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Cons: No longer Apple’s “best iPod ever;” outdated 2.5” screen and interface are now steps behind Apple’s best devices in ease-of-use and quality of overall media playback experience, while new interface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.
Apple could have kept the old iPod’s pre-installed games, which date back from 2001 to 2003, but it didn’t: they’re gone. And we don’t mind. Two of them—Music Quiz and Solitaire—have been replaced by the 5G iPod game iQuiz and a refreshed solitaire game called Klondike, which are much-improved visually over the old iPod’s built-in games.
The old-fashioned Breakout clone Brick has been replaced by the 5G iPod game Vortex, which wraps bricks around the inside of a tube for your paddle to break with a ball or upgraded weapons. Apple appears to have mostly preserved Vortex from the 5G iPod original, but it’s lost some of its transparency effects, which is a bit of a bummer. Still, these three games are better than the four that used to be on iPods; no one will miss the Missile Command-like Parachute.
Unfortunately, it appears that none of the old 5G iPod’s downloadable games will work on the iPod classic, which is a major bummer for those who have spent $5 per title to build up their libraries. All of the games will have to be updated for use on the new iPod (and iPod nano)—a process that is apparently starting slowly with only three downloadable titles, Tetris, Ms. Pac-Man, and Sudoku—and Apple hasn’t yet said whether past customers will have to pay again to play the same titles on their new iPods. We certainly hope not.