The best part of buying an iPod is walking into an Apple Store with eye candy popping up everywhere and stimulation stations every two feet for your viewing pleasure. That's the fun part, now the hard part begins. Which iPod is the right one for you? If you're picking out an iPod as a gift for someone else or it's you're first iPod, this can be a daunting task. I have owned almost every iPod since their release. I currently own five iPods that I use for different purposes. I've written a few basic guidelines you can follow to help you choose the right iPod.
Understanding how you want to use your mobile music is an important part of the selection process. The individual features vary greatly with each model along with storage size. Your pick depends upon your personal lifestyle so take time to consider how you intend to use your iPod. The smaller 1GB Shuffle and 2GB Nano model will require more time managing songs to keep the mix fresh over time. This is not a huge drawback in my opinion for these budget models. They still perform brilliantly.
Here are three amazing options in the current iPod line up:
1. The new 1GB Shuffle
for $79 is a great pick if you're buying a gift for someone or for yourself. It's a perfect
match as a second iPod and good for exercising, traveling or walking the dog
with it's clip on portability holding about 250 songs. These new models come in four stylish colors. The drawback here is there is no on screen menu to view song
listing on-the-go making it rough for the first time iPod user. If you want your music segmented into organized playlists with the ability to see the artists you're choosing, the Shuffle is definitely not for you.
2. The Nano is versatile offered in 2GB, 4GB or 8GB priced from $149 to $249 respectively. The new thinner design also comes in four stylish colors plus black and (Red). You can load and view your color digital photos plus 500 songs on the 2GB model up to 2,000 songs on the 8GB model. The big positive here is the viewing screen for photos, selecting your playlists, viewing album art and for choosing individual songs. The new design is sturdy and still compact. This model also works well for runners with the Nike + iPod Sport Kit. The Nano will work best for exercising if you buy the armband accessory. If you want your exercise routine playlisted by tempo and energy allowing choice of changing playlists often, this model will be the single best match for you. The 4GB or 8GB model is a great pick if you're a new user. If you're feeling generous gift the 2GB model.
3. The iPod Video is the big kahuna of the iPod series with a 30GB for $249 and 80GB model for $349 offered in black and white finish. The features here are powerful with a 2.5 inch color display screen, full motion video, ability to display photos and album art with storage from 7,500 to 20,000 songs depending on the model you choose. Consider this model if you are a total audio maniac who wants to carry tons of video and music with you on-the-go and own the best that iPod has to offer. The ability to pack in dozens of playlists here is enormous. The downside is this model is not the easiest to use for exercise purposes because of it's size. It can also make you a bit paranoid traveling without one of the hard case or Skin options for protection. A big upside is plugging this bad boy into your TV via s-video to watch your favorite downloaded video programs. It has a standard TV and widescreen TV mode. You will need the universal dock accessory to connect to your TV. Having the top-of-the-line iPod is awesome until the new model is released. Trust me on this one. Case in point is the ground breaking new iPhone. I will reserve that expensive new toy for another post.
Important Reality: The song capacity for iPods are quoted by Apple based on songs that average about 4 minutes in length and are ripped at a bit rate of 128-Kbps AAC not the standard MP3. If you use MP3 files at a bit rate of 256-Kbps (example) you will cut your song capacity to almost half of it's rated potential. Also, the GB rating for each iPod ends up being a bit less than advertised. For example a 20GB iPod will actually provide you with roughly 18.6GB of usable space. The same rule of thumb applies to all iPod models (view chart).
If you are a first time iPod user you will find the instruction manuals and the iTunes tutorial to be
extremely user friendly. Don't be intimidated by the technology. Apple has made it simple keeping the new user in mind. You will absolutely love the iTunes Music Store with all of the media download options. No matter what iPod you choose you can plan on spending a nice chunk of cash on accessories to personalize your pod along with downloading new music. Whichever iPod you choose I'm sure you'll find the performance to be remarkable. Waiting in an airport, washing your car, grocery
shopping or taking a long walk will never feel quite the same again.
"I am confident that the Apple iPod will change the way you experience music."