In stark contrast to my outlook on human relationships, when it comes to devices, I'm a use 'em, abuse 'em, and lose 'em kinda guy. I buy devices rarely, use them intensely for a short period of time, and then go back to my hohum, relatively disconnected and technologically spartan life. My XBox and Audiovox SMT5600 Smartphone are exceptions to the rule.

Given my lifetime track record of short, albeit meaningful relationships with digital playthings, it is with some trepidation that I contemplate the acquisition of the iRiver CXW-2G Clix.

The moment when we met was magical. On first glance, the iRiver Clix's diminuitive size rendered it practically invisible. On second glance, I thought, 'how can a device the size of a mascara box possibly be useful?' On third glance, after fondling every other device in its vicinity, my hand brushed up against the Clix's polished view screen.

That's when it happened. A chill sprang up in my shoulders, washed down my sides and lingered for fateful a moment in the hollows of my outer thigh muscles. I lifted the lovely device from its cradle and rotated it several times, looking for a navigational interface. Finding none, I raised the view screen close to my face, noticed a fingerprint, and gingerly wiped it clean with my t-shirt.

[[Click]] It happened again! A chill spiraled from my shoulder blades to the backs of my knees. I raised the Clix to my ear and pressed the edge of its view screen.

[[Click]] My head swiveled around to behold the sharpest, clearest digital photograph I think I've ever seen. I pressed the left edge of its view screen lovingly and iRiver's artful engineers greeted me with a perfect, feminine [[click]]. The iRiver Clix seamlessly switched to format selection mode. I pressed the bottom edge of the view screen and focus changed to "Movies". I clicked right to Finding Nemo, and my GAWD this little plaything did it again: chills coursed from the nape of my neck to the heels of my feet.

Weighing in at just 12 ounces, the 3x2x1/2" iRiver Clix packs 2 gigabytes of skip free, beautifully rendered photos, games, and movies. With good, noise-canceling headphones, it offers a low fi music listening experience that my unpracticed ears could not distinguish from live music. The Clix comes with a built in FM receiver, can record several hours of audio, and is compatible with a number of subscription music services (which I will never use). Best of all, its battery appears to last for up to two days (as long as my SmartPhone) under normal operating conditions.

I don't know if I can really do the Clix justice in writing. Probably not. If you thought the original iPod was intuitive and if you were convinced it would never be one-upped, be prepared for a "little" surprise. If these two devices were poems, the iPod Mini would be a well-formed sonnet and the Clix would be a perfectly formed, three diminensional haiku.

Time to splurge.