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The enhanced iPod (80GB, black shown here) includes better video battery life, a brighter screen, gapless playback, instant search, and several other new features. Nothing revolutionary here (some features are even "borrowed" from its competitors), but it's a very solid upgrade.

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At 4.1 by 2.4 by 0.43 inches and 4.8 ounces, the 30GB iPod is definitely one of the world's sleekest high-capacity players. To many users, the thicker (0.55 inches) and heavier (5.5 ounces) 80GB version actually feels more comfortable in the hand.

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At $249 for the 30GB version and $349 for the 80GB version, the iPod is genuinely a deal. It has forced Creative to lower the prices of its heralded Zen Vision:M, and others will follow. It's important to point out, though, that the street prices for the iPod competitors are often lower than $250.

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The 80GB iPod next to the 30GB Toshiba Gigabeat S (the Gigabeat S also comes in 60GB). The Gigabeat S is a supercompact music and video player that resides in the Windows Media ecosystem.

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The new iPod gets the same bundled accessories as its predecessor--not much.

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The Click Wheel is still the iPod's best physical asset.

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The 5.5G iPod possesses the same scratch-prone body as its predecessor. This is definitely one player that needs a case (and luckily for iPod owners, there are thousands of cases available). The updated Nano and the shrunken Shuffle are skinned in durable alumnium; is the aluminum iPod far behind?

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In addition to music, video, photo, and PIM features, the updated iPod features enhanced games. The screen is now 60 percent brighter than its predecessor, and you can adjust brightness from within the movie playback screen.

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Early summer 2006, Apple released the 5G update to the U2 Special Edition iPod. Many saw this model as the last of this particular form factor, until the updated iPod arrived on September 12. Will we see updated versions of these as well?

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Both the 30GB and the 80GB versions of the iPod are dimensionally identical to their respective predecessors. Now you can get 80GB (shown here) in the same body as the old 60GB, and it costs $50 less at $349.

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Apple's improved the iPod screen's brightness, video battery life has been pumped up, and now you can fill it with iTunes movies. But the 2.5-inch screen is just too small for lengthy viewings.

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The 30GB 5G iPod next to the 20GB 4G iPod. Is a wide-screen iPod next?

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