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Before Buying an iPod: Which Is Best For You?

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Figuring out which iPod is best for you, or the person you're giving it to as a present, isn't just a matter of price and color. You need to understand your needs and how you expect to use the iPod in order to make sure you buy the right model.

Once you figure that out, you should generally buy the most capable iPod you can afford, since you'll get the longest life from it and be able to store the most music and video.

Here are a few things to consider about each iPod, before your buy. Knowing which kind of user you or your gift recipient are will help you make the right decision.

iPod touch

Great For:

  • People who love the latest and greatest
  • iPhone fans who don't want a new cell phone
  • Movie lovers
  • Gamers and people who want to enjoy the App Store
  • Practically everyone

Avoid if:

  • You're an exerciser (it's too big to easily or comfortably strap to your arm)
  • If you want to use the Internet wherever you go, not just on Wi-Fi networks (in that case, you'll need an iPhone)

Price range: $229-$399

iPod nano

Great for:

  • First-time users
  • People who don't want to weigh themselves down
  • Medium-sized music collections
  • Exercisers who want more song choices and don't mind a little extra weight
  • People who want a colorful iPod
  • Those who want to enjoy FM radio as well as their music collection

Avoid if:

  • You have a lot of songs, or expect to get more, and want them on your iPod
  • Taking video with your iPod is important to you

Price: US$149

iPod Shuffle

Great for

  • Runners and other exercisers
  • Budget gifts
  • People who want to conceal their iPod during use
  • Small music collections

Avoid if:

  • You want to do anything with a screen – video, pictures, be able to see the songs on your iPod when using it (the Shuffle doesn't have a screen)
  • You have a lot of songs to store (it's limited to 2GB of storage)
  • The user isn't very comfortable on the computer. The "play-all-the-way-through or shuffle" nature of the iPod Shuffle can confuse some users

Price: US$49

iPod Classic

Great for:

  • Large music collections
  • All multimedia – songs, videos, photos
  • Storing lots of other files
  • First-time users

Avoid if you:

  • Want cutting-edge technology (the Classic has been the same for years)
  • Are budget conscious
  • Are an exerciser concerned about weighing yourself down (it's much heavy than, say, the nano or Shuffle)
  • Want to run apps
  • Want to play games, use the web, take video, or any other advanced features

Price: $249

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