Picking the Perfect Media Player

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STACK breaks down the top media players to help you figure out what to get for all your tracks, pics and vids.

iPod [Starting at $49//apple.com] One of the first portable digital media players, Apple's iPod has been making media moves since arriving on the scene in 2001. It seems like every other week the geniuses at Apple have a new product, feature or color that you just have to have. To get started, download iTunes to your Mac or PC and access songs, movies and video games, most of them priced at $0.99 cents each. Load them to one of the following players:

•    iPod shuffle [$49] The smallest member of the iPod family, the shuffle can hold up to 500 songs and play for nearly 12 hours at a time. Never miss a beat by clipping the small, lightweight device to your pocket, shorts, shirt or jacket. Choose from one of five colors without breaking the bank.

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STACK breaks down the top media players to help you figure out what to get for all your tracks, pics and vids.

iPod [Starting at $49//apple.com]
One of the first portable digital media players, Apple's iPod has been making media moves since arriving on the scene in 2001. It seems like every other week the geniuses at Apple have a new product, feature or color that you just have to have. To get started, download iTunes to your Mac or PC and access songs, movies and video games, most of them priced at $0.99 cents each. Load them to one of the following players:

•    iPod shuffle [$49]
The smallest member of the iPod family, the shuffle can hold up to 500 songs and play for nearly 12 hours at a time. Never miss a beat by clipping the small, lightweight device to your pocket, shorts, shirt or jacket. Choose from one of five colors without breaking the bank.

•    iPod classic [$249]
Want it all, all the time? Check out the 120-GB iPod classic. Since it can play music, movies and games, you'll never have another boring study hall or bus ride home after a game. Just what do you get with 120 gigs? Up to 30,000 songs, 150 hours of video, 25,000 pictures or any combination you can think up.

•    iPod nano [$149]
Think of the nano as the perfect combination of the shuffle and the classic—not too big, not too small, smarter and way cooler. With its Genius feature, the nano becomes your personal DJ, picking and choosing songs from your playlists that sound great together. If your daily soundtrack starts to get old, just shake things up—literally. Lightly shaking the nano will mix up your songs so they'll play in a new order. Plus, you still have video, games and photos to keep you entertained.

o    Nike+ [Sport kit and sensor: $29//shoes start at $79//nike.com]
The nano is your new gym partner, thanks to Nike+. Melding technology and functionality, Nike+ uses a sensor in your shoe to notify you—during a cardio session—of your time, distance, pace and calories. The stats are displayed on-screen and are also announced through your headphones.

Pre-run, use the Nike+ iPod menu to customize your workouts based on your goal—whether it's burning 300 calories or knocking out six miles—then tailor your playlist to fit your run. If you know you start to lag at mile five, or around 30 minutes in, program your iPod to blast a PowerSong, your favorite tune for amping up your motivation when you need it most.

Post-workout, sync your nano to the Nike+ website  to analyze stats by the run, the week or the month, set new goals and track results.

Zune [Starting at $129.99//zune.net]
Developed by Microsoft in 2006, and compatible with PCs only, Zune offers five different player styles to choose from:

Zune 4 [$129.99]: holds up to 1,000 songs, 25,000 pictures or 12 hours of video
Zune 8 [$149.99]: holds up to 2,000 songs, 25,000 pictures or 25 hours of video
Zune 16 [$199.99]: holds up to 4,000 songs, 25,000 pictures or 50 hours of video
Zune 80 [$229.99]: holds up to 20,000 songs, 25,000 pictures or 250 hours of video
Zune 120 [$249.99]: holds up to 30,000 songs, 25,000 pictures or 375 hours of video

Users can download the Zune Marketplace and purchase a Zune Pass for $15 per month, providing access to music, movies, TV shows, podcasts and audio books, not to mention these cool features:

•    FM radio and tagging: Zune's built-in FM receiver allows you to listen to the radio, so you can hear what people are saying about your performance after the game. If you hear a song you'd like to download, the Zune can tag it at the push of a button; the next time you sync to your computer, you'll be reminded to buy the song.

•    Freedom from wires: You don't need to be near a computer to browse and order from the Zune Marketplace. The machine's wireless capabilities also allow you to sync to other Zune players, so you can experience your friends' albums, playlists and photos.

•    Richer music experience: Sick of the same old same old on your playlists? Zune will analyze your music collection and recommend new artists and songs. Also, as you search for an artist or song, Zune makes suggestions as you type, just in case you don't know the correct name or spelling.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: GEAR | TRACK | SHUFFLE | PLAYLIST | MOVIES | MUSIC