Apple iPod touch 16GB Other iPods

IPod classic 160GB ($349)

The key selling point of the latest traditional-style iPod should be quite obvious: an available 160-GB hard-disk drive within its still-slim all-metal housing. Yes, that's quadruple the capacity of the original Apple TV I reviewed in the July 2007 issue—a far larger, living-room device. And keep in mind that all of the files remain at their original full bit rate on both devices. The iPod classic can also connect to a home theater via any number of remote-controlled docking stations or even a simple audio/video adapter cable for the proprietary does-all iPod connection. Syncing all of my audio and video via iTunes was an overnight affair. A few gigs of my full-quality photos were next, then all of my wife's purchased tracks—then her best friend's. I wound up loading anything worthwhile I could find—over 9,000 songs, dozens of hours of videos, more than 500 podcasts—and it totaled out at about 100 GB, which still left more than 40 GB of usable empty space on the hard drive. When you enable Disk Use in the Settings menu, you can also use the classic as a portable storage hard disk, like a thumb drive only with a much higher capacity.

Apple has enhanced the graphical user interface with artwork and motion, plus the option of Cover Flow. The screen is a familiar 2.5-inch 320-by-240 LCD with an LED backlight. It's enjoyably bright and sharp. The all-metal housing features an anodized-aluminum front (matte-finish black or silver) and a shiny stainless-steel back. This form factor also accommodates a longer-life battery than the 3-millimeter-thinner 80-GB model; it easily played three full-length movies off a charge in my tests, a previously unthinkable feat. Barely thicker than my fourth-generation 30-GB iPod with video, the classic is compatible with many of the same accessories, including a fitted leather DLO case I've grown rather fond of. With the highest-capacity hard drive and the battery life to back it up, this is clearly the best classic-design iPod yet.

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