Apple vs. Sandisk

January 10, 2008
By Carson Gunby, Hoffman Estates, IL

Apple’s popular iPod has been striking impressive sales through the past few years. Due to this success other companies have tried marketing their own mp3 players, but are they any better? Sandisk has proven to be a worthy competitor with their own selection of mp3 players.
First of all, the two have similar and different features. Both can obviously play all your favorite songs anywhere you go. Both support the popular digital song formats, but the iPod supports several others. It has its own format for songs imported from iTunes or purchased through the store. The downside to this is that these songs can not be used with many other devices. When played through a computer, it must have iTunes installed or the music will not be recognized. In addition most songs downloaded through the store are protected which can cause problems when trying to move songs to other sources. The Sandisk players do not support the format which the iPod uses which could be a problem if you want to transfer music from someone’s iPod to your Sandisk player. Not using this format does make it much more compatible with computers; however, as it will work right away with about any computer you plug it into. Both brands can also play video if you choose the more costly of the models. Sandisk has one thing the iPod doesn’t though, and that is that it is able to listen to radio stations with its built in FM tuner. Some of the players can even record the station you are listening to.

Putting music on the two music players can also be a different ordeal. Both connect via the USB hub found on almost every home computer. Since they both connect the same way they also transfer songs at about the same speed. To actually get the music onto you iPod, however, you have to use iTunes. Some find it a good way to organize music, some might find it confusing, and some would rather use a different method. No matter the case the user is stuck using it. Though it provides a method of organization, it has some downsides. iTunes is designed to synch the songs on a computer and on the iPod. If one tries to use a different computer or connect a different iPod problems may occur. If iTunes is not present the iPod may not even be recognized. When connecting a different iPod transferring the library may not work. If the iPod is for personal use this transfer method is fine, but if you want to share songs with your friends it could be a problem. Currently, most of Sandisk’s line of music players have no included software to help organize you files. To get your music on it, you just plug the player in and drag the music into it. It’s recognized right away as a storage device so you can copy any music already in your computer onto it. It will work on almost every computer and you even copy other files onto it. Anything other than music won’t be recognized when you turn the player on of course, but you can have a portable copy of any picture, video, or game which you can put on another’s computer.

Finally, pricing and quality are also a major concern for the customer. The more expensive Sandisk player holding about 8GB of music and videos goes for about $130. The comparable 8GB iPod nano goes for about $200. Both are about the same size, the nano just being more thin and wide. The cheaper 2GB Sandisk player, I found for about $45 while the 2GB nano went for $95. Even the cheapest iPod which had half the space and lacked a screen sold for about $80. In both of these cases Sandisk was cheaper and almost exactly the same, capacity wise, as its iPod competitor.

In conclusion, although the iPod is significantly more popular, Sandisk’s line of portable music players are very similar yet cheaper. iPods focus more on organization and compatibility with iTunes, while Sandisk takes a more simplistic approach. Due to these reasons Sandisk seems to be a better choice for the occasional listener while the iPod is better for those already familiar with Apple’s products.

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