Review: Video IPod - InformationWeek

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Review: Video IPod

It's the best iPod by far, and comparatively inexpensive. But does it do a good job displaying video?

Screen quality is stunning. The display produces a crisp, bright picture that makes it surprisingly enjoyable to watch video on such a small device. After a couple minutes I actually forgot that I was watching it on a small screen. Playing the same video on my computer was less satisfying, because the picture appeared grainy and pixilated. Also, TV shows from iTunes skip commercials, which is nice. The convenience of iTunes and the absence of commercials makes the $1.99 a small price to pay.

The iPod, like the iPod Photo, has the ability to connect to a TV via an optional audio/video connectors sold at the Apple store for $19.99. After connecting it to my TV and enabling the "TV" mode under "Video Settings," I selected an episode of Lost. I was astonished by the high picture quality. The quality was somewhere between DVD and VHS quality, but closer to DVD crispness and clarity and at least as good as watching the shows live.

Apple claims that it increased the battery life by 5 hours providing a total battery life of 20 hours. In my tests I found this to be true enough.

Also new are three minor applications: a screen lock, world clock and stopwatch -- handy, but not earth-shattering.

The iPod is still the same great device. Navigation hasn't changed. You still use the click-wheel, but with the addition of a couple more menus. It still plays superb sounding music and displays fantastic pictures. The iPod is still a music player, with the added functionality of video.

If you're an iPod hater, and don't understand what all the fuss has been about over the years, this version won't convert you. But if you've ever liked any previous iPod, you'll love this one.

With the release of the new iPod, Apple has accomplished what iRiver, Creative and Microsoft have tried but failed to produce: A truly portable media player that's simple, powerful, usable and beautiful. All things considered, this is the best iPod -- by far -- ever put on the market, and the price ain't bad, either.

So stop anguishing over it and go buy one already.

Apple iPod (White/Black) 30 GB $299 60 GB $399

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