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Creative Zen Vision:M (30GB)1. Creative Zen Vision:M (30GB)
Price range: $284-329
The good: Fast transfer speed; wide video-codec support; brilliant screen; improved vertical scroll.
The bad: Stiff keys; bothersome sync adapter; thicker than the iPod.
The bottom line: There is a lot going for the Creative Zen Vision:M, and true to form, Creative has just come out with yet another iPod killer to take on the incumbent.
Apple iPod (30GB)2. Apple iPod (30GB, video)
Price range: $227-299
The good: Incredibly thin and intuitive design; beautiful LCD; supports photo and video playback; seamless integration with iTunes, which boasts the world's biggest music catalog and a new video store; smooth video; lots of extra features, such as a world clock, a stopwatch, and PIM applications; a galaxy of accessories designed for the iPod; great overall value.
The bad: No extras included, such as a dock, A/V cables, or a power adapter; poor battery life for video; slight delay when playing video; no guarantee that your non-iTunes Music Store video will play on an iPod, even after using converted third-party software.
The bottom line: Get the affordable, sleek, and sexy 5G Apple iPod for its audio virtues. Although video looks great, its poor video battery life and relatively small screen hamper its appeal to videophiles.
Sony NW-A1000 (6GB)3. Sony NW-A1000 (6GB)
The good: Sleek design; improved Connect software; removable battery.
The bad: Middling battery life; poor display under sunlight.
The bottom line: The Sony NW-A1000 is certainly a music player that the fashion crowd would love to hold, though its monochrome screen and less-than-impressive features may not prove attractive to the geeks.