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Apple is famous for making excellent and beautiful consumer electronics. The iPod is no exception.
I guess that is a sensible place to start: the iPod's looks. Put simply it's the best looking MP3 player money can buy. Maybe even the best looking portable gadget money can buy. White really does go with everything and the smooth lines are both pleasing and practical.
NB: The iPod this site displays is the OLD iPod, the new one has no moving parts whatsoever and is the one with the touch-sensitive touch wheel.
Right, let's continue. Obviously the point of an iPod is to play music. And it does this superbly. iTunes (the comuter program you get to complement the iPod) is absolutely fabulous and is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS. It allows you to chose the quality that the songs are taken off the CD at (128kbps is recommended - I use 192, so it really is CD quality as far as anyone can tell), to name the songs, to create custom playlists and even to create "smart playlists" which constantly monitor your music library and update themselves to include all the songs that are included by the filters you use. And all of this is displayed on the actual iPod when you transfer is over. Throw in customisable menus and the coolest way of scrolling in existance and it really is a triumph of software and hardware design.
And of course the iPod weighs next to nothing and has total jog-protection, making it heads and shoulders better than any portable CD player. And did I mention that the 20GB version can hold up to 5000 songs? That's a little bit more than an average CD methinks.
So those are the facts. The same ones as you've probably heard a million times. So what makes me love my iPod so much? Put simply, it will change your life. You know those songs that you love but never hear because they are on some obscure CD at the back of your collection? Well if you put it on your iPod and tell it to shuffle through all of your songs, those little gems will crop up every now and again and will thrill you every time. You might think that 5000 songs is more than you have ever heard, but you will be surprised at just how quickly you can make a bit dent in that space and still love every single song you put on there. And if you buy the wire to hook the iPod up to a hifi or even just some portable speakers, you are never more than about 30 seconds away from music, whether you are at a friends house or in the middle of a park. Life is better with a soundtrack, believe me.
So are there any disadvantages? There are some, but they are very minor. The most important: REPLACE THOSE WHITE HEADPHONES AS SOON AS YOU GET THE IPOD!!! Sorry to break netiquette there and submit you to the dreaded ALLCAPS, but no-one likes getting mugged, so just do it already. Secondly, apparently the shiny metal back of the iPod can get scratched, although this has never happened to me, so I'm not sure how careless you have to be to achieve this. That's about it really. Apple really have put a lot of thought into this device and it really shows.
So to sum up: if you want a MP3 player that you won't be ashamed to carry everywhere and you are prepared to lose a bit of storage space (compared to other available MP3 players of the same cost) to get something that is the easiest to use and best looking MP3 player in existance, the iPod is the one for you.