Tune Tools for iPod Review - Needs More Than Just a Tune Up
written by: Mike Garcen•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/29/2009
Tune Tools for iPod Multimedia Edition is a PC application that promises to manage all of your iPods from any computers you have while allowing for full control of all your songs and libraries. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, it's too good to be true.
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Tune Tools for iPod Multimedia Edition is a program with an admirable goal of allowing users to have the utmost control over their music players. This all sounds great, but Tune Tools for iPod Multimedia Edition suffers significantly from a massive amounts of bugs and overall shortcomings.
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Price to Value
Rating Tune Tools for iPod Multimedia Edition is priced at just under $20. This wouldn't be a lot to ask for if Tune Tools for iPod was a quality application. But for a program where 90 percent of the features don't function, well, then you’re just throwing away $20. It’s sad to say, as the concept behind Tune Tools is fantastic: to bring some flexibility to the number one music player, which is normally confined to the limitations of iTunes. But in the end, I found just two features of the application that would even remotely function. Had everything (OK, even 90 percent) worked flawlessly, then $20 for the ability to move from iPod to iPod, or transfer your iPods among your computers, would easily make it worthwhile. However, as it stands today, you’re better off spending $20 on some song purchases.
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Installation & Setup
The standard installation is quite simple: just select "Yes" a few times and you’re on your way. Keep in mind that if you don't already have Java installed, you will need to since Tune Tools for iPod Multimedia Edition is written entirely in Java. My assumption is that it’s done this way so that iTunes will work in the background, but actual implementation leaves a lot to be desired.
I tried installing and using Tune Tools for iPod on two systems: one a Windows Home Server edition and the other a Windows Vista installation. Tune Tools for iPod Multimedia Edition failed to function properly on both. The application wouldn't even work with 50 percent of its features and there was an abundance of other problems. Upon loading Tune Tools for iPod, I came across error after error. Researching the Tune Tools Technical Support website, I found some alleged fixes. However, after hours of trial and error, I’m afraid this application is simply not ready for prime time. After fumbling with the software, I finally discovered the problem causing all the errors was that I had my iPod connected. That’s right, as soon as I disconnected my iPod, Tune Tools for iPod launched flawlessly. Although I had no access to any of the features for it, at least I launched the program finally.
Tune Tools for iPod Multimedia Edition admirably tries to help with set up via some wizards. However, they are cumbersome and annoying because the user needs to jump back and forth between Tune Tools and iTunes to configure the system at all.
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Rating Based on my success, or lack thereof, with Tune Tools for iPod Multimedia Edition, I’m going to have to base my opinion on the user interface strictly on appearance, and not on usability. This won't seem very useful to readers but at least it will give the company some feedback. The interface is actually fairly straightforward, with a split directory on the left for your iPod and your music library, and tabs across the top for the various functions Tune Tools for iPod is supposed to allow.
My main disappointment with the user interface is its lack of customization. The appearance of the music library is nearly identical to iTunes, which is great if you enjoy that, but a disappointment when paying for an application that's supposed to give you more control.
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Rating The only feature that stands out (that worked) was the ability to detect duplicates. This is actually the one very useful feature, and it's a shame Apple didn’t consider including it. The feature allows you to scan your iTunes library for duplicate tracks, and then individually delete them or categorize them. Again, I wasn’t able to test the other features of Tune Tools for iPod Multimedia Edition due to the program’s utter failure in running properly.
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For the parts that actually worked, that being detecting duplicate tracks, my main suggestion would be to help automate the process even more. It’s very helpful as it’s done now, but it seems like there could be a way to configure it to automatically delete exact duplicates (say identical track name, and file size), versus current functionality, where you must individually select tracks for deletion.
The other suggested feature would be the most obvious: seriously dig into the way the program works and decide if the current implementation is stable enough for the mass market. The iPod market is massive, and most of those users are computer novices so it would be a shame to scare everyone off. If any of those users have come close to the same experience I had with this, they’ll never look at third-party applications again.
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Tune Tools for iPod Multimedia Edition was arguably one of the worst products I’ve ever taken the time to review, and that’s being nice. Other titles didn't make me waste hours just trying to get their application to run.
The list of shortcomings for Tune Tools for iPod Multimedia Edition is so long that I’d rather not take more of your time repeating myself. The software simply doesn't do what it promises. Maybe it’s due to updates for iTunes or maybe it’s due to the overall architecture of how it works. Either way, the fact is that buying Tune Tools for iPod Multimedia Edition is the same as burning your $20.