In the age of portable mp3 players, iPods have taken the world by storm. A new generation is produced every year for millions of Apple fans around the globe. As a result of iPods popularity, entrepreneurs in China have been making copies of these popular products since the dawn of MP3s. Are these iPod clones worthwhile, or should the buyer beware?
Firstly, it is important to look at an aspect of Chinese culture which leads to copies of popular products. Some people believe it is unethical to work from other peoples ideas. However, traditional Chinese belief dictates that when something is created, it is other people’s responsibility to improve on it. Here’s an example I’ve read before: say that someone paints the Mona Lisa. Chinese custom would dictate that it is others responsibilities to see what flaws the previous object held, and how to fix those flaws while adding new value. Thus, they would attempt to make a better Mona Lisa for people to enjoy. I’m not saying that the Chinese manufacturers are motivated entirely by this good will, for obviously profit is very important, but this analogy helps explain why copies are so prevalent in China.
Anyway, on to the products themselves. I’ll try to be brief about the Pros and Cons.
Lack of album management – Because they are plug and play, you have to drag music into the memory manually. It is still possible to create albums by creating the folders manually and putting the music in by yourself.
Unappealing song user interface – On an iPod, when you browse songs, it shows a beautiful screen with the album cover and a white background. On a generic player, most likely it will have a dark blue background with the title and artist of the song scrolling past. Movies must be converted – Most generic players have to play movies in the AMV format. In small screens, the format doesn’t matter too much for quality, but it is a hassle to convert. Also, AMV converters are available for free online. However, iPods require their own special format too, and they offer this format only from their own move database online (though it isn’t free).
One speed tracking – This doesn’t mean much for most songs, but in general, fast forward and rewind move at one speed (unlike iPods, in which it speeds up over time.) This leads to problems in long songs if you want to skip ahead.
FM Radio – Some generic mp3s come with an included FM radio, which is a $50 addition to an Apple iPod. Look for this feature.
Voice Recorder – Some generic mp3s come with an included Voice Recorder, which is another $50 accessory for an iPod. Look for this feature if you shop for generic mp3 players.
No iTunes, and the errors that come with it – Most generics offer simple drag and drop service, so you don’t have to worry about losing your collection
Same or better audio and video quality – Audio and video quality for good generics is the same as for an iPod.
It’s less than half the price – Expect to pay around $60 for a 2gb, $75 for a 4gb, and $90 for an 8gb generic player, if you want reliability and quality. You can also get cheaper generics for as low as $40 if you’re willing to take risks and reduced quality.
In conclusion, I believe that generics actually are a better deal. They offer a bulk of the same features, as well as some additions, for some minor sacrifices. In addition, they are half the price. When you’re shopping, check to see what quality of mp3 is being sold. Some helpful clues are;
– If they use stock photos of actual iPod nanos, they are probably low quality
– If they advertise as an iPod nano and not as a generic, they are probably low quality.
That said, there are many unscrupulous buyers out there. Always use a safe payment method like PayPal and look for any proof you can find that these mp3s are the best value for your money. Also important is to look for a reliable warranty, which some companies now offer. I, myself, offer a free one year warranty and will be adding a video going through all the features of the Dopple, my china manufactured player, on my website http://www.inspirebolt.com I’ve tried to be as honest as possible during this article about the advantages and disadvantages of each, so I advise you to ask yourself what you want in an mp3 player, and make an educated decision. Thank you very much for spending the time to read my article, and good luck!