Are there any MP3 Players that can Challenge the iPod?
Apple has gone a long way to ensure that the iPod is consistently the best MP3 player on the market. It has held that top spot since the original iPod came out in 2001. Since then, we’ve seen the iPod Nano, Shuffle, and Touch, all favorites amongst consumers. The only place the iPod can’t compete is in the lower price-points, but it has never had to. However, now there are a few true competitors in the higher price ranges; can the iPod keep up?
The MOTOACTV is currently the top ranked MP3 player on alaTest, beating out the similarly priced 8GB iPod Touch. The MOTOACTC comes in 8GB and 16GB versions and has a design similar to the current generation of the iPod Nano, featuring a square touch screen interface. Unlike the iPod Nano, though, the MOTOACTV include GPS connectivity, making it great for an active lifestyle.
Sony’s Z-Series is a direct competitor to Apple’s iPod Touch. Available in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB models, it’s actually a bit more expensive than the iPod touch, but it has been very highly reviewed for its audio quality and large vivid display. The current Z-Series is fairly new, so it’s hard to say how long the praise will last. For the time being, it’s ranked on par with the iPod Touch.
The E-Series Walkman competes with Apple’s 5th generation iPod Nano (which is actually the most popular of the Nano series). Because of the 5Th gen’s rarity, it has gotten quite expensive, making the E-Series’ $80 starting price quite attractive. It’s every bit as effective of a music player as the Nano, and even plays video, but at nearly half the price.
The Cowon J3
Cowon is a slightly lesser known brand, but they have been producing quality MP3 players for years. The Cowon J3 has an excellent AMOLED display and the best battery life in its class. Storage is expandable via MicroSD slot, which is a rarity amongst quality MP3 players and makes for a great value. Its only real limitation is its somewhat cumbersome interface.
Out of all of the MP3 players we’ve listed so far, the Samsung Galaxy Player 4.0 is the only one that can compete with the iPod Touch in all categories. Because it runs the Android operating system, it has access to the huge list of Android apps (just like the iPod Touch and Apple’s App store). The screen is large, storage is expandable via MicroSD, it has front and rear facing cameras, and it even includes GPS. It’s not any cheaper than the iPod Touch, but it definitely makes for a compelling alternate.
Apple’s iPod line remains the MP3 player of choice, thanks largely to Apple’s iTunes store, but even that is quickly changing with Amazon MP3 and the introduction of Google Play which both offer a similar experience to iTunes. The competition is sure to become even more heated as additional Android powered media players make it to the market. We’ll definitely keep you posted on their progress, or you can check out the MP3 Player ranks on alaTest.