son has an Archos 43 Vision and the other a 3CAM Vision. The 43 seems to sound a bit better but the 3CAM is otherwise superior in terms of its touchscreen (both are non-capacative but the 3CAM Vision performs almost as well as one), video playback quality and portability. Both connect to your PC as USB drives. They support FLAC, OGG, and WMA amongst others. I know that I sound like I'm on an Archos kick, but they're what I have the most recent experience with.

Superboyac likes the Sony Walkmans. I don't know which model he uses at the moment, but here in Canada there are a couple of lines available (E and S) and they are very competitively priced and have a nice feel to them (played with a couple in the store). 

Finally, I've never seen one in the wild, but Cowon players are very highly rated.
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2010, 11:11:48 AM »

I was die-hard Cowon fan until recently, because of the sound quality and mp3 post-processing that really improves the quality, and because of the output power that can drive headphones such as Alessandro's (Grado modified).

I bought recently an iPod Touch "4G" and I do love this (pricey) device : the sound quality, while not as exceptional as with a Cowon, is much improved compared to previous iPods, and there is so much more with Iphone OS 4, very nice games (Angry Birds for example), Wifi browsing, Dropbox sync for some useful files, password management sync'd through dropbox, etc.

The podcast management in iTunes is reasonably well done, and also simplifies the way I use them.
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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2010, 11:15:54 AM »

Dropbox sync for some useful files, password management sync'd through dropbox, etc.

The podcast management in iTunes is reasonably well done, and also simplifies the way I use them.
I don't suppose you could use Dropbox to do the majority of media syncing for the Touch, could you?
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app103
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« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2010, 11:53:58 AM »

This is based on information from my daughter, who owned an older iPod and opted for a Sony to replace it, because she categorizes iTunes as malware.

The goodThe bad
iPod
  • large storage capacity
  • long battery life
  • ipod touch runs apps (like an iphone without the phone)
  • more accessories available for them (docking systems, etc)
  • repairable (easier to find some place that would be willing to fix it)
  • itunes
  • app store
  • not cheap
  • can't use while wearing gloves
  • changes file names to strings of random numbers when adding music
Sony Walkman NWZS545BLK
  • no itunes
  • drag & drop files on it from explorer (there is software, but you don't have to use it)
  • drag & drop files off it to another machine
  • external speaker
  • fm radio
  • recording abilities
  • good capacity
  • long battery life
  • plays videos
  • store images
  • can use while wearing gloves
  • keeps file names when adding music
  • cheaper than an ipod
  • speaker quality isn't that good at loud volumes
  • radio can be fuzzy without headphones and not too good when moving around

Her conclusions:

If the idea of iTunes or the app store doesn't bother you, and you can afford it, an iPod is a really nice player to have. If you want to save a little money, avoid iTunes, want something simpler, or want the ability to transfer files off your player to another computer, get something else.

She is very happy with her Sony, but would consider owning another iPod, if it wasn't for the whole iTunes thing.
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« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2010, 12:09:39 PM »

Yup... that Sony is one of the players I fiddled around with. VERY nice  Thmbsup
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« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2010, 02:49:54 PM »

Dropbox sync for some useful files, password management sync'd through dropbox, etc.

The podcast management in iTunes is reasonably well done, and also simplifies the way I use them.
I don't suppose you could use Dropbox to do the majority of media syncing for the Touch, could you?

No, actually, Dropbox is just used to sync data files, not media files.
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« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2010, 03:29:39 PM »

OK, I'm very familiar with this subject.  Here's how I decided to get my player, which is a Sony player very similar to the model above, but the higher end one.  I got the Sony because the sound quality is what I made my priority.  Sony's sound quality is noticeably better than Apple's, something I was initially skeptical about.  Apple sounds muffled compared to Sony.  So that was a very strong priority for me.

The one thing that I would say Apple does way better than anyone is getting music onto the ipod.  With itunes and the ipod, it's easy to get songs on, whether you buy it from itunes, already have files on your computer, or just have cd's you want to put it on.  Apple does that with the least amount of hassle.  now, getting it OFF the player is a different story.  It's going to be a hassle trying to use your itune files on other computers, or getting it off of the player, or pretty much anything that doesn't involve the specific itunes/ipod combination that is your "homebase".  I hate that, so I'll never get an ipod because of that alone.

If you are willing to deal with a little bit of hassle of getting music on your player, which means downloading drivers, possibly using 3rd party tools, reading forums for troubleshooting, maybe spending a day figuring out the file transfer procedure...then you should get something other than Apple.  Because you will have better options regarding sound quality, interfaces, sharing files, using the device on other computers, drm issues, etc.

That's my advice.
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« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2010, 03:40:14 PM »

My daughter has an iPod Nano and we've NEVER used iTunes so I don't think this "iTunes lock-in" issue is much of an issue at all.  I just use SharePod to transfer files from the file server to her iPod.  As for me, I have the same exact player as app's daughter, a Sony NWZS545BLK 16GB.  I chose it because:

  • I'm not a fan of the touchwheel interface of the iPods.
  • It was inexpensive.
  • You can navigate via the folder structure you used when putting files on it.
  • Doubles as a voice recorder in a pinch.

I really only use it on the plane when taking business trips.  In addition to music, I'll usually convert a few tv shows or anime episodes and watch them as well.  The 2.4" screen is suprisingly watchable...even on a plane.  
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 09:22:41 PM by skwire » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2010, 05:45:39 PM »

all good stuff, but I'm still not convinced undecided

I like the look of the sony's, and it's good to know there's no proprietry software req's (I had a vague feeling that this wasn' always the case).  FWIW the model quoted is listed at $250 here

The only other option I can turn up are a couple of IRivers - anyone have any experience with the later units?

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« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2010, 06:23:36 PM »

My daughter has an iPod Nano and we've NEVER used iTunes so I don't think this "iTunes lock-in" issue is much of an issue at all.

It is, but it isn't... You HAVE to have iTunes to transfer music to and from an iPod Touch or an iPhone. Howver, the Nano and the Classic are recognized as thumbdrives. Thanks for reminding us of that (I had forgotten - again because of my focus on the Touch  embarassed).

FWIW the model quoted is listed at $250 here

Holy Carp! I can get it here (the Canadian sticks) for $89.99 on sale - it' s regular $129. That's outrageous  Angry
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« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2010, 08:11:18 PM »

By the way, the little tiny square nano's that are new, look so good. mmm.
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« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2010, 08:34:27 PM »

By the way, the little tiny square nano's that are new, look so good. mmm.

yeah, and apart from the touch screen, it's almost exactly like my 4 year old Iriver S10...
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« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2010, 09:17:41 PM »

Here is my take (for what it is worth) -

The reasons for Apple -

Easy availability
Lots of available accessories
Easy to use interface

Yeah, that is about it.

My priority on players tends toward portability more than sound, though sound is a big part too of course.  With that in mind, the things I would look for if you don't go for an Apple product is:

User replaceable battery!
Radio reception (if you listen to the radio - I do)
Expandability - Most players I looked into allowed you to use external as well as internal memory via SD cards or similar.
Lastly, I suggest you look for an armband or other way to carry the device without a clip - for when you use it working out for example.
Price, of course, is always another consideration as well, but these features make or break a device and ALL of them are missing on the iPod line.
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« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2010, 09:20:53 PM »

It is, but it isn't... You HAVE to have iTunes to transfer music to and from an iPod Touch or an iPhone.

No, you don't.  SharePod supports iPhones and the iPod Touch.
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« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2010, 09:24:33 PM »

I like the look of the sony's, and it's good to know there's no proprietry software req's (I had a vague feeling that this wasn' always the case).  FWIW the model quoted is listed at $250 here

What the hell?  Sheesh, for that, I'll buy you one here and ship it to you.  I paid around $115 USD.
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« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2010, 10:09:57 PM »

It is, but it isn't... You HAVE to have iTunes to transfer music to and from an iPod Touch or an iPhone.

No, you don't.  SharePod supports iPhones and the iPod Touch.

Sorry - I didn't complete that thought: my understanding is that you have to have iTunes installed to be able to use Sharepod, no?
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