Review: Apple iPod classic (80GB/160GB)
Pros: A superior update to Apple’s 2005 and 2006 hard-disk based iPods, featuring cleaner audio, crisper video, better storage capacity and greater than promised battery performance at last year’s prices. Available in silver or black versions, each featuring an enhanced user interface that’s visually more interesting than its predecessor, and with better built-in games. Offers industry-leading 80GB and 160GB hard disk technologies in enclosures that are slimmer than ever before.
Cons: No longer Apple’s “best iPod ever;” outdated 2.5” screen and interface are now steps behind Apple’s best devices in ease-of-use and quality of overall media playback experience, while new interface struggles to match iPhone/iPod touch features without approaching their elegance. For photo and video output, no longer compatible with majority of video-out accessories, including portable video displays, released for the color 4G and 5G iPods, requiring new and more expensive replacement accessories; past accessories with on-iPod display features will exhibit reduced functionality, as well. Past iPod games won’t play on iPod classic.
Whether you call it the sixth-generation iPod or by its new name, iPod classic, the concept behind Apple’s latest hard disk-based iPod is the same as its predecessor, the “iPod (with video)”—offer a pocket-sized audio, video, and game player with large storage capacity options at industry-leading prices. In fact, iterative tweaks aside, iPod classic is an almost identical product to the enhanced fifth-generation iPod it replaces; the changes are supposed to make it even more appealing to last year’s holdouts.
Consequently, there is a lot to like about the iPod classic. More power efficient than its predecessors and equipped with an 80GB ($249) or 160GB ($349) hard disk, it unquestionably delivers markedly superior value for the dollar than what it replaces. The scratch-attractive black and white plastic of prior full-sized iPods has now given way to a mostly metal silver and white or black front shell. And there’s even a new user interface that takes cues from several other Apple products.
But is the iPod classic a smarter purchase today than its predecessors were in 2005 and 2006? And what about its incompatibility with a number of past accessories released for iPods, most notably including video devices? We’ll answer these questions and many more in our full review, below.