Buying Guide to IPods

When looking into purchasing an iPod, you should take into account certain factors: how many songs it will hold (or videos), the battery life, the price, and of course, the ease of use and viable features.

Let’s take a look at the iPod Shuffle, shall we? It’s 512 MB, holding about 120 songs. That’s pretty good. Who really needs 500 songs on their iPod? It supports MP3, MP3 VBR, AAC, Protected AAC (from iTunes Music Store, M4A, M4B, M4P), and WAV. It’s compatible with Mac OS X v10.2.8 or later and Windows 2000 with SP 4 or Windows XP Home or Professional with SP 2. It takes four hours to charge and lasts up to 12 hours. Also, it’s smaller than a pack of gum and very lightweight. The price is approximately $70.

The drawbacks: The Shuffle does just that – shuffle. You never know which song is going to play next. That can be a problem for many users who’ve painstakingly selected and edited their playlist. Not only that, but there is no LCD screen that allows you to view what songs are coming next or select a specific song. The lack of a display will turn many consumers away.

So, what are your other options, you might ask? Your “new” version iPod, iPod with Video, or Nano. The difference between all iPod’s are the price and the capabilities.

The 30 GB iPod with Video Playback is almost $300. However, it stores up to 7,500 songs, 20,000 photos, or 75 hours of video playback. If you are a true audiophile, this is for you. Most of us don’t even have 7,500 songs to put on an iPod. Honestly, the iPod with playback is a little excessive. It has a 2.5-inch (diagonal) color LCD with LED backlight, stores up to 14 hours of music playback; up to 3 hours of slideshows with music; up to 2 hours of video playback. All iPods come with earbud headphones and USB cable and most are compatible with the same versions of Mac and Windows operating systems (see above). It claims to have a 20 hour battery life. You can do A LOT with it, such as create your own movies or purchase music videos, Pixar short films, or select TV episodes via iTunes 6. The multimedia capabilites are extensive. You’ll have to decide whether this much power for $300 is for you.

The new iPod is $300 for 30 GB and $400 for 60 GB, holding up to 15,000 songs, 25,000 pictures, support for up to 150 hours of video and a 2.5-inch color display. Both are thinner, under half an inch in width, and comes with the Click Wheel for easy navigation.

The iPod Nano’s are, obviously, much smaller in size than other iPods (although they are all pretty thin and small) and don’t hold as many gigabytes. The price is a lot higher for Nano’s than they really should be, based on their capabilities, battery life and features. For example, a 1 GB iPod Nano can cost you $160, whereas iPod with video is only $140 more, but can store up to 7,500 MP3s. Or, a 2 GB iPod Nano can cost near $200 and only holds 500 songs. It is only .27 inches thin and 1.5 ounces, with a bright color display, has up to 14 hours of music playback; up to 4 hours of slideshows with music. Is it worth it? I would say ‘no’. Yes, it may be cute and small, but it’s price is really not equal to what you get out of it.

Now you have all the information you need. Consider your lifestyle and what price you are comfortable with. Most consumers would do best with the new iPod with 30 GB. Anything else is really overkill and the lower priced Shuffle and Nano are easier on your wallet, but don’t offer a good range of iPod features that people have come to expect.

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