Ever since the term “MP3” was first muttered, Apple has dominated the MP3 market. The Apple iPod has gone through various revisions, though this player still remains the player of choice by many consumers. Judging by sales alone, it would seem as though the iPod is the best MP3 player on the market.
This is not necessarily true. Apple has created an iPod empire, but there are some brands out there that give the iPod a run for its money. Speaking of money, the Apple iPod is far more expensive than most other MP3 players, which may impact your decision. Please keep in mind that all prices included in this article were approximate at the time of this writing.
Why the iPod Is So Popular
Apple put a lot of thought into the design of each iPod. These compact players are simple and easy to use. Users aren’t bogged down by unnecessary plastic, buttons, of confusing screens. Apple also makes it simple to download any tune from the iTunes store.
Another reason why Apple is so popular has to do with the image that Apple has built. For some reason, Apple products are perceived as being hip or cool. Believe it or not, lifestyle perception is the number one reason why most people automatically pick Apple iPods over other MP3 players.
If you’re shopping for an MP3 player based upon price, an Apple iPod won’t be at the top of your list. Apple iPods range in price from $149 to more than $200. This is a lot of coin to spend on a compact MP3 player. An entry-level surround sound-in-a-box can be purchased for the price of one 4G iPod.
Interestingly, many other MP3 players are far less expensive than the Apple iPod. Take, for example, the Creative Zen V Plus. You can purchase a 16G Creative Zen V Plus for the same price as an Apple 4G iPod. If you have a budget, Apple is not the way to go.
Not all Apple competitors are equal. In fact, some less expensive MP3 players aren’t worth your money at all. However, those that can compare with Apple sound-wise are worth a second look. Some options to consider are the Creative Zen V Plus (mentioned above) and the iRiver Clix Gen 2.
Both of these MP3 players offer excellent sound. Just don’t expect the iRiver or the Creative Zen to look like an iPod. While both have interesting and sleek designs, these companies want to separate themselves from Apple as much as possible, which means you won’t come across the iconic Apple iPod design.
Downloading Music to a Non-iPod
For reasons unknown, many people assume that using iTunes is the only way to download music to an MP3 player. This is only true if you currently own an Apple computer. Otherwise, a copy of Windows Media Player will work just fine. Really, this is all you need to download music to a non-iPod.
So, what kind of MP3 player is right for you? If you want to save money, look for one of the alternate MP3 players mentioned above. If your goal is to join the millions of people who like the look and style of the Apple iPod, you’ll have to spend a bit more to look the part.