"Why I "Sold Out" to iPod"4.5 starson by joonbeams
Pros: iTunes content, memory, 3rd party accessories, sleek
Cons: Average sound quality, sharing is a nightmare, stuck w/ Apple forever
Summary: "iPod World"
I'm one of those "wouldn't be caught dead with an iPod on my waste" types. Like many of you, I've had or tried several portable music devices - waiting in vain for the proverbial "iPod Killer". It never came and I doubt it ever will. I've used an Archos 400 for a couple of years and it has been great (especially sound wise), but I outgrew it. I've also toyed with Zune, Zen, and Toshiba Gigabeats. I took them all back for 2 big reasons: 1) getting content I wanted wasn't easy, 2) we live in an iPod world.
I hate to admit it, but the signs of the times are clear - iPod will be dominating the market for a while because iTunes has the widest content in one place, iPod has the largest number of 3rd party accessories (including BMW/luxury car integration!), and they've mastered the space/size thing better than anyone.
"Sound is a Real Issue. Sharing is painful"
The principle downside, other than conformity, is that the iPod sound quality is average - not bad, just not great. This is a real issue for any sound gurus. There are ways to hide it with equalizer setting, other accesories (i.e. docks, headphones, etc.), etc. but there is no getting around this obvious weakness. It is even apparent to my wife who by no means considers herself a techie. Again, it's average and many people won't notice or care. However, I expect this to improve with later versions. My other gripe is the "sharing" issue, especially since I use both an iMac and a PC. Why can't I push my non-iTunes content to another computer? (I hope Apple changes this annoying limitation). After days of tweaking and 3rd party add on software, I now have my libraries almost set.
"Jam-packed with Content. Only going up."
My 80 gig iPod video is packed with iTunes songs, my CDs, music videos, movies, tv shows, audiobooks, and podcasts and I'm still only about 40% full! 30 gigs just can't cut it anymore. Plus, we know Apple won't stop at 80 gigs - we all want portable Libraries of Congress!
I give a 9/10, mostly for the average sound, otherwise it's a 10. In my mind, the "total package" is hands down the best out there.
Bottom Line: if you don't plan on buying online music and you are happy with few accessories, don't buy an iPod - gigabeat, Zen, and Archos all have much better sound and equally good or better video. If you are like me and see yourself buying TV shows, movies, music, audobooks, etc. online and you don't want to restart your collection again in a couple years, play it safe and get an iPod. You can be guaranteed that you will have a "player" in the game no matter who else tries to compete. - Sorry so long...