The Good Best-of-breed design and interface; excellent playlist features; clean, configurable sound; smooth syncing with both Windows PCs and Macs via iTunes; organizes contacts; includes games; functions as an external drive; optional voice-recording and photo-wallet accessories.
The Bad No FM or line-in recording; voice recording enabled with accessory; battery life compromised somewhat by small size; battery not user-replaceable.
The Bottom Line We love almost everything about this beautifully designed player, but the battery life could be longer.
(Updated October 16, 2003)
First, it must be said that the iPods are undeniably cool, with their small profile, feather-touch backlit buttons, and easy operation. These features will drive many people to rush out to the store, but users with lingering doubts about battery performance and longevity may hesitate. Overall, the picture is rosy, but careful buyers should consider these known issues before opening their wallets.
This is simply the best-designed MP3 player we've seen to date. The latest generation comes in 10GB, 20GB, and 40GB versions. They're currently the smallest and lightest high-capacity hard drive-based players in the world, measuring 4.1 by 2.4 by 0.62 inches and weighing 5.6 ounces. With its rounded edges and diminutive size, the new iPod is even more pocket-friendly and aesthetically pleasing than its predecessor.
The bluish-white backlit display measures 2 inches diagonally and has a higher resolution (160x128 pixels), allowing crisper graphics. The scrollwheel on the lower half of the device balances the display visually. Unlike the earlier iPod scrollwheels, it does not spin. In fact, the player's only moving parts are the sliding Hold switch on the top and the hard drive inside the case. The scrollwheel features the same accelerated scrolling of the previous model's, so we were able to whip through several thousand tunes in mere seconds and maneuver with precision between individual songs. An unlabeled multifunction button in the middle of the scrollwheel typically acts as the select control.