Best iPod for running?

Q: Which is the better iPod for running: an iPod nano, or a 30GB full-size iPod?

– Ian

A: This one’s simple: without any hesitation, our recommendation for active sport use is the iPod nano. The full-size iPod has an actual hard drive inside – a very complex and somewhat delicate machine – while the iPod nano is entirely “solid-state,” with no moving parts at all. This makes it completely immune to the jarring motions an iPod experiences during exercise.

That said, the full-size iPod isn’t automatically doomed to mechanical failure should you decide you absolutely need the extra storage or video playback capability. Its hard drive is pretty resilient, and it doesn’t run continuously: approximately every 20 minutes, the iPod’s hard drive will very run briefly to store another handful of songs in its short-term memory (RAM). This is helpful for the safety of the iPod, for skip-protection, and for battery life, but it really only works if you don’t frequently change what’s playing. Light runners shouldn’t be too concerned.

Also, don’t forget: if you really dig the full-size iPod, but are worried about it during heavy exercise, consider purchasing one along with the now dirt-cheap iPod shuffle to use exclusively during exercise. It’s completely solid-state, just like the nano.

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