The Classic's sound quality is equal to past iPods, so we've no complaints there. It has been said that the player won't send video content to a TV unless it's connected to a new, Apple-authorised dock or video cable, and while we don't have suitable add-ons to confirm this, we couldn't change the Classic's TV output settings, which default to off. Other reviewers are finding that there is an issue here, so if you've made a big investment in iPod peripherals it may well be worth waiting for Apple to clarify the situation before upgrading to a Classic.
Apple's iPod Classic: shiny white, not flat grey, please
Likewise folk who bought games for the previous iPod. The ones sold on iTunes aren't compatible with the new players. Apple says new versions of three titles - Ms Pac-Man, Tetris and Sudoku - are on their way "soon".
Apple claims the 80GB iPod's battery life comes in at up to 30 hours' music playback and five hours' video. The 160GB - presumably thanks to a bigger battery - scores 40 hours and seven hours' respectively. The company's managed to meet or even exceed its claims in past iPod generations and we experienced nothing to suggest it hasn't this time round.
As the latest hard drive iPod, the Classic - with its extra capacity and metal casing - is a good extension to the series. Yes, the silver model falls flat, but the black version is spot on.
We'd say the same about the revamped user interface if it wasn't for its inconsistencies. Some backgrounds are white, others black. Some screens have iPhone-style widgets, others are more like the old-style iPod UI. Buyers will benefit from many of the improvements - the search, the extra info, the new-style Settings menu - but others, like Cover Flow, will fall by the wayside. It'll be great on the iPod Touch, but not here.
Apple iPod Classic
160GB: £229/$349 RRP
"Incidentally the new nano coped much better with this."
Which is rather strange; I'm sure the people that do such things pulled them both apart and found the same (Samsung) CPU in the two machines. Oh well.
Wait for version 2!
The processor in this is terribly slow and really can't cope with the interface.
It chugs through menus, and coverflow feels like scrolling through molasses.
If you should dare and try to scroll through with coverflow with a song playing (I'm always searching for the next song to play) it will start to Porky Pig through the song you're listening to: pppeeerrggger-dddddeeerggggerrrr
Incidentally the new nano coped much better with this.
I'm looking to replace my ageing 4G 20Gb, but the new nano while splendid is too small (storage-wise), and I would not pay money for the Classic in this state.
What do I do now? When's the next refresh due?
@ Scott re compression
Few people own sound equipment advanced enough to to be able to project the difference between AAC @ 192 and CD audio - even fewer have the ear to tell the difference if they did have the equipment. My point wast that the real weak point in digal audio reproduction is the DAC, not the data loss in the compression format. Without a high end DAC, the extra fidelity of CD quality audio is wasted. In fact what people often think they are hearing as imperfections in the compression format of tunes on their iPods, is actually the result of the DACs interpretation of the uncompressed binary stream. So carrying around lossless tunes on an iPod is just plain silly.
I do agree that good headphones are a worthwhile investment though - although I'm not sure that picking ear wax out of Etymotics is everyone's cup of tea!
Actually on a related rant - another real kick in the arse sound wise is the recent practice of boosting the volume on tracks and using compression to clip the waveform, in order to have louder recording then the next guy (aka the loudness wars). CDs are getting hotter and hotter and the sound quality is plummeting. I can see a market emerging for the old CD re-releases from the 80's / early 90's with no crazy wave compression.