A year ago almost to the week, we brought you the review of Apple's iPod classic -- the 80GB and 160GB hold-all iPod. One year later, it's available in just a single, slim 120GB capacity, with most features remaining unchanged.
So is there any point upgrading? Did Apple make a mistake getting rid of the higher capacity version? We took a look to find out. It's available now in black and silver for £179.
Almost no aspect of the classic's design has been changed, except the black finish is a slightly lighter shade of black (no, we don't mean grey). The chassis is identical to that of the old 80GB model, which we do admit is our favourite design and thickness. It's a solid player, with a superb capacity considering its relatively lightweight build. The nano will always be more suitable for the gym, but for other purposes the classic's size and weight shouldn't be an issue.
Unchanged, too, is the 64mm (2.5-inch) 320x240-pixel screen -- the same, albeit rotated, resolution used in the third and fourth generation iPod nano. However, during side by side comparisons with the first generation classic, the new model appears to have a slightly brighter display, for which we offer up a congratulatory high five.
The most notable addition to the classic's feature set is Genius. This glorified playlist creator automatically builds playlists of 25, 50, 75 or 100 songs based on any given 'source song' you select. The playlist it creates should, theoretically, contain songs best matched to your source song.
In our tests Genius worked really well. We first tried it with iTunes, as Genius must first be calibrated with iTunes. When given complex progressive metal track from Blotted Science, iTunes created a list of mostly complex progressive metal. But the same was true when using the classic after syncing -- a playlist comprising folky pop rock from Kate Nash, Michelle Branch and Alanis Morissette was created when using KT Tunstall as a source track. The more music you have, the more fun Genius is.
As for your music, the iPod classic's sound is generated by a Cirrus audio chip, and supports MP3, AAC -- both unprotected and protected iTunes Store downloads -- WAV, AIFF, Audible formats 2, 3 and 4 and the best choice if you wish to preserve your CDs entirely, Apple Lossless -- Apple's answer to FLAC -- between 20Hz-20kHz. You're unable to play WMA files from the likes of Napster, sadly, as Apple wants you to use the iTunes Store only.