iPod Classic and iPod Nano

iPod Classic and iPod Nano

The iPod classic’s new metal shell gives it an industrial-strength look.

 

The graphics in the main menu don’t make navigation any easier; we actually wonder if they suck away precious battery power. However, drill down though the menus and the graphics become more useful. When perusing your list of albums, podcasts, or TV shows, the iPod uses a thumbnail of the album art for quick visual recognition. When you view your iPod’s music, a Cover Flow option is now available, which adds some pizzazz to the iPod by letting you sift through your music while looking at the album art. When you’re listening to music, the Now Playing screen displays album art.

 

The screens for both the iPod classic and the iPod nano are stellar. Colors look true to life, the detail is sharp, photos look vibrant, and text is easy to read. Our tolerance for watching video on such small screens was tested, though, especially on the iPod nano. The iPod classic’s 2.5-inch screen seems to be the minimum size limit for watching a full-length movie comfortably. We found that the smaller the screen, the more concentration required while watching video, and doing that on the iPod nano’s 2-inch screen was a true test of concentration. With the iPod nano, we were most comfortable with videos that were one hour or shorter.

 

All the new features are nice, but what’s most important is the sound quality - to borrow a phrase from Steve Jobs, it’s all about the music. With the included earbuds, both iPods produce full-sounding midrange tones, clear highs, and bass that doesn’t thump too heavily. If you’re an experienced iPod user, the sound quality will be familiar to you. The iPod classic and iPod nano don’t have the recessed jacked found on the iPhone (hip-hip…), and the iPod’s earbuds use an iPhone-friendly connector (…hooray!).

 

Apple says you should be able to get about 5 hours of battery life for video on both iPods, and we got surprisingly close. Our new iPod classic played video at full volume and brightness for 4 hours and 35 minutes, while the iPod nano lasted 4 hours, 19 minutes. When it came to music playback, we got 39 hours from the 80GB iPod classic, which exceeds Apple’s specified 30 hours. The iPod nano, which Apple says should last 24 hours for music, lasted 30 hours. We tested music playback with a 6-hour playlist, the backlight set for shutoff after 10 seconds, full volume, and no EQ settings.

 

Apple includes three games with the iPod: iQuiz, a trivia game; Klondike, a solitaire card game; and Vortex, an arcade-style Breakout-type game. The PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS have nothing to worry about, since the iPod game library is full of casual games that won’t appeal to PSP or DS gamers. Unfortunately, previously purchased games that we played with our old iPod wouldn’t load onto the iPod classic or iPod nano. Better fix this, Apple.

 

To connect the iPod classic and the iPod nano to a TV, you need a $49 Apple Component AV Cable that connects to the iPod via the dock - that’s a change from the previous iPod, which used a component cable that connected to the headphone jack. And finally, the iPod still doesn’t include a power adapter. Our hopes were raised when we found an adapter came with our iPhone, but no dice with the iPod. The power adapter remains a $29 option. C’mon Apple, at least include the adapter with the iPod classic.

 

The bottom line. The iPod classic and the iPod nano are the best of their respective product lines ever released. Will you be lucky enough to get one this holiday season? We hope so.

 

iPOD NANO

COMPANY: Apple

CONTACT: www.apple.com

PRICE: $149 (4GB), $199 (8GB)

REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.4.8 or later, iTunes 7.4 or later, Mac with Internet access, USB

Excellent screen. Improved software interface.

Power adapter is a $29 option. Screen too small for prolonged video watching. Previously bought games won’t sync.

 

 

iPOD CLASSIC

COMPANY: Apple

CONTACT: www.apple.com

PRICE: $249 (80GB), $349 (160GB)

REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.4.8 or later, iTunes 7.4 or later, Mac with Internet access, USB

Say so long to the scratch-prone plastic. Thinner than ever. Improved software interface. Excellent screen.

No power adapter. Previously bought games won’t sync. Time to buy a new case.

 

 

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Mark T. (West Hartford, CT)

Roman, I was literally on my way to our local Apple Store to get the Nano, when I heard a Podcast discussion of Apple's change in its ability to connect to a TV ... something I do fairly often. FYI, the Apple Component AV Cable that connects to the iPod via the dock was available for $59 (not $49), and they were still selling the $20 component cable --- the geniuses were unaware that they don't work with the new iPods. I ended up not buying a new Nano ... and will keep using my 5G Video iPod for a while.

If someone can tell me that this change has merit from a technological perspective, I'd be interested in hearing about that.

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