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The first style icon of the new millennium


Amazing amount of material that can be carried around in one place, reliable

Desirable to thieves !  Wheel can be a bit fiddly initially

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Sound Quality

Ease of Use

Look & Design

Range of Features

Value for Money

Video QualityHelpful / Easy to Follow


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I have never been one of those described by marketing psychologists as an early adopter. Equally, I am invariably wary of products which seem to put style above substance. As a result, I was a late convert to the virtues of Apple's iPod, one of the first technological and style icons of the new millennium. However, just over a year ago, I bought an 80Gb iPod, on which I listened to predominantly audiobooks, radio podcasts and spoken word, mainly in the car on the regular long journeys I have to undertake for work.

Then last week when on holiday in the UK, car thieves stole my iPod, I had no hesitation in seeking to replace what had by now become an essential part of my car. A cursory glance at the apple website showed me that that the 160Gb classic iPod was cheaper than the amount I paid 13 months ago for my 80Gb, so I now have the newer version.

For those who have not yet succumbed to the charms of an iPod, this is a small device that allows a vast amount of audio files to be stored and played. The real genius of the iPod for me lies in the way it compresses the audio files so that you can fit literally days and days of content into a small hard disk. For instance, an unabridged Agatha Christie would take 6 CDs, but now I can store huge numbers of audiobooks, which barely make a dent in the memory capacity of the iPod.

A second benefit, which I only really discovered this week, is that the loss of your iPod doesn't necessarily entail the loss of all your music. My iTunes library was safely on my computer back in Belgium, and could easily be 'synced" (transferred) to the new iPod, including the different playlists that I had saved.

My classic 160 Gb iPod is a thin, rectangular device, measuring 104mm x 62mm x14mm, and weighing 162g, with a shiny metallic back casing and matt black front. (My old 80 Gb had a shiny black case on the front). On the front at the top, there is a 2.5inch LCD screen, with an LED backlight, while the lower half is dominated by a wheel. This wheel is one of the style innovations, and is the means by which you navigate to the various items that you have copied to your iPod, and also is used to set volume levels. Initially, I found this quite fiddly, and I still favour a keyboard to this, but it fits in the modern, style image that the iPod has.


The audio files, normally audio on CDs, are copied into your iTunes library, using the iTunes software that can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple website. The software also has a short cut to the iTunes store, from which you can buy individual songs to download, as well as whole albums. I also use this to subscribe to podcasts where I get a number of weekly radio programmes that I'm interested in. The software allows you to draw up your own playlists, which saves you from having to search for individual tracks that you regularly listen to from different albums.

Once you have copied the files into your iTunes library, and defined your own playlists, you connect the iPod through a lead into the USB port of your computer (supplied with the iPod) and synchronise the content of your library your iPod. You can do this manually if you do not want the whole of your library, or it will do it automatically. This is very straightforward, although if you have a lot of files, it is not very quick even with a USB2.0 port. To illustrate this, when syncing my library with my new iPod, it took over 40 minutes to transfer the files. Granted I had over 16Gb of files stored, and this is hopefully a one-off exercise.

The iPod also comes with the trademark white iPod earphones, which are the small in-ear variety, rather than the over-the-head headphones I grew up with, and which came with the old Sony walkman. I don't like these as I find them uncomfortable, and I generally listen either in the car through a small transmitter device that plays on the car's radio, or I use a docking station on my desk, with speakers.

To choose a song, you can select your track by artist, album, genre, composer or one of an number of other categories. When selected, the screen shows how long the track is both by means of a progress bar and counting time elapsed and time remaining. The new interface shows the album artwork on the left (or an icon of a musical note) and the title of the song, the album and the name of the artist on the right. If it is part of an album or a playlist, it also displays which number track it is, eg 3 of 9. At the end of the album or playlist, the iPod goes back to the main menu and into standby mode automatically.


According to the promotional material with the iPod, the battery lasts between 35-40 hours of normal usage. The charger is not included, and costs £19 from the apple store, but can be found much cheaper through amazon market place. Both my car unit and desktop speakers charge the iPod as it plays, and when the iPod is connected to your computer it is also being charged.


This is a very fine piece of kit. I was very satisfied with my 80Gb iPod, and had no problems during the 13 months I had it. The new 160 Gb version has all the virtues of the previous 80 Gb, plus a few new features that I like. These include "cover flow", where you can scroll through the pictures of the album covers in your library, and when you select one, shows the track list and times for each song. Another new feature is that you can have the time displayed at the top of the screen alongside the battery level indicator.

The screen display is clear and generally easy to follow. From the top menu, you can access extras. These include alarm, stopwatch and games (a quiz, solitaire) and Vortex, although I can't imagine people make a decision on buying an iPod on the basis of these features.

The iPod also allows you to watch videos in MP4 format, and view pictures, though I have not used either of these options so far.

This 160 Gb iPod Classic is available on amazon for £205, although you can probably get it cheaper shopping around, or directly from the US.

In summary, the iPod has become an essential companion when I'm in the car, such that I seldom listen to the car radio anymore. It is small, light yet holds an unbelievable amount of material - I have 28 audiobooks on it, which would equate to over 250 normal CDs, plus the music and radio broadcasts. So the iPod is a great gadget even for old fuddy-duddies like me who like opera, country and western and radio 4, as well as trendy young people, with their cacophonous, tuneless 'music' (that makes me sound so old). I would recommend it, although, I have more memory than I could possibly use, until I start putting videos and photos on it.

Taken from amazon.co.uk

Dimensions (WxDxH): 6.2 cm x 1.4 cm x 10.4 cm
Weight: 162 g
Sound Output Mode: Stereo
Equaliser: Digital graphic
Supported Digital Audio Standards: WAV, AAC, AIFF, Audible, MP3, Apple Lossless
Supported Digital Video Standards: MOV, MPEG-4, H.264
Digital Photo Playback: Yes
Digital Video Playback: Yes
Built-in Display: Colour - 320 x 240 - 2.5" - LCD
Built-in clock: Yes, alarm, stopwatch
Digital Storage Media: Hard disc drive - built-in
Capacity: 160 GB
Headphones: Headphones - binaural - ear-bud - stereo
PC Interface Supported: Hi-Speed USB
Battery: Player - rechargeable - Lithium Ion
Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year warranty
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Comments about this review »

suehome 23.02.2009 20:35

The capacity of this gadget is amazing, nicely reviewed...........Sue

martinwi 15.03.2008 20:59

A great review. Most interesting.

frankiecesca 04.03.2008 14:38

Great review and well deserved E from me! x

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Product Information »

Manufacturer's product description

Decisions, decisions. Who needs 'em? Why should you have to choose what to put on your iPod? With a large storage c...


MPN MB150ZO/A, MB150LL/A, MC293QB/A-5PK, MC297QB/A-5PK, MC297QS/A, MB145LL/A, MC293B/A, MB145, MB145ZP/A, MB145ZO/A, MB145ZG/A, MB150ZP/A, MC297QG/A, MC293QG/A, MC297ZD/A, MC297QB/A, MB150, MB150ZG/A, MC293ZD/A, MC293QB/A, MC297LL/A, MC293LL/A, MC297QL/A
Product Type Digital player
Digital Player Type Hard drive based

Audio system

HDD 160 GB
Sound Output Mode Stereo
Equaliser Yes

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This review of Apple iPod classic MB150ZO/A 160 GB 6th Generation has been rated:

"exceptional" by (6%):

  1. frankiecesca
  2. plod591
  3. shaaza

and a further member

"very helpful" by (94%):

  1. suehome
  2. BristolBud
  3. ilusvm

and 55 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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