iPod Classic, 80gb Review

About two years ago, I bought a first generation 4gb iPod Nano. At the time, it was exactly what I needed: something small that would carry the small amount of music I was currently listening to. I was growing tired of carrying around my heavy 2G 10gb iPod. For about about 20% of the size and weight of the iPod, I got about 50% of the capacity. That seemed like a great trade off at the time.

Fast-forward a few years, and I found the Nano, which still works perfectly, not to be serving my new needs. For the past few months I had been considering purchasing yet another iPod, and the reason was capacity. My 4gb and 10gb iPods, regardless of their physical size, just weren't cutting it.

In short, here's why I was looking for more capacity:

  1. I download around a gigabyte of music a month, and if I don't listen to it all regularly enough, I don't have enough iPod capacity to keep it on hand. That means good music gets buried and not heard.
  2. Because I like to listen to rock music at the gym, I was employing a 2 iPod rotation policy. Nano for new stuff, mostly ambient, and 2G iPod for the gym. It gets old pulling headphones off of one iPod to wrap them around another at 5:45 a.m.

Just before the new iPod lineups were announced, I had considered upgrading to the 80gb size, which at the time was the largest. I have a reasonable amount of music, but I'm not one of these people with 100's of gigabytes in their collection. 80gb would serve my needs for probably another couple years, assuming I don't get into watching video, which I don't see happening. Unfortunately, the physical size of the old 80gb iPod was a turn off. It was just too bulky. So I waited.

But when the new iPod lineup was announced last week, and when I saw that new, slimmer 80gb model in Steve Jobs' hands, the decision was made.

I've been living with the iPod Classic 80gb for a week now, and here's the verdict:

  1. The physical size is great. It's slimmer than an iPhone, and the metal face has quite a nice feel. It's maybe a touch on the heavy side, but when you figure that it has the same hard drive capacity as the PowerBook I'm currently typing on, it doesn't seem all that bad.
  2. The 80gb capacity means I can have every ambient music track in my library on hand. This means in the last week I've listened to some old favorites I'd forgotten about, and discovered some old downloads I didn't know I actually liked.
  3. The new interface is a touch on the flaky side, but it seems software related and will likely be improved in future updates. Also, I didn't buy the thing for new features, I bought purely for more capacity.
  4. This is my first iPod capable of playing video. I did watch an Arsenal podcast on the subway coming home from class the other night, but otherwise watching video still seems a bit gimmicky to me. This though is coming from a guy who doesn't watch many TV shows or movies. If I could get football matches and/or highlights onto the thing easily, I can see me changing my tune on this.
  5. In all, I'm pleased with my purchase. And for $249.99, 80gb seems almost astonishing sometimes. In the end, an iPod is an iPod is an iPod, and if you have similar capacity needs or listening habits to mine, you'd do well to look at the iPod Classic.