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Tech Take-Apart
Apple iPod
by rob

The iPod is the must-have holiday gadget for geek and non-geek alike. It's the coolest MP3 player on the market and now that it works with both Mac and Windows, there's no reason not to have one.

Anyone getting this as a gift will enjoy the packaging, it's so slick n' pretty... not to mention the iPod itself with its chrome and white finish. When I passed the iPod around the lab I heard, "Wow," "Cool," "Sweet," and "I want one!"

Apple iPodiPods come in 10, 20, 30, or 40GB capacities. The model we tested sports 30GB - about 7,500 songs. If you do the math, that's three weeks of music played 24/7 without repeats. If you have more than the 10,000 songs the 40GB model will hold, you may need professional help.The 30GB iPod comes with a dock that makes charging and syncing easy. Connect to your computer via FireWire or USB 2.0 and the included iTunes or MusicMatch Jukebox automagically updates your iPod with your MP3 library.The "all-touch" interface is very intuitive. You can just pick the iPod up and start navigating menus and playing songs. The scroll wheel moves within menus and controls the volume while the touch buttons access menus and control playing songs.The 2" LCD and touch buttons feature backlighting for low-light conditions but the LCD is impressive even in a well-lit room. The LCD has standard backlighting but the buttons glow red. Now that's cool.You may worry about bouncing a hard drive up and down while exercising, but I went running with the iPod in my pocket outside the lab and didn't have one skip.

One thing you might worry about is scratching the case. When you get your iPod, go ahead and get a protective jacket like the Jam Jackets from Digital Lifestyle Outfitters. They keep your iPod protected while allowing you to rock!

Pros: Ease of use, too cool not to have.
Cons: Easily scratched.
Bottom Line: You've gotta get one, or at least hint to someone that you really want one.

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