I’ve had my Ipod for a couple of weeks now, which I think is enough evaluation time for a product review. If it takes a shit in another week or something, I’ll let you know. I purchased the black version of the latest (7th generation) Ipod classic. With a 120 GB hard drive, this thing dwarfs the 30 GB Ipod I used to have in terms of storage space. Apple says it’s less than half an inch thick, but I’m not going to get out a measuring tape to verify that. It’s thin enough for me, and that’s all that matters (that’s what she said). Apple also claims that this Ipod will hold up to 30,000 songs, 150 hours of video, or 25,000 photos. But we all know that those numbers are total crap, because they’re based on file sizes that Apple decided upon to make the storage space look better. I know all about their trickery though, so I pay no attention to their flashy numbers. I know that 120 GB is enough to store my music, lots of photos, and some music videos. If 120 GB isn’t enough to hold all of your music, maybe you should consider cutting out your expansive Yanni and Kenny G live bootleg collection. Do you really need to carry that shit around with you all the time, just in case you happen to run into someone else someday who is a freakishly devoted fan of either of the aforementioned artists? Even then, what are you going to do? Pull out your Ipod and proudly show off your hours and hours of concert audio recorded on a shitty digital voice recorder, only to have the other guy go “Pssshhhhh, I have all that AND a used condom from Kenny G’s hotel room in Tokyo.”? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Besides, we all know Kenny G doesn’t wrap it up. He goes bareback all the way, baby.
So we’ve established that this Ipod definitely has a lot to offer in the storage department. I have all of the music from my computer’s hard drive, most of my photos, and several music videos, and I’ve still got 69 GB free. I think I”m going to start putting some full-length movies on there, just in case I’m suddenly and unexpectedly trapped somewhere for several hours without any entertainment. For the most part, the latest Ipod is pretty similar to the previous release. The 2.5 inch screen looks great, and is plenty big enough to watch video on. There’s a nifty feature called Cover Flow that allows you to browse through your music collection by viewing the album covers. That is, assuming you have album art for all your music, which I don’t. So I can browse through my music by viewing a bunch of “generic music note” thumbnails with an actual album art thumbnail image every once in a while. Yeah, I’m totally organized. The main menu is split in half, so that the right half of the screen shows random images from your Ipod. Kinda cool. Apple opted for a nice-looking anodized aluminum faceplate this time, instead of the easy-to-scratch glossy black polycarbonate of Ipods past. The aluminum has a nice “matte” look. And they replaced the white version with silver. I thought that one looked nice as well, but I ultimately went with the black one. The Ipod also comes with 3 games onboard. Iquiz is a pretty fun trivia game with decent graphics and sound. Vortex is a mildly addictive game that’s somewhat similar to the classic “brick breaker” games that have been around for years. Klondike is some dumbass card game that I haven’t bothered playing because card games are generally about as interesting to me as Shaq’s acting career. Well, with the exception of that skit he did with Tracy Morgan on SNL years ago. You know, the one where Tracy Morgan was his dad, and Shaq came home after his curfew. That was good TV. But everything else is uninteresting. That’s the point I was trying to get across.
The battery life is more than adequate for my needs. I charge my Ipod every day while I’m asleep, and I haven’t had it run out of juice on me between charges yet. I think I could easily get 2 or 3 days of use out of it before I needed to charge it, if it weren’t for that pesky FM transmitter I have to use at work. That thing saps the Ipod’s battery life pretty quickly. I use the Ipod at work for 8 hours, 5 nights a week and it always does a good job of providing my coworkers and I with the tunes. This brings me to the two problems I have with the Ipod, one of which is more of a problem with Itunes. I have a playlist of roughly 600 songs that I uses specifically for work. We get tired of hearing the douchebag night DJ’s on the local radio station, and it’s a pain in the ass to have to change CD’s every hour or so. That’s where my Ipod and it’s wonderful playlist created by yours truly comes in to save the day. My playlist was carefully crafted with everyone’s interests in mind. I spent hours on it, and I’m always tweaking, adjusting, and adding to it. I’m very proud of my work playlist. It’s a masterpiece, and I think it deserves many gold stars. The problem is this: The Ipod’s shuffle function kind of sucks. I’ve used the Ipod at work at least a dozen full work days now, and the shuffle feature just doesn’t work that well. I understand that it can’t be perfect. But even when I take that into account, I’m still disappointed. The Ipod played “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by The Police twice in the course of 3o minutes the other day. Out of 600 songs, it plays that twice within a half hour. Also, there are songs on the playlist that I’ve yet to hear even once. There are approximately 38 hours of music on the work playlist, and that playlist has been run for at least 100 hours total. I’m starting to think that the Ipod is neglecting some of the songs for some reason. The Ipod will play some bands over and over in the course of a night, and never play others. I understand that if there are a dozen Green Day songs on the list, and only 3 by Dead Milkmen, it’s going to play more Green Day over time. I factor that kind of shit in, and it’s still screwing me over on some songs. It’s not a huge problem, but it is definitely annoying.
My other big problem might have more to do with Itunes than the Ipod itself. There’s this feature that Itunes and the Ipod both have called Sound Check. This feature is supposed to adjust the playback of all the songs to the same volume level. And guess what? It doesn’t work. Not one bit. We set the volume on the stereo at work to a certain level, and it sounds good. Then Guns ‘N Roses comes on, and nobody can hear it. But when any Green Day song that’s not on the “1,039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours” CD comes on, it’s louder than shit. I could go and manually adjust the volume of all those songs, but that’s a huge pain in the ass that Apple is supposed to be taking care of for me. Sound Check doesn’t work, and it pisses me off. If you know of something I can do about this, help me out. It’s annoying.
Aside from the two problems I mentioned, the Ipod is just fine. I am happy that I can carry around my entire music collection in my pocket. I bought a nice little rubber case and a screen protector to take care of the Ipod. I also got a nice little padded cradle thing to hold the Ipod while I’m driving. It clips onto the air vent on the dash of my uber-cool 1998 Ford Windstar. I get all sorts of tail in that thing, believe me. Nothing screams “hip and available” like a forest green minivan. I may not drive a sweet car, but dammit I’ve got my music.
The 120 GB Ipod runs for about $250, but I’ve seen it at Wal-Mart and on Amazon for 20 bucks cheaper. If you’re in the market for a new audio/video player, I’m giving the new Ipod Classic the thumbs up. For a full run-down of all the specs and details on this Ipod, go here.