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iPod and MP3 Players Compared - MP3 vs. iPod

written by: Nicholas•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 7/1/2011

Contemplating whether or not you want to get an iPod (like the rest of your friends have), or another brand of MP3 player? Overall, iPods are very good and so are most MP3 players. Each have their own pros and cons...

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    iPods and MP3 Players - Compatibility

    When comparing iPods and MP3 players, one of the first things that should be taken into consideration is compatibility. Many people believe that iPods only work on Mac computers. This is not at all true. iPods work with computers that are capable of running iTunes. Thus, Macs and PCs. However, iPods do not play well, or at all, with other music management software, other than iTunes. So, if you like using iTunes to manage all of your music, videos, tv shows, movies, and apps, an iPod is probably going to be your best bet. Alternatively, if you prefer another software other than iTunes for managing your music, videos, tv shows, etc, than an iPod is probably not for you. Apple likes to keep all of their products strictly wound together. Chances are good, your average MP3 player will not be able to sync with iTunes... at least not out of the box.

    Also keep into consideration, most MP3 players come with their own software, or allow you to manually drag and drop MP3 files into them, similar to a flash drive.

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    iPods and MP3 Players - Features

    ipod touch 

    The second thing to consider when comparing iPods and MP3 players is features and functionality. For the most part, iPods can be used for: listening to music, watching videos, viewing photos, watching TV shows, watching movies, and playing games. The only iPod with an exception to this is the iPod Shuffle, which is strictly an MP3 player. As far as iPod versus MP3 players, there are many MP3 players out there that can do everything an iPod can do. A prime example of this is the Microsoft Zune HD, which is considered to be the competitor to the iPod. There are also a lot of MP3 players out there that can only play MP3s, similar to the iPod Shuffle.

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    iPods and MP3 Players - Application Support

    app store 

    The third thing to consider when comparing iPods and MP3 players is application support. In the battle of iPods versus MP3 players for application support, iPods win hands down.The Apple App Store is far ahead when it comes to number of apps, games, videos, MP3s, etc.

    Some MP3 players, like the Microsoft Zune, do have their own app stores as well. However, the Zune store does not have near the assortment as the Apple App Store. The majority of MP3 players, Sony, Samsung, RCA, etc... do not have any app store support. Instead, they offer the ability to upload any standard video file or MP3.

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    iPods and MP3 Players - Design and Price


    The fourth thing to consider when comparing iPods and MP3 players is design and price. Apple products have long been known for their great designs. iPods are no exception. However, Apple products have long been known for their expensive prices as well, and again, iPods are no exception. However, this is all a matter of preference. Here is an example:

    You can get a decent MP3 player that just plays songs for around $20. The cost of an iPod Shuffle, that just plays songs, is $60 for 2GB of storage and $80 for 4GB of storage... a very noticeable price difference in iPods versus MP3. You could buy about three average MP3 players at Walmart for the price of one iPod Shuffle.However, the iPod Shuffle is stylish, can be voice commanded, and is made to clip on to your belt or another piece of clothing. Worth the price difference?

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    It all depends on your own individual preferences. The iPod is clearly more expensive for the features that you get. However, it also offers many special features that do not come with typical MP3 players. There are also a lot of MP3 players out there that will do everything that an iPod will do, with the lack of the Apple App Store. Keep into consideration, an iPod is an MP3 player. Apple just brands their products so strongly that they develop categories of their own.

    Now that you know more about MP3 players, learn more about PCs! Mac vs PC.