Friday, May 19, 2006

IPod Video 60 GB Review

I am not much of a “Gadget Guy”, but I do have my fair hare of convenient electronics. My recent purchase was an Ipod Video 60GB music player, and I have to admit, I am very impressed with this device. My previous MP3 player took a nosedive on me from excessive rough use. So I weighed my options between the Ipod, the Creative Labs Zen Vision:M, and the Iaudio XS. Although the Zen was a better handheld unit, the Windows XP only support was enough for me to count that one out. The availability of the Ipod was what ultimately helped me decide.

The Ipod does pretty much what you would expect from an MP3 Player, it plays music. The size of the hard disk was a big deciding factor for me; it stores all the music I had on my MP3 server with room to spare. The music playback quality is fairly decent, at least with the stock headphones. I don’t have a particularly high quality sound system setup at the office for testing sound quality, but for the most part I am happy with it. I’ve actually found this useful for not only listening to music, but also using my instructional Spanish CD’s to a quick study on the go.

The big kicker for this device is the video playback feature. So far I have converted a few AVIs of movies that I had previously pulled for playing on my Pocket PC. The conversion didn’t go as planned, and the A/V sync is way off. I want to give some of the other suites for ripping DVD’s a try. Having a movie to watch really helps on the treadmill, where sometimes Music isn’t enough to keep me motivated. From what I saw, however, the video playback quality was fairly decent, and watching movies on such a tiny screen was not nearly as painful as I thought it would be.

While I love my Ipod, there are plenty of downsides to it. The biggest complaint I see, and I totally agree with, is the music management is horrendous. Itunes is total crap, as there is not real method of managing folders of music, which is how I have everything broken up on my music server. The Autosyncronization feature of Itunes is a nightmare, so I advise keeping it turned off, unless you want Itunes to wipe out music that you have on the Ipod that is not in its local “library” (i.e. If you plug it in to a friends computer with this feature, it wipes your music). There are plenty of 3rd part music managers available that allow better music management, and even to copy from the Ipod back to a PC. Out of the box, it comes with absolutely no protection save for a measly white sleeve. This wouldn’t be a problem, except the sleeve has no way to attach to anything, and it does nothing to protect the screen of the Ipod. I tried a few covers, but ultimately settled on an InCase Neoprene Case, mainly because it has a screen protector and a belt clip. And even though I got the black model, the headphones are still white, which in my opinion makes someone easily identifiable as an Ipod owner and a target for thieves.

Outside of a few complaints, overall I am very impressed with the Ipod. I feel it was a worthwhile purchase. I would recommend this to others.

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