Apple iPod Classic review

What's not to like about the new 160Gb iPod Classic? Nothing, except the headphones Tested at £229

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Carry your entire music collection in uncompressed format – with room for a few movies – and play it back in style, too


  • +

    Vast capacity for the same money

  • +

    subtle but stylish new look

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    even better sonic performance


  • -

    Pathetic headphones

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Take the last generation's top-spec iPod, and swap 40GB/80GB capacities for 80GB/160GB without upping the price.

Then add a boosted audio output, an even neater interface and a slimmer, all-metal finish. What's not to like about the new iPod Classic?

With the new iPod touch limited to a maximum 64GB, the Classic is a strategic masterstroke - if you're one of the many who feel compelled to take your entire music collection with you wherever you go, the 160GB Classic is the only dance in town.

We also reckon the Classic will earn a following from those who find the touch a little tricky to operate with one hand (try working an iPod touch in your pocket in a packed train carriage, then a Classic).

There are downsides of course: the Classic has a conventional hard drive instead of the touch's solid state storage, which in theory means that it's less resistant to hefty knocks and long-term wear.

And only time will tell if the Classic is free of the battery life issues that afflicted its forebear (again, its spinning hard drive drains more life than the touch's solid state drive).

And although the Classic is immensely capable, it will never enjoy the world of clever functionality you can call upon from your iPod touch. Web surfing, for example, isn't on option.

But let's end on a high: this Apple sounds better than ever (though the 'phones still suck - look for better cans), especially playing uncompressed WAV or Apple Lossless files.

For now, we're off to re-rip all our CDs and enjoy...

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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