Review: Apple iPod classic (80GB/160GB) | iLounge


Review: Apple iPod classic (80GB/160GB)


Company: Apple Computer


Model: iPod classic

Price: $249 (80GB), $349 (160GB)

Compatible: PC/Mac

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Jeremy Horwitz

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Cons: No longer Apple’s “best iPod ever;” outdated 2.5” screen and interface are now steps behind Apple’s best devices in ease-of-use and quality of overall media playback experience, while new interface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.

Though no one gets excited about such changes, Apple has visually updated each of the 5G iPod’s Extras applications to take better advantage of the 320x240 display.

Clock now fits three nice-looking transparent clocks on screen at once instead of the 5G iPod’s four black and white ones. They’re displayed on top of a gray map of the Earth, losing the calendar date in favor of the words “today” or “tomorrow.”


Alarms has now been broken out into a separate Extra. You can now set alarms to go off once, every day, weekends, weekdays, every week, every month or every year. Each can be labeled with one of a handful of names picked from a list. Multiple alarms can be set up for your current location.


Stopwatch now has an image of a stopwatch on the screen alongside a digital timer. You can peruse past records, with computed total, shortest, longest, and average times kept in a log. Multiple timers can be run at once, as well.


The Calendar interface has slightly softer colors, but otherwise looks very much the same as before. Blank days now say “No events for this day” rather than appearing blank when you click on them. They’re not editable using the iPod classic.

Contacts are laid out with slightly different fonts and all-white backgrounds. Icons/photos of the contacts are still very small. They’re not editable using the iPod classic.


Screen Lock works the same as before to prevent others from accessing iPod classic’s contents. There’s now a nice new brass lock icon, but it’s otherwise the same four-digit system.


Notes are mostly the same “light HTML documents” as before, except for the font boldness, which has dropped substantially. Text looks thinner and smaller than before.


Editors' Note: iLounge only reviews products in "final" form, but many companies now change their offerings - sometimes several times - after our reviews have been published. This iLounge article provides more information on this practice, known as revving.

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