The new 160GB iPod Classic is easily Apple Inc.'s best iPod to date, and out of all of the iPods that I own, this is my favorite.
First, the capacity of this iPod is simply unbeatable. I've yet to see another portable media player that can match the iPod Classic in capacity. I have a huge music library, and it's nice to be able to carry every song that I own on my person at all times. What's more, thanks to the iPod Classic's capacity, I also have room to carry a few videos with me, and some of my photos. If you don't like having to pick which songs to load onto your portable media player, the iPod Classic is the way to go.
The second thing that I love about this iPod can be summed up in two words: it works. The 160GB iPod Classic that was introduced in 2007 was extremely buggy, had a non-responsive Clickwheel on many units, crashed frequently, and required a hit-and-miss firmware update to stop the hard drive from spinning even when the device was "off," which often lead to dead batteries. All of these problems left the 2007 160GB iPod Classic warming shelves and earning it the infamous "honor" of being the "worst selling iPod ever," according to Apple. I'm pleased to say that the new 160GB iPod Classic released earlier this month has virtually none of these problems. There's no "spinning hard drive bug," the Clickwheel is incredibly responsive, and the device isn't crash-prone. While it's true that many of these issues were fixed with last year's iPod Classic, there hasn't been a truly functional 160GB model until now. To put it bluntly, this is the iPod that Apple should've released in 2007.
Another thing that I really like about this iPod, and the iPod Classic in general, is it's ability to double as an external hard drive. While I believe that the iPod Nano is also capable of this, the only iPod that really has enough space to function as an external hard drive is the iPod Classic. The hard drive functionality admittedly reduces the number of devices I have to carry on me at any given time. If you regularly work with large files and are considering a new iPod, the iPod Classic is the way to go, plain and simple.
So what are the caveats? Well for starters, as with every other iPod Classic, this is a hard-drive (rather than flash-memory) based device. As a result, it has moving parts which make it unsuitable for running or any physical activity that exerts mechanical shock onto the iPod. Unless you exercise constantly with your iPod though, this really shouldn't be an issue. The only other caveat, which is more of personal taste than an actual flaw, that I can find, is that Apple has not made any cosmetic changes to this device since they introduced it in 2007. Now don't get me wrong, the point of an iPod "Classic," is to retain the "Classic" design, but after seeing how much better a black Clickwheel looks on the silver iPod Nano, I'd have thought that Apple would have given the silver iPod Classic a black Clickwheel as well. However, I admit that this is entirely my personal preference and not a "flaw" per se. I've put a quick list of pros and cons together, which can be seen below:
Pros: Largest iPod Capacity-wise, long battery life, "Genius" feature, excellent value for your money, well-built, doubles as an external hard drive, and improvements to Cover Flow.
Cons: Hard Drive (rather than Flash memory) based storage medium; device is cosmetically identical to the 2007 80GB model. (I still don't understand why Apple hasn't colored the Clickwheel black on the silver model to match the iPod Nano.)
Finally, I would highly recommend this product, which is why it gets five stars from me. I don't like the iPod Nano; it's too small for my hands, and the screen is too small for my eyes. While the iPod Touch may have app store access and Wi-Fi, I find it to be a really gimmicky device, that makes for a poor portable media player, (Apple was wise to position it as a handheld game system,) and is really an "iPhone without a phone." In contrast, the iPod Classic is an excellent portable media player, it has an excellent interface, and it only costs $249 dollars. To put things in perspective, the 2009 160GB iPod Classic costs $70 dollars more than a 16GB iPod Nano, and $150 dollars less than a 64GB iPod Touch. All in all, I highly recommend this product.