Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Buying an iPod: Fight the Urge to Splurge

Continuing our discussion of the sneaky iPod pricing structure from yesterday, here are a few tips to help you fight the impulse to splurge.

Purpose

Are you planning to use your new player while exercising? If so, you might be better off with a flash based player like the Shuffle and Nano. Running and shaking can cause the hard drive based players to skip, crash, and otherwise stop playing music. Do not let that "3 minute anti-skip" crap fool you—they don't work well when used while exercising. This is the primary reason that Sarah got a shuffle and she loves it.

Space

Do you really need that space? Possibly not. First, do you even have 5,000 songs (that's how much you'd need to fill up a 20 GB player) on your computer? If not, why get the 60 GB beast? Spend the extra $100 on music!

Another thing to consider for this point is how often you will be updating your player. If you are fanatical about your playlists or just by habit happen to dock your player several times a week (remember: the more you listen, the more you've got to charge!), you can probably get away with a very small player since you won't need to carry your entire collection with you all the time. To accomplish this, setup your player to populate with new stuff every time you plug-in (automatically).

Physical Size

I'm not claiming that the full-size iPod is big, but the shuffle and Nano are tiny. If you are already lugging around a wallet, cell phone, pda, etc., a full-size iPod might be too much.

Age

Finally, with all things tech, you may find your device out of date before you were able to exploit all that extra space. In my experience, these players are designed to last two to three years of solid usage. If you don't really need the biggest player right now, relax. The chances are that a cheaper, smaller, and higher capacity player will be available in a couple years when you do. Plus, a video capable iPod is coming soon, trust me.

Timing

If you can't really afford any iPod now, don't sweat. They are only getting cheaper. You might recall that only three years ago, the cheapest model was $299 (5 GB). Now there are a handful of offerings below the $299 mark. As competition increases, you win. Look forward to the iPod Pico in the spring (j/k).

Final Note

If you've had your heart set on a particular model, go for it! At $299 for a sweet music player and storage device I'd say you're getting a deal. On that note, if you plan to use your iPod as a storage device (pictures, documents, movies, etc.), a larger model may better suit you after all.