The Apple iPod may know how to play video, but it's still a music player at heart, which is evidenced by its not-so-large 2.5-inch screen. Said screen might be sufficient for watching 30-minute TV programs, but what of the feature-length movies now for sale on iTunes? If you want to take these digital films to go without inflicting serious eyestrain on yourself, one option is to pick up Sonic Impact's Video 55, which adds external speakers and a 7-inch screen to your iPod movie-watching experience. Just be forewarned that the Video 55 isn't a cheap accessory--it'll set you back about $300. If you already own a laptop, that's a much more economical option (albeit a larger and heavier one).
If you can get past the price--because, after all, the Video 55 costs nearly as much as an 80GB iPod and more than a 30GB one--you'll be rewarded with a useful device boasting a sleek and compact design. The all-black Video 55 measures 8.7 by 6.5 by 1.7 inches when closed and weighs in at 2.4 pounds, which is significantly smaller and lighter than nearly all mainstream laptops. The portable DVD player-like unit flips open to reveal a 7-inch wide-screen display and a cut-out iPod bed with two strips of touch-sensitive controls on either side. The iPod slot features a rotating dock connector, which you flip up in order to connect the player. Then, once the iPod is in place, it folds down into the base of the Video 55 and rests flush with the edges (a 30GB iPod insert helps manage this for the smaller player; the standard cutout accommodates the 60GB/80GB version). This convenient design also allows you to carry the iPod inside the Video 55 for safe travel.