iPod v5

by Ian Harding

You may recall back in November of 2004 an article titled The Real Review. It was in Issue 8 Volume 4 and it was a review of the Apple iPod. The 4th generation one.

Well, it’s now just over a year later and I have here in my hands a brand spankin’ new 5th generation 30GB Apple iPod. Ok, not “brand spanking” new. I’ve had it for about a month or so now, but I still consider it new.

When it comes to expensive electronics, believe me, I treat them as if I gave birth to them. So when I first opened up the box and squinted at the pristine surface glare from the white object encased within, I knew I had a task ahead of me. That thought quickly passed as I recalled how quickly people said the surface of the iPod would scratch. I was prepared though. And so was Apple, for with the new iPod comes a snug little case just the right size to hold nothing more and nothing less than the gadget it came packaged with.

I was excited. The last portable media player I had ever owned was a Panasonic CD walkman back in ’97 or ’98. Let’s do a quick comparison shall we. One CD, up to maybe 18 tracks, two AA batteries that failed what seemed to be almost immediately, and a unit that skipped when slightly moved or even touched… compared to my new 30GB of solid hard drive space (up to 7,500 tracks) which is never supposed to skip, displays album art related to the track as it’s playing, can support photo archiving, and with a 4-5 hour battery life, can also hold up to 75 hours of video, ALL of which can be viewed on a 2.5-inch colour LCD. Damn yo. Anything that allows me to watch porn while sitting in the Marriott Starbucks gets a ‘W’ in my win column easily.

When I first touched the iPod, it was nice. Very thin, about the width of two thin CD jewel cases, and oh so smooth. I recalled a co-worker buying one about a year ago and I remembered how “perfect” the back of it was when he opened it for the first time. I made sure to take a good long look when I did the same with mine.

I was impressed by the overall appearance of it. It was small, kind of light, and the 2.5-inch, 320×240 LCD was smaller than I had originally thought. Must’ve been all the advertising that made it appear larger. It came with the famous white ear-buds that Apple so deviously created to identify iPod’ders easily, a USB connection cable, a dock adapter, and as I have already mentioned earlier, the case.

Now not being a fan of ear-bud headphones, I actually left the iPod untouched for about two weeks while I was back home for the holidays. I pulled it out once or twice to upload all my music to it (which by the way, I currently have 1265 songs and the status is 6.16GB used and 21.72GB available), but I didn’t want to open the ear-buds if I knew I wasn’t going to use them. I can hear you out there saying “How the hell do you buy a $400 piece of electronic and not use it right away?”. Well, I was going to wait until I found myself some quality earphones, but I eventually cracked at the pressure of wanting to try the damn thing out. Besides, I didn’t buy it, I got it for… free. So in the words of RealMoney’s high-strung host Jim Cramer, “BOO-YA!”. Not to rub it in. Anywho…

The sound quality is so far pretty good, but I imagine it would be better with qualified headphones. It comes equipped with everything from games for those who choose to play, a contact database, event calendar, notepad, a stopwatch, and even a screen lock in which I can set a four digit combination to defend my precious portable porn vids that I’ve got stored on there.

I haven’t really experimented much with the photo aspect of my iPod, as I don’t see much point in looking at a photo on an LCD no longer than a cigarette (at leat a video moves…). If you choose to do so, you can sync your iPod up with iPhoto and BAM, all your photos are now transportable and viewable on your iPod. As per the video aspect, well, for a mere $119CAN at Apple.ca, you can score yourself an AV Connection Kit so that you can connect your iPod to a television, monitor, or any display with the appropriate ports. I’m yet to try this out.

For me though, I saw the iPod as having one major acceptable use. Would I be able to use it on the road while driving? Would I be able to abolish the need for compact discs or even listening to the radio stations where popular musicians who are, in fact, mostly constructed of raging fucking pussies who ramble on about troubled lives? That was my goal, and after reading way too many car audio forums online, I finally came to the conclusion that there were three distinct ways to setup your iPod in the car. They are as follows:

  1. “The costly, but effective way” – Get your hands on a Neo iOn iPod Adapter. At around $200CAN for one of these gizmos (of which a couple of others are available from other manufacturers such as Alpine, JVC, and even BMW has one), you can connect your iPod to any car stereo that has a CD changer port. Just tuck the iPod away in the glove box and you control everything via the stereo. You see all the track information on the stereo display and never have to worry about fiddling with cables or worrying about your iPod going for a ride when you hit the breaks. Did I mention it also charges your iPod while its connected?
  2. “The sketchy FM way” – There are a couple of different ways to utilize the use of your iPod in the car without dropping 100s of dollars on an adapter. First, there is the Griffin SmartDeck Cassette Adapter which costs $39.95CAN through the Apple store, but who the hell has a tape deck these days anyway? Then there is the Griffin iTrip LCD FM Transmitter, which for $10 more eliminates a wire but can add a headache. You set your stereo’s FM receiver to the same frequency as the iTrip and it plays your head-banging, instigational road-rage music through your car radio. I hear this method is “sketchy” though as the signal can be fuzzy if you are in a popular location, and you still need a way to charge the iPod, so screw this idea. There is now, however, the Griffin RoadTrip FM Transmitter and Charger, which plugs directly into the power outlet of your vehicle and allows you to connect the iPod to the transmitter dock where it will charge your iPod while transmitting the FM signal, but it is still an FM transmitter, so this method is just as bad as the previous. Not to mention the fact that when you make a turn, the whole get-up turns within the power outlet and falls over. LAME.
  3. “The aftermarket way” – Finally there is the cheapest method, in which I personally have chosen to go with (please note that this method is only considered “the cheapest” if you currently own an aftermarket head unit with an audio-in port. I have a JVC KD-SX780 which has the port directly on the front of the unit). I simply connect my iPod to my head unit with a “stereo-mini to stereo-mini” cable and BAM, direct music from my iPod to my stereo. No FM signals to fuss with. The only downside is that I can only control the music with the iPod itself. Now, I currently have no method of charging my iPod while driving, but I don’t drive long enough to need one as the iPod currently goes about 5 hours on a single battery charge anyway. We’ll see how long THAT lasts. If I really needed to, I could pick up an XtremeMac Car Charger, which would only make my cost total about $30-$35CAN anyway.

And so there you have it. So far I have had zero problems with my 30GB 5th generation iPod and I hope to keep it that way. I plan to investigate the video aspect in greater detail as I continue to learn more. If only I could afford an LCD for my Grand Cherokee, then my passengers could watch… uhh… cartoons (yeah, that’s it).

For being my second portable media player ever and for allowing me to watch videos, preview and archive photos, keep track of calendar events, and time myself taking a leak in the morning before work, I have to go ahead and give the 30GB 5th generation iPod an A minus.

*It gets the minus because I hate the fact that you can only add music to it through iTunes. Screw you iTunes!

  • iPod v5
  • by Ian Harding
  • Published on February 1st, 2006

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