Sony’s newest and best offering the Sony Walkman NW-HD1 is the latest salvo from a major competitor. Sony is the big loser. Everyone disses the diminutive player for every reason you can think of except brand name.
What about Dell’s DJ? The Digital Jukebox is nearing the end of its first year of production and Dell refuses to provide sales figures or market share numbers. As Dell prepares to eat crow, Apple crows about the iPod’s continuing growth and success.
Prepare to compare. I’ll use the same 12 points we used when comparing the new generation iPod to Sony’s Walkman. Let’s see how the Dell DJ compares. This time, we’ll use the iPod 20 gig version against a similar size hard drive in the Dell.
1 – Overall Size
If small is better, then Apple takes the cake against the DJ. Dell couldn’t squeeze the air out of the DJ. It’s heavier and bulkier than the iPod. In fact, held in your hand, the DJ feels more like a PocketPC.
2 – Hard Drive Capacity
Size is everything. I should know. While we’re comparing the 20 giabyte versions of each player, Dell says you can’t get as many songs onto the DJ as Apple says will go onto an iPod. Plus, there’s a 40 gigabyte version of the iPod available for those of you who happen to have 10,000 songs. Still, 20 gigs by any other name is still 20 gigs.
3 – Total Number of Songs
Obviously, this one depends. Mostly. Apple advertises up to 10,000 songs on the 40 gig iPod, and 5,000 songs on the 20 gig model. Dell says the DJ will hold up to 9,925 songs on the 20 gig model. Then, like Sony, they cheat a little and say that the audio format is 64kbps WMA encoding vs. the 128kbps AAC encoding on the iPod. No, it ain’t Apples to apples. But it’s the number of songs that counts.
WINNER: Dell DJ
4 – Cool Factor
The industry that iPod built is phenomenal. So is the cool factor. IF Dell’s DJ is so cool then why did they offer a $100 bounty to trade in your old iPod for a DJ? That’s not cool. That’s desperate. How many Dell DJ’s have you seen? Compare that to the number of iPods in your own family. I’ll bet the number is the same.
5 – Sound Quality
Granted, this is a subjective category. Still, listening to 128kbps AAC encoded audio on an iPod is usually considered much better than a similar bit rate MP3. Since Dell officially advertises the DJ at 64kbps WMA, it’s no contest. Not with my ears, your ears, or the ears of everyone else, or professionals.
6 – Versatility
The Dell DJ is a PocketPC that thinks it’s a music player. Or, so it seems. It stores music and not much more. It’s ONLY USB and ONLY Windows compatible.
It won’t play your music downloaded from the iTunes Music Store, and it won’t be a hard drive to store files (easily) without a few extra pounds of effort. iPod? The king of versatility. USB and Firewire. Mac or PC. Stores what you want.
WINNER – iPod
7 – Battery Life
Yes, I know. This one sorta “depends”, too. But not enough. Even the new iPod is rated at only “around” 12 hours of battery life. Dell says the DJ will get up to 20 hours of battery life.
Of course, most Dell users never use up the 20 hours before ditching the little bugger and moving to an iPod. Still…
WHINER: Dell DJ
8 – Compatibility
Apple did the iPod right. Both Mac and PC. Works seamslessly with the iTunes Music Store and iTunes. Both Mac and PC. USB 2.0 and Firewire. AAC, MP3, and more. Dell’s DJ Music Player knows WMA and MP3. Is this a contest or a rout?
That’s 8 points down and 4 points to go. The score? The iPod: 5, Dell Digital JukeBox: 2, and one tie.
Click Here for Page 2 and the final score.
Continued from Page 1…
9 – Price
You get what you pay for, I guess. The new iPod at 20 gigabytes is a solid $299. The 40 gigabyte model is only $399. Still, the Dell 20 gigabyte Digital Jukebox Music Player is now $237.15, or as low as $7 per month. That’s less than 25-cents per day for listening pleasure. OK, I’m half right. The numbers don’t lie.
WINNER: Dell DJ
10 – Accessories
The iPod comes with virtually no Apple-supplied accessories. The Dell doesn’t come with much, either, other than the carrying case and inline remote control, both extras on the iPod. However, “accessories” covers what you can get for the portable players, and for Dell, well, they give you about everything you can get. iPod? The king of accessorydom. There’s more stuff available for iPod than iMacs. Well, its seems that way.
11 – Online Music Access
Are you tired yet? It’s iTunes Music Store and iTunes vs. Music Match. That’s no contest. Pretty much everyone agrees that both Apple offerings are the cat’s meow in ease of use, accessibility, and work just fine on Mac or PC, thank you.
12 – Ease of Use
Finally, some competition. The DJ is decidedly simple to use. Controls are laid out nicely, and relatively easy to use. For Windows users. iPod users will find the DJ to be a bit cluttered and un-intuitive. The unit itself is mostly metal and feels OK. Corners are soft and comfortable. There’s not much there. Compare that to the glitz and high tech look of Sony’s new Walkman.
13 – Value (it’s a Baker’s dozen of 12 points)
Ultimately, it’s the first 12 points that get rolled into the overall value of a portable music player. Let’s see, the score now is one tie, Dell’s DJ has 3 points, and Apple’s iPod has 8 points.
That must mean that the coveted “Value” crown goes to the iPod, huh?
The Dell DJ can’t be doing too well since Dell’s offering a $100 bounty for dead iPods. The combination of iPod, iTunes, and iTunes Music Store is the juggernaut that Apple calls portable music revolution. Dell doesn’t even come as close as Sony in overall value.
For less than $60 more you can get an iPod instead of a Dell Digital Jukebox Music Player. If you’re smart, your friends will say, “Dude, you didn’t get a Dell!”
That says it all.