I've been a musician for 10+ years, and have collected more CD's than I can keep track of. When I noticed that I was only listening to a few albums, I bought a small generic MP3 player for the gym. I tired of it pretty quickly, because I wanted more features. When my wife said she wanted an iPod for her birthday, I decided to get one for myself as well. I was mainly looking forward to increased storage space and the addition of playlists. iTunes really added a lot to that, though. It's hard to review the iPod without also reviewing iTunes, the software/music store that comes with the device. The review below will address both, but I'll try to keep the focus on the iPod.
Recommend this product?
When I opened the box, I popped in the installation CD and got iTunes installed and running in a few minutes. That was relatively painless. Ripping my CD's one at a time, however, was not. There's not really any way around that, so I really can't complain; iTunes rips CD's at least as quickly as Windows Media Player. There's a function that allows you to turn your WMP files into iTunes files, but it transformed every single sound file on my computer, so I decided to do the job manually. The more tech-savvy may be able to get around this problem.
After getting all of my music into iTunes, I was happy to find that I had very little of the space on the iPod filled. Right now, I have 66.2 GB free. My library consists of over four days' worth of music. I'm sure I have CD's buried in a basement somewhere that haven't made it to the iPod/computer yet, but I feel pretty confident that I won't run out of space. This may not be the case for users who make use of the video capabilities, but my wife occasionally rents movies and hasn't had space issues yet.
The real appeal of the iPod, though, is user-friendliness. Everything is easily accessible from the click wheel. The digital display is easy to read, even with my aging eyes. It's even clear enough to play simple video games, though I rarely do this, and have stuck to the three that came with the system. iTunes is similarly easy to understand. Creating a playlist, editing data for songs, etc. is always just a click away. Unfortunately, so is purchasing songs, so a little self-restraint may be in order for the less spendthrift among us.
Thus far, I've basically written a one-sided rave review of the iPod Classic. I really do think it's the best media device out right now. It is not, however, perfect. The click wheel can be unresponsive. This is especially frustrating if playing vortex, a game included with the iPod that requires the player to move a barrier around a perimeter using the clickwheel. It usually comes around after a second or two, though. I also understand that battery life goes down drastically when playing video. I believe the manual states that one can listen to music for 40 hours or watch video for roughly three. Since the movies are really only useful for road trips, a car charger is a must.
In closing, the iPod classic isn't perfect, but it is very good. I usually end my reviews by considering which consumers will or will not enjoy whatever I'm reviewing. With the iPod, this is sort of difficult. I could see some saving money by opting for the shuffle or nano, or possibly wanting the additional functionality of the Microsoft Zune, which includes an FM tuner. However, I am hard pressed to think of a consumer who would actively dislike owning this product, aside from those who simply don't care to take their media with them.
Amount Paid (US$): 200
Recommended for: Music Lovers - High Capacity Storage for an Entire Album Collection