Anything But iPod

Anything but iPod is a news and reviews website for digital audio (MP3) players that looks beyond the market leader. Their aim is not to bash or diminish Apple’s offering, but to publicise and review MP3 players from other manufacturers that are, in their words easier to use, that give you more for your money, and that still have style and class.

Grundig MPixx 2000

The site gets updated most days with reviews of the latest MP3 and Digital Audio players from such brands as:

  • Grundig
  • Samsung
  • Meizu
  • Philips
  • Toshiba
  • Sony
  • Creative
  • SanDisk
  • iRiver

iPod has been incredibly successful and with good reason. iPods are stylish, easy to use, well integrated with iTunes and your computer’s operating system. Priscilla has an iPod nano which she enjoys on a daily basis. But I love going against the grain, supporting the underdog, so I applaud Anything but iPod’s efforts to promote some appealing alternatives.

In slightly related news, Maximum PC have an article up comparing iTunes regular 128kbps AAC sound quality (DRM spec) with the new, improved 256kbps AAC (DRM free). They perform the comparison with the regular iPod bud earbuds and also some high end Shure SE420 earphones. Read it here. Interesting and unexpected conclusions.

8 Replies to “Anything But iPod”

  1. What did you think was “unexpected”, that people couldn’t detect the higher bit-rate?

    I’ve never listened to higher end (Shure) ear bud headphones… but I wonder if the better bit-rate would have been more noticeable with full-size headphones, or on a good quality home component stereo?

  2. I guess the amount of people who could detect the higher quality recording was about right – 70%. I imagine 64 v 128 kbps would have provided more conclusive results, but the point of the comparison was to validate the price premium on the DRM-free, higher bitrate songs now available at iTunes, which is why they used 128 v 256 kbps.

    More unexpected though, was the headphone comparison. I kind of expected the better end headphones to show the difference between the two bitrates more, not less. And for that matter, people to prefer the more expensive earphones. But that wasn’t the case.

    Looking around on the train plenty of people seem happy with their standard iPod earbuds, I guess this test acknowledges that they are fine as far as many people are concerned.

  3. I believe they are delusional if they think something other an iPod is, “easier to use, gives you more for your money, and that still has style.”

    These people must be PC fans who are completely against the Apple brand.

    Fact is you can’t get any simpler than the iPod. Everyone has tried to take a chuck out of the iPod market and are still trying.

  4. Yes, Tim, of course you are right. How dare the people that run that website believe anything different to you?

    Please read their about page. Hopefully it will reassure you that they do not believe the iPod is awful, but that there other ways of doing things.

    I personally have found the iPod less than intuitive to use, though perhaps that would come in time with use. As far as value for money, are you seriously saying you have never seen an MP3 player of equivalent capacity for a cheaper price than an iPod? Style is definitely subjective, but both I and the website concede that design is an Apple strong point, which is why they aren’t saying “iPods are ugly”, rather they are saying “some of these other players are also well designed and attractive.”

  5. Read the about page, a few responses:

    1. “Apple makes a half decent MP3 player” – this is insulting to the market leader.

    2. “I feel that there are better choices available” – fair enough, that’s his prerogative.

    3. “With the iPod you give up your right to choose” – I exercised my right to choose by choosing an iPod as I believe they are the best MP3 players out there. He’s basically calling me mindless and stupid because I freely chose an iPod.

    4. This website is dedicated to individuals who can think for themselves” – like iPod owners can’t.

    Is he really about free choice or just anti big corporations?

  6. Why would you promote the idea of choice but then make it a policy of going against the grain (supporting the underdog). This seems like a case of inverse dependence (supporting whatever everyone else is not), which is no choice at all.

    Reading the ‘About’ page of Anything But iPod, it seems site is overly dismissive of the iPod, for example, “Apple makes a half decent MP3 player.” Any sober assessment would have to acknowledge that the iPod is at least a very good mp3 player.

    Erroneous thinking abounds with statements such as, “With the iPod there are no decisions to make; you give up your right to choose. … With other MP3 players you have the right to choose from several different services”. I would agree that you don’t have to think much to buy an iPod, it is an obvious choice. But I am certainly not giving up my right to choose! I am choosing to buy an iPod. The iPod is in fact another choice in the market. I could make a similar statement about people who buy computers with the Windows operating system. You don’t have to think much to buy Windows, it is the obvious choice in the market. But I wouldn’t deny that a person is making a choice by purchasing Windows.

    And again, “You are just another face in the crowd, with the same player and the same service. … you are able to choose which player matches you as an individual.” Is there anything wrong with having the same as other people? I like what I have and there is no need to compare my situation with that of anyone else. What do the authors want to happen? Do they want a situation where there are a multitude of different players so that everyone can be an ‘individual’ with there own make and model of mp3 player? Absurd! The iPod does in fact match the individual needs and desires of many people, that is why it is so successful.

    It appears the authors of the site have been influenced by some left-wing anti-corporate ideology, and have insulted a great many people as a result, for example, “This website is dedicated to individuals who can think for themselves. Individuals who can make a decision based on the facts, not what corporations or the media dictates. Individuals who do not need TV to tell them what to do, how to think, or what to buy.”

    The iPod does in fact offer some compelling benefits. These benefits are not an illusion created by corporations and the media. In any case, the alternative players are also made by corporations, trying to get their message though to potential customers through various media. Do the authors want mp3 players produced by a multitude of local cottage industries?

    Perhaps the authors do not realise that it is not the iPod they are bashing, but the many people who have purchased iPods. They condemn people for buying an iPod. The insults are all the more appalling because the thinking behind them is so mistaken. They in no way offer any constructive criticism. Thinking for myself does not necessarily mean that I will purchase an mp3 player other than an iPod. Apparently the authors of this website have themselves done some thinking for me by deliberately excluding the iPod from their reviews!

  7. As I wrote in my original post, Anything but iPod is a website for news and reviews of MP3 players. It is true that they do not glorify iPods in every story, indeed, I imagine that they are the standard by which all other DAPs are judged.

    Let’s look at an example news story: The Toshiba Gigabeat V Series Advances

    Toshiba Gigabeat V80

    There is a picture of the device in question and some text describing the new features:

    Two new instalments to Toshiba’s Gigabeat V series were announced today. The V801 and V401 will contain 80GB and 40GB hard drives, respectively. Once again, a new colour, Bordeaux Brown, is added to the line-up, but this time there are more modifications to get excited about. The 3.5-inch QVGA TFT screen has been upgraded to a 4 incher and the 320 x 240 pixel resolution has been increased to 480×272. The players will feature a sensor that automatically alters the brightness of the screen to correspond to the surrounding light. The devices will also come with new H2C technology, which claims to compensate for sound quality lost during audio compression by using its own algorithm to counter the audio compression algorithms of WMA and MP3 files. The portable media players will be available in Japan on June 1st.

    Looking at that, they mention new colours, capacities and some features – including some audio improvements and better screen. Nowhere do they bag out Apple, instead, they are informing their readers who we can assume are interested in Digital Audio Players. Nowhere do they bash purchasers of iPods, either.

    Looking at a review, the Creative Zen Stone, they do mention an iPod, the Shuffle, and they do this to establish what price point and market the device is competing in. The website believes it has more to offer at a lower price (in Australia it is $89 vs iPod $109), but people who value Mac connectivity and the iTunes store will disagree, I imagine.

    Just because some one, or some website, disagrees with your philosophy I do not believe it is necessary to denigrate them. From my point of view, saying something is ‘half decent’ is usually an understatement to say it is quite good, or perhaps to begrudgingly admit it, such as ‘Queensland played a half-decent game in the first State of Origin’. Again, I apologise to people who are upset that I and others may prefer alternatives to Apple iPods. Please show Apple your support by clicking here.

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