Buying an mp3 player

I'm going to UCSC next year where I won't be permitted to drive a car, which means my wonderful Alpine deck will be useless. I'm taking my NAD/PSB system to my dorm/apartment and I'll probably be using my computer and my Marantz DVD player as sources in my room, but that still leaves all of the time I'll spend on my bike, the bus, and the train. I was about to purchase a new portable CD player to replace my recently deceased Disc Man when I starting thinking about MP3 players. After reading many reviews, I've narrowed it down to the ipod and the Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen Xtra. The 40 gig models of the ipod and the Zen cost $500 and $270 respectively, so I'm currently searching for any further information to base my decision upon. I've heard that the ipod battery life is less than four hours from a lot of people who use their ipods while running. The same people have also said that the batteries have died very quickly and that their ipods skip quite often. Has anyone else who uses an ipod while running had a similar experience? The size differences don't matter to me, but I am concerned with sound quality, battery quality/life/ease of replacement, potential to connect the player to my preamp, as well as to my car for next year when I regain my driving privileges.
The iPod has something like 2 hours of anti skip. I've used mine for years and never had it miss a beat. As for battery life, the newer model does have slightly less battery life, like 8 hours. If you set up the iPod to have the backlighting on yes, you can get down to 4 hours....but then again, why do you have the backlighting on so much??? The batteries are replacable in the iPod, though not easy, it can be done. My iPods are 2 and t3 years old, and have never needed the batteries to be replaced yet.

I can't compare them as I've had iPods and always have been happy with them, for FWIW I vote in favor of the iPod, and refute several of the isssues you the price difference......

I have the original Nomad Zen (20GB model) and could not be happier. I travel a lot and taking over 125 cd's with me is wonderful.

The sound quality is very good (I bought the Etymotic ER6) which made a big difference. I do not use the backlight and consistantly get 14 hours on one charge. That's enough to get me back and forth to Europe without a re-charge.

When you consider the difference in price between this and the I-pod the decision is a no brainer.

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