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Music Experience

The iPod was designed to be a music player. The interface, size, storage ability, and general design all enhance this function. The PSP, on the other hand, was designed to be a music/movie/game player. With this difference in mind, let’s see how the two compare with regard to the music experience.

Technically speaking, the iPod beats the PSP when it comes to supported music formats, as shown in the following table.

PSP

iPod

  • AAC
  • ATRAC3(+)
  • MP3
  • WAV
  • AAC (16–320 Kbps)
  • AIFF
  • Apple Lossless
  • Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4)
  • MP3 (16–320 Kbps)
  • MP3 VBR
  • Protected AAC (from iTunes Music Store)
  • WAV

Clearly, the iPod offers many more options for music listeners, but does more really mean better? Both machines support AAC, MP3, and WAV. The remaining formats are either proprietary or rarely used.

Speaking of proprietary, the iPod pretty much requires that you use iTunes. This limitation is both a blessing and a curse. On the upside, iTunes does a good job ripping CDs, creating playlists, and organizing tunes. However, you’re also locked into this program...even if you don’t want to be. This basically means that Apple owns your music library, controls what you can and cannot listen to, and can even control how long you can listen. This sucks—plain and simple. If I wanted to be controlled like this, I would live in China.

The PSP, on the other hand, gives you direct access to its memory’s content. For that matter, you can even remove the memory and either alter the content via an external reader, or swap it out with another memory stick. The downside is that you have to figure out how to get music onto the memory stick. If you have MP3 files, it’s a matter of dragging-and-dropping the files into the right folder. However, if you want to rip a CD and upload it to the PSP, you’ll have to either know a little about this subject or buy a program. The bottom line is that some people like to be in control, and some prefer the computer to do the thinking for them.

It has to be noted that the iPod also has a significant advantage when it comes to storage space. With a minimum of 30GB available in the latest version, you can store thousands of songs or hundred of videos. But do you really need that much space? Most people will have a hard time finding that many songs they want to carry around at all times. If this is the case, a PSP is perfect because it can store about 400 songs on a 2GB memory stick. In fact, a 2GB stick and a PSP will cost you the same as an iPod, and still give you the freedom to watch movies and play games.

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