Columnist: Dell DJ a junky knockoff of the superior Apple iPod

“The Dell DJ [is] a fast follower and straightforward knockoff of the iPod. Like all the devices in this category, the DJ uses a non-removable computer hard-disk drive as its storage and playback medium (as opposed to removable media such as compact discs or memory cards),” George Emerson writes for The Globe and Mail.

“In its marketing, Dell compares its DJ to the iPod, emphasizing that it has more gigabytes of memory and more bells and whistles for less money ($349) than the Apple unit. To my mind, that’s like comparing the Hyundai Accent with BMW’s MINI. The Accent is a competent, cost-conscious subcompact, but not, like the MINI, a well-appointed stunner with serious performance to boot,” Emerson writes.

“Compared with the Apple unit, the Dell DJ feels like a throwback to the days of automobiles with hand-cranked ignitions. For starters, you begin the process of using a digital music player by plugging it into a computer to load songs and albums and user-created playlists of songs. With the DJ, you must first plug it into a USB port, then open the ‘jukebox’ music management software that houses your music collection. You then have to find and click the link on the computer that initiates a transfer to the music player, at which point the computer will tell you that it’s ‘Preparing to sync. Please wait.’ This multistep process contrasts sharply with the iPod experience. When you connect an iPod, it instantly opens the jukebox software–Apple’s iTunes for Windows and Mac–and the synchronization starts automatically,” Emerson writes.

“Dell, in its rush to copy the iPod, farmed out much of its DJ development to subcontractors who resell generic hardware or software to anyone who comes knocking. It shows. I had trouble installing and using the third-party jukebox program, Musicmatch, on my Dell desktop computer running Windows XP. I had to go to the Musicmatch website to download a plug-in needed for the Dell desktop to recognize the Dell DJ, and consumed a quarter-hour downloading and installing that. Subsequently, every time I opened the Musicmatch software I was pestered by pop-up ads that asked me to pay for an upgrade to a more feature-rich version of the software. Conversely, Apple’s iTunes never pestered me and ran flawlessly on my Dell,” Emerson writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A fun read, although Emerson slips up and reveals his bias against Apple Mac computers by writing, “Demand [for iPod and iPod mini] appears to be widening the perpetual smirk on the face of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who must be savouring his creation of a fast-growing product category–not to mention dominating it the way Microsoft dominates the personal computer category.” Emerson could have just as easily written “ever-widening smile” instead of “perpetual smirk,” but only a Windows Sufferer


  1. I must disagree. As I said before:: “I’ve switched from the iPod to the superior Dell DJ”… and I’m an expert. Expert on Windows and Mac. Can anyone please advise me what Mac to buy? And maybe someone can tell me how to sync my superior Dell DJ with the centuries ahead Windows OS?

  2. I don’t think smirks get wider, they get deeper.

    Yes, Thurrott is a douchbag, but the article wasn’t by or about him. This place is getting silly, let’s talk politics instead.

  3. mack 10 lol.. brutal brand loyalty wow…


    Listening to Thurrott, it’s all about gigs and battery life…

    of course, when it comes to consumer electronics, dell’s commoditized offerings are getting less and less competitive, since.. *cough.. they have no retail presence and rely solely on NUMBERS to sell their stuff.

    oh yeah.. dell isn’t a consumer electronics company and has never been about ease of use..

    unless you like their which case, maybe they can tell you which young upstart op did it for them.

  4. I imagine plenty of people think Jobs looks smug and unpleasant. You don’t have to be anti-mac to just not like Jobs. In the newspaper I buy there are little headshots of the writes. Some of them really put me off reading their articles because they look smug or arrogant. Even though they may be decent people writing good stuff.

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