iPod Classic - is it Still Worth Buying?

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After Apple quietly ushered the iconic MP3 player into retirement, its value immediately shot up as aficionados rushed to get their hands on one. But in the age of all-singing smartphones, why the clamour?
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The Disappearance

 In October 2014, it was the disappearance of a product from Apple’s website, rather than the addition of a new one, that caused a sudden flurry of interest among the company’s fans. The venerable iPod Classic, the veteran MP3 player that helped to change the way the world buys and listens to music, was no longer available. 

Almost immediately, its price skyrocketed to anywhere up to £500 as it became an instant collector’s item. Today, you can pick up an iPod Classic for much less.

The question is, should you consider buying one? Your smartphone and tablet are both very capable music players, and your pockets are probably full of gadgets anyway. So why bother with something that feels a little old-fashioned in today’s ever-connected world?
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More than 40,000 Songs?

The 160GB iPod Classic has enough on-board storage for some 40,000 tracks. That’s roughly 4,000 albums in your pocket at any one time and ready to listen to wherever you are – far bigger than most people’s music collection.

Finding the time to transfer your entire CD library to a laptop and then onto the iPod Classic is another matter, of course. But if rifling through your record collection, and remembering where you bought each album and why, brings you as much satisfaction as listening to the music itself, there’s little to rival Apple’s device.
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Paying for Your Own Music

Music streaming services like Spotify and even Apple’s own Apple Radio may offer millions of songs on demand.

But you’ve already paid for your CDs and MP3 albums – so why fork out again when there’s a good chance you already have the original buried in your iTunes library?
 
Although around £10 per month to subscribe to some services doesn’t seem like a lot, in today’s music industry that would buy you two or even three CDs per month. If you’re someone who enjoys listening to whole albums rather than individual tracks, two or three CDs each month is likely more than enough. 
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CD-Quality Audio

Mainstream music streaming services compress MP3 files in order to squeeze them through the internet and onto your device.

That means the sound quality is nowhere near that offered by CDs, with bass and treble frequencies sounding shallow and tinny, especially through high-end speakers or headphones. Spotify, for instance, tops out at 320kbps for its streaming – fine if you’re on the move, but it’s a less rewarding experience if you fancy an in-depth session with your favourite band’s latest offering.
 
If you’re after lossless audio quality in your pocket, your best bet is either a premium streaming service such as Tidal, or selecting the highest, CD-quality bit rate when you transfer your music to an iPod Classic. The former costs £20 per month, the latter… well, did we mention that you’ve already paid for your CD collection?
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Mobile Data Doesn't Matter

Going on holiday? Then making sure you have an MP3 player loaded with locally stored music means you won’t have to pay exorbitant data charges to listen to sunny tunes.

While your mobile device probably offers you enough data usage each month to stream music as you like at home, head abroad and that carefree listening suddenly gets lumbered with a huge price tag. After all, Europe is the most competitive market in the world when it comes to roaming data charges, and even something as benign as checking Google Maps becomes a costly exercise.
 
When you can’t decide what you might want to listen to beside the pool, you might as well take everything – something that’s easily possible with the iPod Classic. And you won’t have to worry about a huge bill when you get home.
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More Focused Listening

No matter how much you love music, sometimes the temptation to flit between tracks, albums, artists and genres becomes too much to resist when you’re logged into a music streaming site or app.

Instead of listening to the flow of an album from start to finish, you realise you’re puzzling over the words of some French hip hop when you meant to take in epic guitar wizardry.
 
There’s no guarantee that listening to your music through an iPod Classic will stop you jumping from track to track, but at least it’ll be another in your collection. And you won’t be bombarded with unhelpful recommendations, either.   
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