Creative's Zen Vision W, being larger-screened and chunkier, is designed for video above all other functions, but the Apple iPod Video sits elegantly on the fence. It’s an oversized music player but smaller than your average full-blown portable video player. Whether this is a plus or a drawback depends on your point of view.

The Apple iPod Video happily plays video content, of course, and its crisp, clear screen is well up to the task. Indeed, the iPod Video's seven-hour battery life makes it feasible to watch three films on a single charge, compared with the Creative's two (at a push). The down side is the screen 'real estate' - a 2.5in display makes for tired eyes after a couple of hours of viewing.

The smaller screen makes for a correspondingly smaller device meaning the Apple iPod Video can be carried around in a pocket and used for casual music accompaniment while travelling or working out - although it can't compete with Apple's own iPod shuffle and its petite rivals in this respect. The Apple iPod Video is an extremely competent all-rounder.

The interface is famously user-friendly and will present few difficulties to even those select few who haven't tried it before. It uses a small number of controls with great economy, resulting in an attractive, clean-looking device. The smooth surface is prone to picking up smudges and fingerprints, however, and you'd be wise to buy one of the many available cases to protect the iPod Video's slightly delicate fascia.

You can use Apple’s iPod Video one-handed without too much trouble, and it will happily carry on playing tunes while you peruse photos or set up playlists or slideshows (both straightforward procedures). However, once you start a slideshow going, the iPod Video will default to whatever playlist you've allocated to it - even if you switched the music option off, the iPod Video will fall silent while showing the photos.

There are no dedicated volume buttons, which is a bit of a shame - you control this via the scrollwheel, and therefore have to be in the correct menu screen. The iPod features a backlight timer to prolong battery life and a password-protected volume limiter. You can also add games, but these cost £4 each from the Apple iTunes Music Store.

Apple iPod video [PCA]: Specs

  • 2.5in LCD
  • supports AAC, Protected AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible, Apple Lossless, WAV, AIFF, Jpeg, BMP, GIF, TIFF, PSD, PNG, H.264 video, Mpeg4
  • 104x61x11mm
  • 136g
  • 2.5in LCD
  • supports AAC, Protected AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible, Apple Lossless, WAV, AIFF, Jpeg, BMP, GIF, TIFF, PSD, PNG, H.264 video, Mpeg4
  • 104x61x11mm
  • 136g

OUR VERDICT

Apple's iPods rule the market for a reason. The Apple iPod Video is well up to the task of video and audio, and we are delighted with its user-friendly interface. However, if video is your thing then 2.5in of screen estate could lead to a pair of very tired eyes.

Find the best price