CopyTrans Manager [rating: 4/5]
iTunes 9 was relaunched as iTunes 10, by Steve Jobs in September. People’s first reaction to the new incarnation of what has become Apple’s very own Frankenstein’s monster was that the new icon was a bit naff. I have to say that I think it does look a bit middle aged. Which is probably how iTunes feels about itself these days too.
Prior even to the re-skinning of iTunes 9 there has been some dissent in both Macintosh and Windows camps about how bloated iTunes has become. Originally designed as a tool simply for organizing your music in the era of CDs, iTunes has become a hub to Apple’s massive and diverse digital catalog of Apps, Books, Music, TV and Movies. Not only that but Apple have slapped yet more functionality into iTunes in the form of social networking and “Ping”.
Enter CopyTrans Manager from CopyTrans. CopyTrans Manager is one of a few alternatives to iTunes offered by third parties. For now CopyTrans Manager is PC only. So you may want to look elsewhere if you are going to give iTunes the boot from OS X. Copy Trans recommend their partner company Xtremesoft for OS X options.
The guys at CopyTrans describe their product pretty concisely, so I’ll pinch that direct from their website :
CopyTrans Manager, an iPhone freeware, was the first iTunes replacement to fully support iPods, the iTouch and the iPhone. Forget the iTunes synchronisation limitations and add music and videos to any iPod on any computer. No installation needed, CopyTrans Manager is portable. Standalone, you can take it with you on your iPod and organise your iPod on any PC on-the-go.
Many believe that Apple will have to split iTunes into several applications. But as each revision comes around Apple seems to either not be listing, or dragging its heels over the inevitable. CopyTrans seem to be taking the lead somewhat with that idea on the PC side of the ecosystem. They have a bunch of media management applications for the PC, all of which achieve similar things to iTunes and Apple’s iPhoto etc.
One thing CopyTrans Manager does not do is dispense with iTunes altogether on the PC. You still need it installed as the base installation of iTunes provides the framework by which CopyTrans talks to your iTunes library and your iPod or iPhone.
CopyTrans Manager has a couple of advantages to boast though. One being the very fact that it still relies on the iTunes back-end to administer your media. This means that you are still iTunes compatible, and you are less likely to have your music catalog messed up. Not guaranteed, just less likely. CopyTrans is also free, just like iTunes.
It also loads fast (they boast less than a second, but your mileage may vary – mine did) and only takes up about 3MB on your Hard Drive.
Putting it very simply CopyTrans Manager takes you back to the best days of iTunes. It is focussed on providing fuss free management of your digital media without all the fuss and bloat of iTunes and its Swiss Army Knife approach to file management.
The software is not as polished to my eye as iTunes in OS X. But it is what you would expect from a PC application in terms of look and feel. It is much lighter weight than iTunes, and feels more responsive overall. The icons are not quite as boring and as grey as iTunes 10’s are now!
Although I have not moved my entire library into the package to stress test it, it behaved as expected while I was using it over the last few days for this review.
All the things you would hope to have in an iTunes replacement are there in CopyTrans Manager, Drag and Drop, Editing playlists. Artwork importing to your devices and so on.
CopyTrans provides quite a few other paid packages for media management. So if you like CopyTrans Manager, I assume the idea is that you may be interested in paying for their other software. Seems like a smart idea to me. Also means that although this is a free product, it is fairly mature and backed up by development that has gone into more ambitious paid products that do similar tasks on your PC. Either way this is a good opportunity, for free, to suck their software and see how it tastes.
Overall, if I was managing my music on my PC rather than my Mac, and was looking for an alternative to iTunes running in Windows (which is the most maligned version of iTunes out there after-all) then you can’t go far wrong with CopyTrans Manager.
- Lightweight, feature focussed replacement for iTunes.
- Hassle free management of your music library.
- There isn’t really any bad. This utility does as it says on the tin.
Price: Free (Download)
Compatible with all iPod models
- iPhone, 3G, 3GS and 4 up to iOS4
- iPod Touch, 2G, 3G and 4G up to iOS4
- iPod Nano up to iPod Nano 5G
- iPod Classic, iPod Video and iPod Photo
- iPod Shuffle up to iPod Shuffle 2G
- iPod Mini
- Now reads Mac formatted iPods (HFS+)
- Palm Pre
- Min. 128 MB of RAM
- Designed for Windows XP, Vista & Windows 7
- iPhone/iPod Touch: iPhone drivers must be installed