eBay is awash with used iPods and cheap accessories. So why pay so much money for new and branded Apple goods?
I recently bought off eBay a small iPod Nano. Granted, it was listed as faulty, but the seller said it "probably" needed a new battery as it has been sat in a drawer for some time. Upon receiving the item, it was dead and so I set about replacing the battery. I’m not sure how long he had it sat in his drawer, but obviously long enough for him to forget the fact that he had cut the wires off the battery, and also broken half of the clips that held the back on. It was obviously a botched job at trying to replace the battery, so he just shoved all the bits back in the case and claimed ignorance. Therefore, if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
Anyway, lesson leant and I bought an iPod touch from a work colleague. As he had got a new one (and was keeping all the bits), I needed a few accessories for it. First stop was Apples website. There you will find all manner of cables and docks for your iPod, but unfortunately, they don’t come cheap. You may however be able to save a few pounds on buying Apple branded products from supermarkets and high street stores. Needles to say all the Apple accessories are of top quality and are guaranteed to work with your iPod without invalidating your warranty. However, everything seemed a little too expensive for me.
So onto eBay and a quick search revealed a host of cables and docks all available for just a few pounds, or even pence in some cases. First up was a charge and synch dock, which cost £5. Obviously, this was a non-branded product, but for £5 it seemed a bargain. Not so. On receipt, it was obviously made in China as the writing on the box was all misspelt. The little white dock did seem to resemble the apple (universal dock) having a connector on the back and a line out. No cables came with it, just the single item. I plugged it into my (own) sync cable and slotted my iPod into the dock. -Nothing! I repeatedly unplugged and rebooted but the iPod would neither charge nor sync. I removed the dock and inserted my cable directly into the iPod to a reassuring Bing Bong from the PC and a charging / sync notice on the iPod. So lesson number two, don’t buy cheap nock off charging docks. The item has been returned (but I still loose out on postage).
Next on the shopping list was an additional USB charge & synch cable, to leave at work. When I bought the first one, I went to ASDA. They had Genuine Apple cables for £15 or ASDA own brand for £7. I compared them both carefully and there was absolutely no difference. I do believe that ASDA's are made by the same people, who make them for Apple, but at half the price, I bought the ASDA one and the quality is superb. However when looking for another I went again to eBay. Not content with £7 I thought I could do better. I eventually found an iPod charge and synch cable for just 99p (plus £1.50 postage). Therefore, I snapped it up. Obviously, I didn’t expect it to be Apple branded but having seen the identical quality of the ASDA one I thought this would be what I would get. Well, you guessed it - I thought wrong! The cable is only about 70cm long (despite the advertised 1m). The Apple one is much longer. I tried plugging it onto my iPod and after several attempts, I realised that it was so tight that repeated use would undoubtedly damage my iPod connector. It is cheap, poorly made and the connector is hollow plastic. It really is awful. OK I hear you cry - what do you expect for 99p. Well I expect it to look like the one in the photo, I expect it to be 1m long (as stated) and I expect it to be "Suitable for purpose" - which it isn’t. SO that too is going back (I will be out of pocket on that too).
Therefore, the moral of the story here is obvious don’t buy "cheap" iPod accessories off eBay. If it is 99p then corners have been cut somewhere and you are very unlikely to get a quality product. When you go back to the Apple store with your blown up iPod I don’t think your going to get much sympathy. You may however get a huge repair bill.
So how to I kit out my iPod and save money?
Well you can buy Apple branded accessories on the high street, but they are quite expensive. I mean £15 for a usb cable is a bit steep. There are several options. As mentioned ASDA have their own cables and accessories, and I am convinced that they are made by the same people, they are CERTAINLY of identical quality. My cable cost £7 that’s les than half price.
In addition, there is eBay of course. However, if you are searching for iPod accessories then search for genuine Apple products. For example if you search for "iPod dock" you will get all the cheap knock offs. If you search for "Apple universal dock”, you will hopefully see the genuine apple ones. Try also searching using the apple code numbers as many people use these in their listings. * * *beware of stock photos though! * * * is the item you are buying a genuine Apple product? Ask if you are unsure. Moreover, ask for an image of the actual item and packaging. Try also searching for used items, many people buying a new iPod will sell their old accessories and these can be a real bargain.
Expect to pay a bit more for the branded goods but you can still save money compared to the high street prices. Don’t even bother looking at the cheap copies; in my experiences, they just aren’t worth it. Spend a little more and get genuine Apple goods. You paid a premium for your iPod didn’t you? Why didn’t you just get a cheap mp3 player? (Yes, I did that too) You bought an IPod because there's a difference. You appreciate the quality of an IPod (or anything Apple). So do yourself and your iPod a favour and DON’T try plugging it into a 99p cable.
You’ve bought the best gadget so buy the best cables for it.
..And for goodness sake - buy a case for it and get it insured! How many people do "you" know with a cracked iPod?'nuff said!
iPod and iPhone accessories - BEWARE! Buy Apple
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19 June 2010
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