Pros: battery life, support for wide range of file types, storage space for everything
Cons: not the best sound quality, scratches easily, chunky, dont bother with the EQ
Just some background stuff before the review...this is the second source i have owned dedicated to music (i.e not listening to music off my iphone) so i don't have much experience with high end sources. all impressions were formed listening to 320kbps mp3 or lossless rips on the eytomic hf5s unamped across a wide range of music genres, so here goes.
i bought this after reading through a bunch of reviews on headfi and have been using it for quite some time, switching between this and my old iphone 4, which i pretty much use only for music and videos, and (very occasionally) my galaxy ace 3, so there will be some comparisons where i can provide them.
the first thing you'll notice about the classic is its weight, at 140g, this thing is hefty, so forget about bringing it on trips to the gym, unless you dont mind lugging around something that feels like a paperweight. the back is a very eye catching silver chrome, which i loved at first. however, it scratches incredibly easily, even taking it out of the pouch i keep it in left a mark from the zipper, so be prepared to buy a protective case for it, unless you dont mind a severely scratched back. Aside from that though, this thing is pretty sturdy, holding up daily trips to and from school, as well as all the time spent in my bag during the day, so i expect it will keep on working for some time unless i drop it or something.
This ipod is probably one of the most common players available, and its easy to see why. for under $300, it performs pretty well. Without EQ on, it complements my rather analytical hf5s very well, with no significant over-emphasis on any frequency, making it ideal for listening to music across a wide range of genres. however, the EQ, at least i my opinion, is quite rubbish; having played around with all the setting, the EQ settings fail to optimize the classic to play any kind of music, even the one the setting was designed for, making the listening experience very fatiguing. Compared to my iphone 4 (which has a cirrus DAC), the classic lack a bit of shine in the higher frequencies, which made the music that much less lifeless, but the difference is small. Overall, while the ipod cannot possibly compete with players like the fiio x5 or some of the iBasso players, it will do its job well for the majority of music listeners, which i guess was its original purpose anyway.
battery life on this thing is really good, although it isn't likely to last the 36 hours apple claims it does, but i have never run out of battery when using this thing, even though i use it a good 2-3 hours every day. you can watch video on it, but the screen quality and size are far below any of the smartphones that are available, so you probably wont make much use of it as a video player. the click wheel also takes some getting used to, especially for me coming from listening to music on a phone, and does make searching for a particular song more troublesome than on a touchscreen. finally, and perhaps most importantly, this thing has the storage space for pretty much your entire music library, with about 150+ gb of storage (not counting the space already taken up by apple's pre installed programs) to use. I have full movements from symphonies stored in lossless and 320kbps, plus a whole bunch of other songs, and i still have plenty of space left.
the classic is a good DAP for everyday use and provides decent sound quality. portability might be an issue for those without deep pockets of bags to place the player in due to its size, but it is manageable most of the time. the storage space is a big draw, as is the ease of the itunes system (which you are forced to use), but i did have trouble, and still do, with syncing my ipod to my pc, although that might just be an isolated case; and you can always use 64gb or 128gb sd cards for other players with micro-sd slots. so while i do like the classic, i might not recommend it for those with phones with decent DAC chips, or people with slightly bigger budgets who can go for fiio or something like that, and in the end, the classic is simply the epitome of an average music player-good at what it does, but not the best