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Review: iTunes for Windows

I've been using iTunes for Windows on two computers since it was first released, so I felt it's about time to write a review. I didn't have any of the boot/install problems described in some reviews, but I have only been using it on Windows XP machines. I have no desire to write a structured review, so here's the quick breakdown:

Disclaimers:
- I have not purchased songs on iTunesMS, nor have I purchased songs on Musicmatch MX.
- I have only used Musicmatch 7.5. They are now on 8.1.

The good:
- syncs with my iPod MUCH faster than Musicmatch. I've never actually witnessed Musicmatch finish syncing, even on extremely small updates, as I usually got so bored of watching the pathetically slow progress meter and left the room. With iTunes, the sync took under a minute.
- Windows iPod owners can finally use the rating feature of the iPod
- iTunes' smart playlists are very excellent feature that I'm just starting to play with. Combining this with the rating feature makes for a fast, easy way of coming up with good quality playlists. Musicmatch has AutoDJ, but it's not as cool.
- iTunes' UI is much faster than Musicmatch's clunky interface. The engineers at Musicmatch have overdone their UI with skinning, leaving it terribly underoptimized for painting performance. You can literally watch it assemble portions of the UI on screen for painting on an Athlon 1700 with half a gig of RAM.
- Although I probably won't purchase a song in the near future, iTunes Music Store is really nice for listening to song samples. I used to use Amazon for this, but the integrated player is much nicer and gets rid of annoying RealPlayer/Windows Media Player issues.
- iTunes' UI is much easier to use that Musicmatch's. Musicmatch has two record buttons (both red circles) you have to press to record a CD (the latest version of Musicmatch appears to have eliminated these buttons). I also find iTunes' playlist-oriented browsing much easier to use. The Musicmatch UI is like using the on-the-go playlist feature of the iPod. You browse through the library, click on a song, and it's appended to the current playlist. This mode of use is really only fun in a party situation where you're letting your guests use your computer like a jukebox. It also leads to unnecessary UI glut as you need "open" and "save" buttons. Also, Apple is much smarter and figured out that you don't need separate play, pause, and stop buttons. And, really, who needs a stop button?

The bad:
- iTunes has the small problem that first generation Windows mp3 players had, which is that is has the tendency to skip when you spike the CPU, even sometimes for something as simple as switching windows. It's sad to see an music player released in 2003 exhibiting a problem that other players solved a long time ago.
- Musicmatch beats the pants off iTunes comes mp3 tagging. With Musicmatch you can highlight a group of songs and it will attempt to look the tag information (including cover art) on the Internet using hints in the filename. This is a godsend when you're trying to fix the tags on 500+ songs because your iPod won't work properly without them.
- Musicmatch also lets you rename your mp3s based on patterns you define, which is nice if you're organizing mp3s on your filesystem or burning mp3s onto a CD.
- iTunes appears to have a painting bug. If I place another window on top of iTunes and then minimize that window, the text on iTunes is all garbled. This isn't a major problem.
- MusicMatch has a "watch folders" feature which monitors certain folders for new mp3s. This is nice if you happen to be "sampling" mp3s off the Web.

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on October 22, 2003 10:21 PM.

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