Sunday, 24 August 2008

New Apple iPod Classic

Released alongside the all new third generation iPod Nano, the new apple iPod Classic offers a refined all-metal case, the same new graphical interface of the Nano, and the most battery and storage capacity of any iPod model (thanks to its hard drive and hefty battery). However, as outlined in this review, the Classic may signal the end of the road for hard disc drive-based iPods, as Apple aggressively moves its entire media player lineup to Flash memory storage.

With 80GB or 160GB of storage,the new apple iPod classic gives your music and video room to move. It also has plenty of energy (up to 40 hours of audio playback2), good looks (a sleek, all-metal design), and a great personality (a brand-new interface with Cover Flow). In other words, iPod classic makes an ideal companion. Why not get to know it better?

If a picture says a thousand words, think of what all the album art in your collection might say. With Cover Flow on iPod classic, you can flip through your music to find the album you want to hear. Use the Click Wheel to browse music by album cover, then select an album to flip it over and see the track list.

The new apple iPod Classic is the latest revamping of Apple's iconic hard drive MP3 player, formerly known as the Video iPod or fifth-generation iPod. As Apple's only remaining high-capacity MP3 player, the iPod Classic comes in both 80GB ($249) and 160GB versions ($349), available in black or silver.


Cosmetically, the new apple iPod Classic's improvements over its predecessors are minor. An anodized-aluminum faceplate now replaces the glossy, all-plastic facade found on the previous generation. Overall thickness has also improved, with the 80GB iPod Classic now measuring 2.4x4.1x.41 inches--just a fraction of an inch thinner than the 30GB Video iPod we had in our lab. The screen, however, is still made from scratch-prone plastic (unlike the iPhone's and iPod Touch's), and the chrome found on the back cover still begs for smudges.

Despite the major interface overhaul, the new apple iPod Classic's sound quality still sounds just middle-of-the-road. Although middling sound quality doesn't seem to affect iPod sales, you'd think Apple would eventually address this long-standing complaint--if only out of pride. Users do get more than 20 equalization presets to choose among--ranging from subtle enhancement to dramatic bass boosting. Compared to products such as the Creative Zen V Plus, the Cowon iAudio 7, or the Toshiba Gigabeat U, however, the iPod's sound quality still leaves room for improvement. That said, after listening with our Ultrasone HFI-700 headphones as well as a set of Shure SE310 earphones, we can say with confidence that the Classic's fidelity will certainly satisfy most users.

Product Summary

The good: The new apple iPod Classic is just like the fifth-generation iPod with video, only slimmer, tougher, and injected with a more visually rich graphical user interface.

The bad: Video output now requires a proprietary cable; audio quality has not improved; some older iPod video accessories may not be compatible; users are required to use the latest version of iTunes, which may not work on some older computer systems.

The bottom line: The new apple iPod Classic is a refinement of the formula that put the iPod on the map. Few can match its combination of storage capacity, battery life, and advanced user interface.

Specs: Device type: Portable media center; Dimensions (WxDxH): 2.4 in x 0.4 in x 4.1 in; Display type: LCD 2.5 in See full specs >>

Price range: $207.95 - $249.99

As the availability of high-capacity hard drive MP3 players seems to be on the decline, we're happy to see that Apple is continuing to develop them. The new apple iPod Classic doesn't deliver the novelty of the iPod Nano or the iPod Touch, but it is still one of the best-designed high-capacity MP3 players on the market.


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