If my house caught on fire and I could save only one thing (after rescuing the cats and that box of photographs), I'd grab my Apple iPod Video. I'm pretty sure I could live in a tent with nothing but my iPod (well, and something to charge it... and the cats and the box of photographs) and be pefectly ok, if a little cold. The iPod Video is that cool.
I knew it sounded great before I got it, but knowing and experiencing are not the same thing. A friend of mine kept saying, "You don't understand! You have to have one!" I told him I couldn't afford it. Finally, since he could see I was never going to understand otherwise, he gave me one. I'm now the possessive and overprotective owner of a 5th Generation 30gb iPod Video. It is the coolest thing I have ever owned.
If you've already owned an mp3 player, you know how wonderful it is to have your music with you anywhere you go. If not, once you have this experience, you will not want to live without it. The bonus of the iPod Video is that you can take ALL your music with you, even those embarassing Barry Mannilow albums, plus your home videos, the pictures of your dog's birthday party, and an e-book to read in line at the post office. Waiting in lines becomes an exciting prospect. Will I listen to the new White Stripes album or watch Arrested Development? A car break down is positively a cause for celebration. I can watch The Lord of the Rings Trilogy!
I've had my iPod Video for about eight months, using it several hours daily, and it still works great. Despite my protectiveness of it, I'm a clutz, so I've dropped it half a bazillion times. It still works. The battery life is enough to get through a day at work if it's fully charged, and that's all I need. If the battery dies while I'm out, I have a car charger, so even with half the battery life it would be ok.
I haven't had any real problems with it. Once, in the beginning, something bad happened and I had to re-upload my music library. It was probably my fault. A couple of times it froze and wouldn't come on, which was easily fixed with a simple procedure on the Apple website: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=61705
The audio quality is fine. It's not going to make you swoon with joy at the delicious sounds in your earbuds, but it's not bad, either. If you want to swoon, play cds in a home stereo system. If you want portable music, this is it, and it's good.
Other than those minor issues, it has brought nothing but enjoyment to my life. I listen to music more than ever, and I love it. If it dies, I am going to buy another one immediately, even if that means selling a kidney. It's that cool.