I bought my fiancee Kim a Rio
last May for her birthday. I used it when mowing the lawn and going to the gym, the sound quality was good (volume was more than ample for mowing the lawn and bass/treble were well-defined) and it is cool that it has no moving parts! Of course space is limited, but how many songs do I need when I'm mowing the lawn or working out?
Kim bought me my very own Rio for my birthday this year. I love it. I take it to the gym and use it as I used hers. It's got 128MB of flash memory, which is enough to hold maybe 25 songs or so. It's also got a tuner, so at the gym I can watch TV and listen to the audio. The digial tuner has also got presets, which are handy for the gym TVs.
My Rio, the Cali, is seen by Linux as USB storage. This means I don't need any special drivers to put songs on it, as I do with Kim's Rio (rioutil works very well). So in this resepct, I can put stuff on it too.
Things I dislike about the iPod Mini (I have no experince with the 'big' iPod):
Battery life (Rio uses a single AAA, which will last (at least) 10 hours)
One wouldn't think it's very durable (contains a spinning hard drive)
Having so much music, you'd think there would be a way to put songs into a queue on the fly... For example, in the car I want to listen to this song [PLAY]. Next I want to hear this song [ADD]. Then this one [ADD]. I could not figure out how to do this. I don't want to create a playlist for use later, I want to use the thing like a jukebox. Granted, the Rio can't do this, but it can only hold 25 or so songs, right?
I don't think it's all that easy to use. Maybe I need to get used to it.
The dial thingy is cool, but why is this easier than a joystick? Plus, the iPod has some games on it. I did not play any of these games, but it seems they'd be easier to play with a real input device.
Why are people so fired up about the iPod? I could see Linux geeks putting their home directory or something on it, as the big iPod has a 20GB hard disk on it. So now we're talking about something cool, a hard drive with a little computer surrounding it.
Are most people using them in this way? The damn device is so hyped up now that people think they've got to have one to play MP3s. Even non-techy people know what iPod means, and they think that they've got to have one.
A caller on an NPR program was trying to get advice as to whether or not he should lend his kidney to a chronic smoker. The doctor responded, "You wouldn't lend your iPod to someone who would use it to pound nails."
The above comment amazes me -- the device is so mainstream today! IMO, for simply playing music, there are cheaper, lighter-weight, easier-to-use alternatives out there.