Apple’s iPod has never been as popular, accounting for over 70% of the MP3 player market in its many forms and having a larger library of games than the PSP and Nintendo DS put together. That means that over 70% of MP3 owners are using iTunes to manage music on their iPod’s then right? I personally don’t know anybody who doesn’t use iTunes to manage their digital music collection, in fact I use iTunes myself, but there are more alternatives than people think. One of these alternatives is CopyTrans Manager, which offers a bulk free way to get your music on and off your iPod and is available for Windows XP, Vista and 7.
During my testing, CopyTrans manager worked great with everything I threw at it, namely an iPhone 3G, iPod Touch (1st Gen), iPod Nano (4th Gen) and an older iPod Nano (2nd Gen). The interface is fairly easy to navigate and brings up the contents of your iPod almost immediately after connection.
You can edit song tags and album artwork, manage your playlists and preview tracks from your iPod. Most features worked without a fuss, but when I tried to play any of my Apple Lossless tracks or iTunes purchased tracks, the program would stop responding for a few seconds before telling me that I had to download a missing M4A codec and directing me to the K-Lite Codec Pack which weighed in at just over 14MB. That said, if the developers built in that native support then it would cost them to do so and would defeat the purpose of providing a free application.
When managing songs and playlists, you can simply drag and drop songs wherever you want them to go, and you can rename songs and playlists just like you would in iTunes. One feature I found useful was the ability to simply drag and drop songs right on to your iPod without having them stored in your iTunes library beforehand. This is a brilliant feature if you’re on the go and want to grab a song from a friend’s computer. But what if they don’t have CopyTrans Manager? Just run it off your flash drive — it’s a portable application that can be executed on any computer so you don’t have to worry about having your own machine with you.
I enjoyed the simplicity of using CopyTrans Manager to sync my iPod, as I didn’t have to be faced with a host of features I didn’t need to use in iTunes. Being a lightweight application, CopyTrans Manager CPU footprint was 0% when idle and just 2% when the player was active, using no more than 36MB of RAM. When the player’s minimised, you’re still kept updated with the current song via a small pop up window that appears in the corner of the screen when the song changes, which is a nice touch.
I love the simplicity of CopyTrans Manager compared to iTunes, although it would be nice to see support for more audio codecs such as M4A in future upgrades, as it seems strange to advertise a ‘faster, lighter’ iTunes alternative and not include support for Apple’s music format without a 3rd party codec pack, which I’d have preferred not to install. Despite this, I found this iTunes alternative to be a very capable and compatible iPod manager. If you want to check it out, you can head on over to the CopyTrans Manager website where it is available as a free download.