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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Sound quality No comments
  • Video quality No comments
  • Ease of use No comments
  • Portability No comments
  • Battery life No comments
  • Media support No comments
  • Capacity No comments
Detailed review
I guess it's because I'm young, but every time I need a new MP3 player, I always choose some kind of iPod. Yes, the iPod continues to have that unbeatable prestige that simply makes you feel good, turning heads at your white earphones while you're walking around in public. This is one of the greatest advantages of the iPod, and it is probably the chief reason people pay extra for the iPod (and get kinda ripped off) instead of going with another MP3 player from a less known brand.

That said,

+ Unbeatable prestige
- High price

Now, moving on to the actual, more obvious features of the iPod. Let's begin with the actual hardware. I have mine in black, and it looks absolutely beautiful. The front of the device has a new aluminum surface is extremely smooth/silky to touch and it doesn't pick up fingerprints at all. The color is not a complete black, but more of a grayish, charcoal black, which in my opinion makes it even better. The back side of the device is the usual chrome that has been on all the iPod's since the start of time, and it still picks up fingerprints like crazy and gets scratched all too easily. iPod veterans will know that when you get the iPod, you HAVE to get a case. About the thickness of the device, it is absolutely breathtakingly thin. This is one more of the features that make the iPod rise above the rest. The Classic is extremely thin and extremely sleek. It will no doubt slip into any pant pocket with ease no matter the tightness or size of the pocket. It is extremely comfortable to hold in the hand because it fits the palm almost perfectly, not smaller, not bigger (again, you need a case). It is a bit heavy at first, but you will get used to it. The display is brilliant. The colors are not warm enough, but they still look very very good. The resolution is higher on this model, making watching videos an actual possibility for some, but not worth it for most as it is an extremely small screen, and it is in the obsolete 4:3 aspect ratio, making widescreen content appear with black bars. The clickwheel is the major issue with this device. It is quite insensitive, and when you try to scroll it feels like you're finger is dragging along it very heavily instead of gliding along it. Trust me, my ass is not that tight. This is quite an inconvenience when it comes to scrolling through Apple's trademark iPod menu system because long lists of songs require large amounts of scrolling. Eventually, after lots of wear-and-tear, the Classic becomes usable, but for me it took nearly 2-4 months after lots of use. For the fastidious, the headphone port is on top, which for me is very good because the cable does not come out as easily as with bottom-side headphone ports and it makes the iPod easier to put in the pocket.

++ Beautiful aluminum body (good styling)
+ Very thin
+ High-res screen makes everything crisp and good colors

- Chrome backing makes case a necessity.
- Screen is small and 4:3 - not good for video watching (iPod Touch is better)
- Clickwheel is insensitive

Onto the software. I would like to warn you that it is very hard to review this iPod's software alone without comparing it to previous iPod's softwares, so please bear with me. The new iPod firmware now includes features like CoverFlow and much, much more eye candy in terms of games and the album art display on the main screen. When "Music" is selected at the home screen, the right-half of the screen goes through a slideshow of all the album art from the songs. Similarly, video thumbnails slideshow when "Video" is selected, and photos slideshow when "Photos" is selected. This looks very nice, much nicer than the bland whitewash that came with the older iPods. However, the trademark menu-style inteface is unchanged from the old iPods and its simplicity is a huge plus when using the iPod. The new addition to this interface is CoverFlow. Essentially, now you can browse through your music as if you were looking through a bunch of CD covers. This is definitely extremely pleasing visually, however I find that it is not very useful at all. In fact, apart from trying it out when I first got the iPod, I have never used it since. The scroll through album covers lags when your music collection is larger than 500-600 songs, and it takes a while for the iPod to load up the album art images. Overall, CoverFlow is slow and inefficient, but visually very pleasing. For audiophiles, there is no custom equalizer option, leaving one to choose between the horrible Apple presets. However, the audio quality is still quite excellent, although not the best. Maybe it's the iPod earphones, but the bass, trebles, and mids all came in reasonably correct proportions while listening. There is added iTunes functionality that allows you to put rented movies onto your iPod and make video playlists, again very nice for those who buy movies from iTunes. Viewing photos is very nice on the iPod due to the awesome display, however most find that the iPod Classic is almost always used just for music. It has no support for Genius, which is a big disadvantage as Genius is extremely nice when you don't want to pick every song individually or keep shuffling through songs that you may not want to listen to. Bottomline: if you want Genius, go with the iPod touch. In games, Music Quiz and Klondike have received upgrades that make the graphics extremely fluid, detailed, and nice-looking. There is a new game called Vortex that is essentially like a 3D version of the old Brick game. Sadly, Parachute is gone. Then again, these games will not guarantee hours of fun, but certainly make for a good few minutes of entertainment. If you are a gamer, there are plenty of games in the iTunes store that are excellent and the new graphics platform for this iPod makes them all the more enjoyable. Lastly, where this iPod shines is in its capacity. 80GB of storage is more than enough for all my music and whatever few videos I keep on it, and it should be for you as well. This is where the iPod's second use comes in: as an external hard drive. With all that extra space, you can easily dump 40-60GB of data, or more, on it and carry it around.

+++ Classic iPod menu interface - extremely simple and easy-to-use.
+ Better graphics makes iPod interface visually pleasing (menu album-art slideshows)
+ Better games
+ Graphics improvements to all utilities (stopwatch, clock, calendar, etc.), again visually pleasing.
+ Support for video rentals, etc.
+ Stellar audio quality
+++ Disk use is permitted, making the extra space useful as an external hard drive

- CoverFlow is not useful
- Genius support not included
- Slower boot times (approx 15 seconds) (you rarely need to do this).

Overall, the iPod Classic is a great, great MP3 player. Audio quality is good, the interface is great, and its styling and prestige is unbeatable. What may stop you from buying this over other MP3 players is its price, but if you care about the prestige, it's worth it.