The 160GB iPod classic (Black) from Apple is the stalwart anchor of the iPod line. Offering the most storage of any iPod, the hard drive-based classic puts up to 40,000 songs, 200 hours of video, or 25,000 photos into your pocket. The classic features a bright 2.5" LCD screen, which displays album artwork and song information when playing music. You'll be able to navigate through music using a standard playlist menu, or through the gorgeous Cover Flow system, which displays a virtual wall of your digital album covers on the iPod's color screen.
Navigation is achieved using the venerable Click Wheel interface, which allows you to scroll through music and playlists by rotating your finger across its smooth surface. Simply click one of the 5 controls -- the unlabeled center button, Play/Pause in the 6 o'clock position, Previous at 9 o'clock, Next at 3 o'clock, and Menu at 12 o'clock -- to work your way through the intuitive menu system. To turn the device off, simply hold play for a few seconds. A physical "Hold" switch is located on the top of the device, allowing you to lock the controls to prevent an accidental song change or volume adjustment.
The iPod works with Apple's iTunes software, included with every Mac and available as a free download for Windows, to manage your music library. In addition to syncing your music library between your computer and portable device, iTunes syncs your calendars, contacts, notes, and games.
Like most current iPods, the classic connects to a computer and other peripheral devices using the Dock connector. This opens it up for use with a world of peripherals, including speaker docks, Bluetooth headphone adapters, and more. It includes a Dock to USB cable, allowing you to sync and charge the device with your Mac or PC.
The integrated battery can provide up to 36 hours of audio playback, or 6 hours of video playback, on a single charge. You'll be able to charge the device to 80% capacity in as little as 2 hours, and to full capacity in only 4 hours.
The iPod classic isn't just a media player. If you delve into its "Extras" menu, you will find that it sports the aforementioned calendar, contact list, notes, and games. It ships free with 3 games -- Vortex, iQuiz, and Klondike solitaire -- with more games available for purchase in iTunes. You can also set the iPod's time zone and create custom alarms for yourself. A sleep timer is available, allowing you to automatically turn the iPod off after a certain amount of time has passed -- as little as 15 minutes or as much as 2 hours. You'll also be able to access a stopwatch function, perfect for timing steeping time for the perfect cup of tea, and a screen lock function to prevent unauthorized access.
The Settings menu allows you to control all aspects of your iPod's functionality. You'll be able to use it to control shuffle and repeat functions, customize what items appear on menus, and adjust playback speed of audio books, perfect for those times when you only have a few hours of time to finish listening to the audio version of Anna Karenina.
The Settings menu also allows you to adjust the playback EQ, set the date and time, and control whether or not the iPod makes an audible 'click' while scrolling. You can also adjust music sorting order, LCD brightness, and set a volume limit, ensuring that you don't accidentally blow out your eardrums by setting the volume too high.