April 12, 2004

Gabba Gabba One of Us

by peterb

I finally stopped resisting and bought an iPod, the 15 gigabyte model.

Although I was probably doomed to buy the "regular" iPod rather than the Mini, simply because Minis are not readily available enough to satisfy my desire for immediate consumer gratification, I did actually go use a Mini before making the choice.

A lot of people talk about the superior controls of the Mini; coming to both of them cold, I thoroughly disagree. While the position of the controls on the Mini might be superior -- I couldn't say for sure without using it for a few days -- the feel isn't quite as nice, to my taste. The buttons and scroll wheel on the bigger iPod are outlined with ridges (I almost said "are ribbed for your pleasure") so that it's easy to locate the control you're looking for without looking. If the Mini has any similar tactile cue, it was too subtle for me to notice. Also, just from handling the two of them side by side, the wheel on the mini didn't connect as well to the on screen cues. I'm being vague there, but it's hard to describe. I was able to use the bigger iPod wheel perfectly, but with the Mini I kept overshooting my target. That could simply be because I have big hands.

After a couple of days with the 15 gigabyte iPod I've come to the conclusion that 4 Gb is plenty of space. It turns out I really don't listen to my entire collection of MP3s -- about 40 days worth -- in any one session. It is nice being able to have an extra complete backup of the archive, though, so I don't exactly regret having the space.

For me, the difference in size between the Mini and the standard iPod wasn't great enough to convince me to go small, but I can surely see how that would matter to a lot of folks. For me the problem with the iPod isn't its size, but the mere fact that it is a separate device at all. My problem is that I generally have barely enough brain power to remember to pick up exactly one portable device when I leave the house; it turns out that that is almost always the cell phone. This is, basically, why I stopped using my Palm Pilot -- a personal information manager that is never with you isn't much use. I'm less worried about the iPod since (for me) it's basically for working out, and just needs to be kept with the rest of the gym stuff.

I'll be first in line for the combination iPod/Pilot/GPS/Phone, though, once they're cheap enough to give them away at McDonald's.

Posted by peterb at April 12, 2004 07:44 PM | Bookmark This

I'm sure it won't be too long before we can have a one-device fits all gadget to carry around with us. Mine needs to include a phone, calendar, contact list, e-mail, web, camera, the key to my house, and some way to use it for money. But even better than a carry-along unit, it would be implanted in my skull so I couldn't forget it.

Posted by Kristen at April 12, 2004 10:04 PM

My original 5GB iPod brick is still going strong, although I occasionally wistfully ponder one of the bigger, newer, slimmer models. But ultimately, the damn thing goes with me to the car, and back out of the car, and 5 gigs is more than enough space for the audio books I'm currently listening to. Like you, the only thing that definitely always comes with me is the phone.

The most compelling reason for me to upgrade is to get one of those fancy-pants CF readers for the iPod, so that I can slurp data off of my digital camera out in the field, now that it takes me between 30 and 60 minutes to shoot 512MB of pictures. Geez.

Posted by Eric Tilton at April 13, 2004 12:43 AM

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