Choosing Between the iPod with Video Playback and the iPod Nano

I put a 60-Gigabyte iPod on my Amazon.com Wishlist for my upcoming birthday and the holiday season. Up to now, I haven't been able to decide whether to choose an iPod with video playback capability or an iPod nano, but I decided that video playback is going to be a very hot feature of portable media players in 2006. I think the 30-Gigabyte and 60-Gigabyte iPods on sale today are a great way to get out ahead of the adaptation curve.

If you've read Operation Gadget for a while, you know that I bought my wife Kathleen a 10-Gigabyte iPod for Christmas 2003. She is a real music fan, so it made more sense for her to have one than for me. The biggest user of her iPod has been me, however, because she was a pediatric resident when she got the iPod. Until she finished residency in June, the nature of her work and her schedule severely limited her ability to listen.

I'm looking for a new iPod for myself because I don't feel that the 10-Gigabyte iPod has the capacity to accomodate both of our tastes in music, and I'd like to take advantage of the new photo viewing, podcast listening, and video playback features of the iPod platform.

The iPod nano has a lot going for it at this point. It's far and away the portable audio player with the biggest "wow factor". I don't even care that the iPod nano is prone to scratching. The thing that concerns me about the nano is that I don't want to be left without the video playback feature if I'm getting my own iPod. As the main writer on Operation Gadget, I have to stay current with the trends in the portable media market, and having an iPod with video playback capability would certainly make this easier.

Other buyers must confront the trade-offs between size/weight, cost, performance of flash memory versus hard disk, and video playback capability. These are highly personal decisions, in my opinion.

When I told Kathleen that I put a $400 iPod on my wish list, she said, "A lot of relatives probably won't buy something that expensive as a gift for you." That's true, but by saying which iPod I want, I open the door to people to buy accessories for it which more reasonably priced. In addition to the iPod, I added:

I could also add a pair of after-market earphones like the ones I mentioned in "What Reasonably Priced Earphones Can I Use to Replace My iPod Earbuds?" or "Shure E4c Sound Isolating Earphones Win Editors' Choice from CNET", but I'm not that much of an earphone connoisseur yet.

One of the things that's going to be a challenge is how to choose a case for your 5th Generation iPod before Christmas and Hanukkah. There just aren't many choices, and many of those that have already been released aren't widely available. One design I like is the Tough Skin from Speck Products, which appears to be available direct from the manufacturer now, but hasn't appeared on Amazon.com. Belkin is coming out with 5G versions of its 4G cases, but I haven't seen them available for purchase yet.

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