iPod Help

I’m looking to buy an iPod and I’m uncertain about whether it’s worth it to pay extra for the color screen of the iPod photo.

If you know something about this, please read the details below the fold and then leave me a comment.

Ok, I know that a 20GB model won’t be enough, but I can get a 30GB iPod photo for the academic price of $320. Yet I just found out that I can get a close-out deal on a 40GB iPod (b/w) for $345.

So on paper it seems like 10GB extra for only $25 is the way to go, but I’m guessing that soon all iPods will have color screens and with that will come all kinds of other extra capabilities that I won’t be able to take advantage of with the b/w model.

If you have any advice, please share it in the comments section. Thanks.

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Leopold Stotch
About Leopold Stotch
“Dr. Leopold Stotch” was the pseudonym of political science professor then at a major research university inside the beltway. He has a PhD in International Relations. He contributed 165 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and February 2006.


  1. jd watson says:

    You might want to look at the iRiver H320 which works with any computer system, many compression formats, is cheap, and has been getting some great reviews around the web.

  2. Goat says:

    With the recent drop in prices, you can now get an ipod with a color screen and an additional 10 gigs for $50 more. Looks like a great deal, but if you can wait until the end of the year, all ipods are going to color screens and the minis will top out at 10 gigs. iTunes is reason enough to use an ipod. I don’t use it to purchase songs but it gets my endorsement due to its ease of use and intuitive layout.

    See you in traffic in the beltway!

  3. mallarme says:

    A couple of caveats to buying an iPod that you should keep in mind, as well. The sound quality, while acceptable, is among the poorest of the major MP3 players out there. It also cannot do gapless playback, which means if you’re listening to an album where one track flows into another, you’ll hear a pause in between (which I find very annoying). It also cannot play Ogg Vorbis. I would recommend the Rio Karma as it has none of these problems, but it’s poorly built and has only a 3 month manufacturer warranty as a result. The hard drives tend to fail and the moving parts break very easily if dropped. From what I’ve heard, the iRiver is an excellent alternative. That said, I own a 40GB iPod myself (able to get a deal through an Apple employee) and enjoy it despite the lack of gapless playback and somewhat flat sound quality.

  4. RE Gardner says:

    Glenn Reynolds recently blogged on this – http://instapundit.com/archives/021375.php
    You should look at the link he gives –

    The other big iPod problem I have heard about is the battery not lasting very long, and since it is proprietary, expensive to replace (~$200). I think there is a class action ongoing about this. This data is a year old, maybe Apple has improved the battery since then.

  5. Paul says:

    It’s amazing that the iPod has like a 95% customer satisfaction rating but when you ask a question, people can’t wait to bash it. Life in the blogosphere.

    But to actually answer your question…

    I can get you a 40GB photo cheaper than your close-out B/W AND it comes with free freight.

    Problem solved.


  6. Herb Ely says:

    I don’t see a great value in showing photos of my grandchildren on the small screen of an iPod. I do use my IPod for music in the car and as a portable address book and calendar. One nice aspect of this is that I no longer listen to the radio talkmeisters whineing about the outrage du jour. I also use it to back up my data files? Mine don’t take a lot of space – but that is because I back up my photo files on CD’s

  7. Rich says:

    If you want an iPod to listen to your music or audioboooks, and aren’t concerned so much about photos, then I’d say get the 40 gig and don’t worry about the color screen. It’ll be there, if you want to buy it later.

  8. Rich: this is the whole point of my post; I don’t want to buy the b/w one now only to have to shell out another $350 in the near future because the color one has some functions that the b/w one won’t be able to handle.

  9. name goes here says:

    Corrections to RE Gardner’s post.

    The current B/W iPod has a battery that lasts up to 12 hours, the iPod Photo has a 15 hour battery life, and the iPod mini has an 18 hour battery life. If you need to replace the iPod’s battery, it only costs $30, but you’ll have to install it yourself, or Apple can do it for you for $99 — they’ll actually just send you a new one from what I hear.

    As for getting the B/W model and then discovering that it doesn’t have a function a color model might support later… You’ll probably be in the same situation if you get the iPod Photo and then Apple releases the iPod Video or whatever’s next. Technology changes so rapidly that things will always get better and have more fuctions/features. All I can say is if you don’t need the features of the iPod Photo right now, then go with the B/W model. That’s what I’d do if I was looking for one right now (currently own a 20GB iPod and paid $400 for it a year ago). The color screen is pretty much useless for me — too small.