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on 10 November 2008
I bought a 40Gb iPod Classic 4 years ago. It recently died and was almost as cheap to replace compared to getting it fixed so I bought the 120Gb iPod Classic. Here's my thoughts on the new model based on having upgraded from the 40Gb model. I didn't really need 120Gb capacity but the next option down was 16Gb and that wouldn't fit the contents of my old model.

The overwhelming impression is of a significant improvement on the 40Gb classic. It's slimmer, lighter, has a much nicer, colour interface and 3 times the capacity at two-thirds the price. I'm tempted to rip my new CDs at a higher resolution now.

The most notable improvement is in the overall sound quality. I would compare it to going from FM radio to DAB radio. It's a fundamentally sharper sound. It has completely enhanced my listening experience, both through my headphones and my iPod speakers. It also handles variable volume much better so you don't keep having to adjust the volume depending on the age of the original CD that was ripped.

The colour, as mentioned in other reviews, is not black but I find the dark, charcoal grey very fetching and actually more tasteful than plain black. It now handles photos and videos and has colour games but none of these features are of particular interest to me. I simply want a jukebox of all my albums to carry everywhere. The battery life is apparently 4 times better than the 40Gb model.

You will have to upgrade to iTunes v8 to synch your music if, like me, you have never been bothered to upgrade iTunes in the past!!

I do have some very minor quibbles but these are insignificant when compared with the improvement in sound quality:

- the click wheel requires slightly more pressure and the middle button is concave rather than convex. Both make the iPod slightly trickier to control when you're groping for it in your pocket!

- despite the improvement in sound quality, there's still no graphic equalizer that allows you to control treble, bass, etc.. separately.

- you actually get 111Gb of capacity. This using up of the advertised capacity to accommodate the operating system is consistent with all other models.

- it comes with the usual white headphones. Shouldn't they be black to match the colour of the model? Either way they are still poor and to get maximum benefit I'd recommend, as a minimum, a pair of in-ear Sennheiser headphones.

- it comes with a docking adaptor, presumably to cater for the change in thickness. It is slimmer than the 40Gb model. However, the adaptor doesn't fit the stand that came with the 40Gb model so I'm not quite sure what it's for? It does like wider than the 40Gb model. The screen is wider, but the actual iPod itself is in fact the same width.

- the back is still the same 'scratch friendly' material. Can Apple not find a material that is shiny, reflective but doesn't scratch when you look at it!?

As I say, these are very minor quibbles. If you have an extensive music collection and looking for a new iPod with seemingly limitless capacity and significantly improved sound quality, this is a good home for it.
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on 5 February 2009
Okay... so my beloved iAudio X5 finally gave up the ghost, and riding on the bus without music (heh, well at least my own music) was starting to make me want to kill people.

I've been looking about. All I wanted was music while on the move, and a large amount of it. I'm not fussed about watching films when out and about, and while the X5 did have USB host and recording capabilities I can count the times I actually used them on one hand.

There's not a great deal of choice at the moment. By far the majority of music players are flash based and don't come in larger sizes than 32GB, and the hard drive based ones tend towards the multimedia platform with large screens, wifi and bluetooth - and a price tag to match.

So I went for this. I'll be honest, I'm not disappointed. It's easy to use, the controls are fantastic, it looks incredible, it's got a great UI, it's small and it sounds pretty good. In addition there's a lot of high end HiFi equipment out there with iPod docks built in.

The down sides - it doesn't have the clarity and general all round quality of sound that the iAudio had, and I'm stuck with graphic equaliser presets that just don't quite give me the sound I want.

Overall it's a very very good piece of kit, I'd recommend it if you want a no nonsense music player with a few very nice touches. Ditch iTunes and use Winamp (the ml_ipod plugin is recommended too) or Media Monkey, and consider installing the rockbox firmware too when it's ported to this latest generation (beware - this will at least invalidate your guarantee, and possibly make Mr Jobs a little sick). It's a solid player that will rock for a good long while.
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on 1 November 2008
Firstly I used to be an apple hater, have always used Archos and creative labs and been very happy with both. Still thought as I've never meet a person who regrets buying an Ipod that there might be something in these players..So I put my money where my doubts were.
Firstly, my biggest hate for the IPOD is Itunes, I rip my music and already had thousand of tracks and really don't want to have to give a credit card to Itunes so that I can start transferring my music but you have to.. Now other than that the actual player is excellent. Once I got my head around the fact that as a non Itune guy that you can not just drag and drop your track onto you Ipod.

The player is light and sturdy and the head phones even more lightweight- firstly ditch the enclosed headphones and invest in a decent set of phones.
The player is excellent in the controls and style. Although I don't think you want this for Video invest in an archos for your films.
The sound of my MP3s is impressive and full, with GOOD VOLUME.
Some reviewers have said that the volume is an issue.. No the Ipod is loud you can set the maximum volume in the setting but this isn't the actual playing volume just the upper limit!! - whenever the Ipod is turned on it will start to broadcast at half volume by default, this is fine as a quick spin on your finger on the control wheel will put the volume to a level that is load enough to share the tunes with the person trying to sit next to you in silence. It will then stay there as you continue to play with the player.
As for the colour comments, gun metal black is the new true black and that is what this one is very macho. The mat black also is very smudge resistant.

-Lots of accessories
-Excellent controls,
-Itunes (if you want to buy or download podcasts)
-Screen and sound quality is excellent
-Nice gunmetal black
-Very good battery life
-Good volume once you realise you need to give a quick flick
-I like the way Ipod pauses if you unplug your headphone so you don't miss a drop.

-Itunes (no option to avoid if you want to just use windows explorer)
-No drag and drop on any PC only on Itunes at home
-Screen not really good enough for watching movies (maybe TV shows or Videocasts)

Conclussion, I love the Ipod classic but am lukewarm over Itunes. However, I'm buying into Ipod not Itunes (try media monkey software for an alternative).
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on 12 November 2008
I have resisted the i-Pod todate because I do not like i-Tunes. So I have already mp3 players by others (a 40gb Creative Zen Touch - which only really works on mains after 3.5 years, a 32gb Zen for the car, an Archos 605 for video and internet). However, my music collection is too large for the Zens to cope with (The SD card expansion on the Creative Zen is not the answer because that does not integrate with the flash-drive's music library) and the Archos is simply not good enough at sound reproduction for music, in my opinion. So, against this background here is what I think:

1. You do not have to use i-Tunes. My media organiser of choice (after trying so many) is Media Jukebox and it had absolutely no problem recognising my new i-Pod and copying across my music library and cover art. (I should qualify this by saying that most of my music is ripped and what I do buy is in mp3 format from 7digital, so I have never used the one stop shop does it all "benefits" of i-Tunes).

2. The click-wheel navigation of the i-Pod is good for basic navigation but the Creative Zen system, I think, is actually a better method overall.

3. The screen display of the i-Pod is great and, to me, better than that on the Creative Zen. However, on neither will I be watching video, so we are only talking about cover art and navigation display here.

4. The headphones are rubbish (as were the ones with each of my previous players).

5. As others have noted, volume is limited but it goes loud enough for me with a pair of decent headphones.

6. It is very well built compared to all my other players.

7. Sound quality is very good, if not stunning. On direct comparison, I think my 32gb Creative Zen is better (a tighter bass and more openess), but both are really enjoyable to listen to.

8. I have bought a crystal case and wallet to help protect it from knocks, but be warned that cases for the 80gb and 160gb previous generation do not necessarily fit the new 120gb perfectly.

9. If you have a large music collection, and want a quality mp3 player, then this now represents excellent value for money. If the i-Pod is as well built and reliable as my Apple Macbook then it ought to keep me happy for some years.
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on 10 October 2008
"Apple vs. all other vendors" banter aside... this is a brilliant piece of kit.

I was on the lookout for a jukebox player seeing as I made the transition from casual listening to complete and utter audiophilia. Consequently, I began to rip mp3s at a high bit rate 320kbps; enjoying the greater sound quality of the music (couldn't believe what I had been missing)... Sounds amazing through my system. This led to my library size increasing almost four-fold. So my little 8GB Creative ZEN (the credit card sized unit) was no longer of favour (that even couldn't fit everything I had in my library, albeit at smaller file sizes/bit rates as well!).

And then there's this little beauty.
It accomodates to my huge library. Plays music flawlessly. The album artwork/cover flow functions are gloriously displayed on a nice wide screen (however, instead of arranging covers by album, the iPod arranges them by artist... which, if there are quite a few tracks that you have which feature additional artists, this equals A LOT of the same cover). The screen also serves purpose for comfortable video/movie playback.

Of course there is that much documented problem about music "not sounding as good as" previous models, but to be quite honest - I notice little to no reduction in quality. EU Legislation dictates that volume limiters are now applied to protect you, the consumer, from doing damage to your beloved ear drums. So yes... it might not be as "loud" as a previous model, but be rest assured that there is definitely no reduction in "quality".
Your ears will thank you someday.

As it is a hard-drive based player... if you tend to delete a lot of music off and load a lot on frequently you can notice a reduction in menu speed; it's because the file system gets a tincy wincy bit cluttered - but that's just extra jargon.
To counteract this, you can restore the iPod to it's original state when purchased... or... defragment the iPod like you would your normal PC hard drive.
This keeps performance tip-top.

So overall... a great player... and in support of the other review stated here... the player is indeed NOT BLACK like the previous generation... it is like a CHARCOAL/OBSIDIAN TONE with a metallic sheen; nonetheless, it retains it's huge aesthetic appeal. Very pleasing to look at, hold, drool over etc. etc.

So all in all, I'd recommend this to anyone with a steadily increasing library, choc-full of high bitrate or lossless music.
Oh, and if you do decide to purchase it... for the love of whoever... don't drop the thing. It's pretty much 'game over' if you do (hard drive fragility and all that).

- no FLAC support, again...
- hard drive vunerability.
- cover flow bloat (can be fixed with iTunes, but time-consuming).
- earphones, although outputting at the 2Hz -> 20,000Hz range STILL don't sound as good, recommended to replace them with an alternative.
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VINE VOICEon 15 October 2008
As a long time Apple skeptic it was with furrowed brow that I approached the prospect of buying into this latest iteration of the iPod. I had been happily using an aged 20gb Archos gMini with no problems, and enjoying every minute.

But I was lured towards the iPOd by the spectacular low price/storage ratio. £179 for 120gb of mobile media storage. I desperately searched for a reason to hate this product even before I bought it. After a little googling I found references to dark mutterings about poor sound quality and the terrible burden that is iTunes.

The question of sound quality was quickly addressed by finding an iPod to listen to. I auditioned mine at John Lewis' and bought it on the spot. The sound was cleaner than the gMini by a long chalk, and the stereo separation through my own aged Shure E2C ear plugs was amazing. (Ditch the supplied buds, they suck like a black hole on steroids).

Installing iTunes via download was painless, but importing all of my media files and dealing with duplicates was a real pain. If you have files that don't have tags be prepared that you will not easily be able to find them. You cannot simply set up a directory structure like you can on other devices.

I downloaded a few podcasts and some very entertaining games (the best of which is Peggle, don't leave home without it!) iTunes seems to co-ordinate things well enough, even if it does have a bizarrely clunky and un-Appley interface.

The iPod unit itself is beautifully made, if such things matter to you. And the sleek pocket friendly design is practical too, with the metal shell providing a welcome degree of ruggedness. The screen is pretty robust too, and quite visible in anything but direct sunlight.

Your interaction with the iPod will depend on how you get on with the touch wheel driven interface. It's tricky to start with, but after a few hours of cursing you will get used to it. Other aspects of the design (such as cover flow) are simply eye candy and serve no immediately useful function. But they are very Appley.

Having lived with the sound for a couple of weeks now it turns out that there is a significant issue that Apple have let slip through the quality control net.

If you use the bass EQ settings to increase the bass you do get distortion on loud passages. Lots of music these days is maximised through a compression process during mastering. If the signal is already saturated by that means then boosting the output by adding bass in the EQ settings will cause distortion. It won't be apparent if the track is quiet, since there is plenty headroom, but if the track is a loud one you will hear distortion.

Thankfully, the default flat EQ is good enough for my ears, although ideally I would like just a tiny wee bit extra in the basement. It's a small compromise I'm prepared to make, but it could become a major issue for those who need to compensate for poor or unbalanced headphones.

Another minor annoyance is that the price does not include a charger or TV-out cable. All you get is the crappy ear buds and a flimsy and short USB cable. So, if you need to recharge away from the computer factor in the additional expense of a charger. (I got a nice white one in Woolies for £4).

At the price this is an unbeatable deal. Small issues surrounding the EQ settings don't detract from the listening experience, and the unit is fast, easy to use and will swallow most people's music collections with oodles of room left over for a few films or downloaded YouTube videos.
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on 1 October 2008
This is a great MP3/Video player with fantastic storage capacity but I would like to point out the new 120GB is not actually black - its more of a dark charcoal grey! I know as I already have a Classic 80GB which really is black, which is no big deal in many ways, although your nice black docking station/speakers will not actually match.
Having said that, the screen is fantastic, really clear and bright and although there are many 'experts' out there who say the sound quality is so-so, 'and not as good as my old IPod', I think it is fine and compares favorably with my ZEN Jukebox. It is really well made and finished, praise indeed from someone who resisted the IPod 'army' for some years - but the capacity and function of the Classic was difficult to resist when the ZEN packed in - and I'm happy with my choice.

However, if you want your music really loud the new IPod range will not provide - I don't have a problem with it but as many forums indicate the EU legislation to limit the volume is a problem for some.
I don't have any complaints about ITune software either, not the fastest but easy to use and neither do I have an ITune account. I rip or load my own mp3 files and get the covers for the coverflow system from Google or Wikipedia.
If you want an mp3 player which is a great design with huge storage capacity and good performance the IPod Black Classic 120GB is definitely recommended - just remember it is not actually black!
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on 19 February 2009
For those readers looking through these reviews to help decide whether or not to fork out £162 on this piece of equipment (as I did for weeks prior to taking the plunge) all I can say is go for it. This really is an impressive gadget. As other reviewers have said you really can carry your entire music collection around with you. The machine isn't perfect, the sound output level isn't high enough with most,but not all, discs. This problem can be addressed with a 'boostaroo' available on Amazon. Also if you take your music seriously then do yourself, and your treasured music collection, a favour by recording in a lossless format. There is no need to use the agressive compression of mp3 nowadays. I used mediamonkey (absolutely, totally recommended) to convert 140 cds in WAV form. Fantastic. I can still remember the days when we used to record from vinyl onto C60/90 cassettes.....
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on 13 October 2008
I've been considering buying an MP3 player for a while and the range of functionality of the Ipod attracted my attention every time - as well as the large hard drive. However by the time I'd decided to buy the 160GB model had gone out and the new 120GB model had come into the market. No matter, 120GB is still a lot of memory and even after several years my 250GB computer hard drive is well under a quarter full, so I decided to go ahead.

It's a lovely piece of kit. The screen is very clear though it does take finger marks rather readily - you'll probably need a screen protector though I found that buying a case wasn't necessary.

Now as to volume - I should say that I'm already severely deaf and have to use rather unusual hearing aids with a special headphone plugged into them. I do have perfect pitch and found that I can actually hear the music very well though I have to adjust the volume every time I switch the machine on in order to suit whatever's playing. I'm a Classical music person and anything that's piano or less I have to turn the volume up - but as soon as you get forte, I have to turn it down! I did try plugging the Ipod into my aging Sony hi fi and it worked very well though didn't produce as much volume as the hi fi's speakers do. However the hi fi itself is starting to skip tracks so once the CD has gone I can still play things using the Hi fi system by plugging the Ipod into it! I really like the way you can use the Ipod for different things like that.

The only charger supplied is via the USB cable so if you want to take your Ipod where you don't have computer access for charging you'll need to buy a USB adaptor. These cost about £10 so it's not really a big deal but I'd happily have paid an extra £10 or so to have it included in the box.

So far I've had no problems with Itunes or with syncing the Ipod although the computer decided to "hang" as it booted up the other day - just after installing Itunes. This might be worth keeping an eye on as it's a Windows XP machine. I should add that the Ipod charged up very quickly and that the charge seems to last very well.

I haven't yet tried the games or videos, but I can say that the player produces excellent quality sound and has had everything from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring to Purcell's Nymphs and Shepherds and Schubert's Fantasy in F Minor for 2 pianos thrown at it!! From that point of view I can certainly recommend it.
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on 3 December 2008
I bought this iPod to replace a broken 4GB nano which i also had too much music for. I was stuck between this model and a 16Gb new nano.In the end i decided on this for several reasons. Firstly it has a huge hard drive 120Gb will let you put pretty much everything you own there. I have 1800 songs, about 20 dvds and serveral other music videos and youtude downloads. It still has 88GBs left. Also it is better value for money than the nano. This costs abbout £20 more than a 16GB Nano and gives you just under 10x the storage space. If you want a iPod more as a functional item rather than a fashion accessory then buy one of these. Otherwise buy a nano they are also very good and well put together bits of kit as are all iPods. This is my 4th and i have played the hell out of every one and they still last for a long time.
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