These days, our smartphones can do everything. They organize our schedules, deliver important emails, take great pictures and videos, play games and movies, browse the web, and even control R/C quadcopters.
Naturally, this means they can replace devices whose functions they duplicate, like cameras, handheld gaming systems, and PDAs. However, there is still one thing that I can't replace with my smartphone, and that is my lowly digital audio player.
In my case, that lowly DAP is a Sansa Clip+, a device I purchased after much research on AnythingButiPod. You are probably asking how this simple device outperform my $500 smartphone. Well, there are actually a few answers to that question.
First, the Sansa Clip just plain has better sound quality than my smartphone. Now, I am no audiophile, so I don't know how it works, but I can tell a difference between the sound from my smartphone and the sound from the Clip. Perhaps it has something to do with all the extra electronics and radios in the smartphone, or maybe its all in my head. Still, I prefer listening to my OGG music files on the Clip to listening on my smartphone.
Another reason I still use my Clip for audio is that it is much more portable than a smartphone. Sure, smartphones are pretty small and light, but as you can see in the above photo my HTC Glacier is nowhere near as small as the Clip. Also, when running or biking with a smartphone in your pocket, the weight is constantly noticeable and as a result is quite annoying. With the Clip and other media players, you can hardly tell they are there at all.
Dedicated MP3 players also offer a distinct advantage when being used for outdoor activities, as they are much more durable than smartphones. Almost any MP3 player will withstand much more punishment than a smartphone would.
This brings me to DAP's last advantage: price. Breaking a smartphone in any situation would set you back hundreds of dollars. If you can use a DAP player to do the same thing, you could save hundreds. Even if you break the device, a replacement will cost you less than $50 in most cases. My Sansa Clip only set me back $20, which makes it almost disposable.
Of course, smartphones do have their advantages as audio players. Primarily, I find that they are much better for listening to podcasts than MP3 players, because they can download the episodes themselves and do not need to be synced with a computer. With my Sansa Clip and gPodder, I have plug the Clip into my computer and press a sync button. This is not much more effort than a smartphone, but it is still a minor annoyance.
Despite that minor annoyance, I find that at least for my uses my smartphone cannot replace my audio player. That may change as smartphones get better, but personally I'm sticking with my Sansa Clip for now. So, has your smartphone replaced your audio player yet, or are you still waiting for a certain feature?