Ask LH: Should I Buy A New iPod?

Dear Lifehacker, I was on the verge of buying another iPod (my fourth) when I stopped myself. Of my three previous iPods two have been irreparably damaged by relatively minor things, not to mention the usual issues that come with iPod territory. Is my best choice to get another iPod or are there other options that I just haven't considered because I'm brainwashed to think they're the ONLY mp3 player worth getting these days? Thanks, PodPerson

Dear PodPerson,

iPods certainly aren't the only MP3 players on the market right now, although you could be forgiven for that observation; they're just about the only MP3 players left that get particular shelf space. Still, there are other players in this market; Sony still sells Walkman-branded Mp3 players if you're after something branded, and online stores are awash with no-brand-name players at very cheap prices -- although whether you'd have better durability luck with some of those is a rather interesting question.

Another thought to ponder; Apple has just announced "new" iPods this morning, but with the exception of the 2GB Shuffles, none of them will be on store shelves until October. That means there are reasonable odds that the older models will become run-out stock; you could pick up an iPod from a previous generation more cheaply that way; that's also worth considering if you preferred the older watch-style iPod Nano face to the new design as well.

Really, though, the market has shifted on largely from "pure" MP3 players into smartphones, and unless you're after a player for fitness purposes, where small and light makes a lot of sense, you could do quite well with any of the cheaper Android-based smartphones on the market right now; as long as they've got microSD expansion you could bump them up to the same size as any iPod quite cheaply, and naturally they'll do a bit more than just play music.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    What no mention of the awesome range of Sansa devices. My Clip with a 32gb card is by far the best solution I have found for pure mp3 purposes, especially for fitness.

      On a similar note, the Cowon range is fairly decent for pure music purposes, decent battery life and usability and i'm yet to find a media format it doesn't like or can't be tricked into liking...

        Yes, if you're looking for a device just for listening to music, Cowon's range beats the pants off any iPod. Much better format support, much better battery life, much better sound quality.

        If you're more interested in apps, third party accessories, and iTunes syncing, then you'd be better off sticking with iPod.

          Gotta agree with you there, the Cowon is nothing except music and videos (although with a 3" screen there isn't much video to watch)... But it does do music exceptionally well... And when it comes to apps and syncing and connectivity there are millions of phones that perform that function really well, but i'm yet to have one blow my mind away on the music front like the Cowon can..

      Sansa Zip (next model up with a bigger screen) + Rockbox + 32GB micro sd = pure awesomeness.

    My ipod classic has served me fantastically well for some time - I doubt I will be getting the new ipod. I also have a toshiba gigabeat full of a large chunk of my music collection that I have no idea what to do with!!

    I note that one of the new features of the new iPod camera is backside illumination. I'm not sure what market they had in mind.

    I have a first-gen Touch, and it is time for an upgrade. I don't have an iPhone (or indeed any mobile phone), and I use my iPod every day. I'd like more storage (currently 8GB). I am tempted by the new Nano, as it has a radio, which would be great for cricket in summer, as well as 16GB of storage.

      Seriously consider your other options. A Sansa Clip is a fraction of the price, comes in 4 or 8 gb onboard, has a radio and you can put a micro SD card in it and make it a 40gb capacity for half the price.

        No thanks. I honestly didn't know you could still buy Sansa players. I have no reason to complain about the performance of the iPod, so don't see a reason to switch. If the Sansa was that great, they'd sell more, wouldn't they?

      Careful, most radios on phones/ipods are FM only, from what I know the ABC only transmits it cricket either on AM or digitally.

        Not where I live. Out here in the country we get either AM or FM.

    It's interesting these days that in discussions about choice of audio player, the quality of the audio is rarely discussed.

    what about the galaxy player sure they dont have any in stores over here but you can get them online

    There is nothing wrong with Zen:

    One of my best MP3 players ever was one of these until i misplaced it on a train never to be seen again - at the link above they have some quite nice offers with decent headphones too

    iriver are still making mp3 players as well, including ones with DAB+ radios, and you can buy them right now at any JB Hi-Fi store.

    Out of those two i would prefer buy a Zen - I still have an iriver with DAB+ and have had a lot of trouble with it and firmware upgrades are made very difficult by the fact they can only be installed on XP.

    These days of course i use my smartphone as mentioned in the article.

    If they made these in 5" and 7" I thin they would be a hit. Awesome design.

    Ipod was the worst purchase i've ever made..... avoid.

      Yours is the most oblique statement I've ever read. Why would anyone take your advice?

    I normally avoid Apple products like the plague, however as I need an MP3 player with over 100GB of space, the only option is the Apple iPod Classic... Until another company decides to release a 100GB+ device, I won't be able to switch... Why do all current MP3 players come with 64GB or less?!?

      When I was using my Sansa at work everyday I had my music split onto 4 microsd cards (each with one or two genres on it) and I just kept those in the coin pocket of my wallet. In fact I just checked and they are still there and still work.

      The Classic still uses a spinning hard disk.... other players just use chips.

    I had to think about this one for a minute. Mp3 players are getting a bit outdated as a standalone product, but I have no problems with my old Mp3 players, which I only really dig out for travelling. I have an old Sandisk cruzer (originally came with a 512mb usb stick, which I upgraded many years ago to a 4gb usb), which has worked great for the non-technologically minded in my family when travelling overseas or anything like that. For myself when travelling I have an ancient iRiver. Both work perfectly after many many years. No problems with battery life or anything. But for day-to-day, I haven't needed an Mp3 player since I bought a nokia N95 8gb three phones ago.

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