Lacking the wide-screen wonder and connectivity of the iPod touch and the 4G iPod nano's gee-whiz accelerometer and shake-to-shuffle feature, the iPod classic doesn't feel new or innovative. Rather, it's a tested and reliable way to carry around your digital media.

Think back to the first new car you owned, how you loved its smell, its glimmering paint, its awesome newness. Then recall, four years later, when it - with its scratches, stains, dings, and unattractive habits - becomes nothing more than a reliable mode of transportation. This is the kind of utility we find in today's iPod classic.

Lacking the wide-screen wonder and connectivity of the iPod touch and the 4G iPod nano's gee-whiz accelerometer and shake-to-shuffle feature, the iPod classic doesn't feel new or innovative. Rather, it's a tested and reliable way to carry around your digital media.

Familiar friend
That's not to say that the iPod classic is a bad iPod. In fact, it's a perfectly wonderful iPod if you want to take a large collection of your media library with you. It's just that compared to the iPod touch and 4G iPod nano, its utility isn't very sexy.

That utility comes in many forms. The iPod classic has the best gigabyte-to-dollar ratio of any display-bearing iPod at just under £1.50 per gigabyte of storage, compared to the worst ratio being the 8GB iPod touch, which demands £13.60 per gigabyte! It has the largest storage capacity at 120GB (approximately 30,000 4-minute tracks encoded at 128Kbps AAC).

It also offers impressive continuous audio playtime at 42 hours and 17 minutes; video playback also exceeded Apple's six-hour estimate. As I did with the 2G iPod touch, I set brightness and volume to their mid-points and repeatedly played Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl until the battery died 7 hours and 28 minutes later. Respectable.

But, unlike the newest iPod nano, you can't shake it to shuffle tracks (and given that its music is stored on a spinning hard drive, that's just as well). Because it has no accelerometer, you can't turn it sideways with the expectation that its display will flip its orientation. Unlike the iPod nano, the iPod classic offers no spoken menus, nor does it have an Energy Saver feature. In nearly every respect, it's the same iPod classic introduced last year.

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