Spending time reminiscing about MP3 players of the past certainly got me in the mood to use one again. I actually spent a lot of time researching the best (and most affordable) modern devices, but my mind kept wandering back to the iPod Classic. After realizing that I could pick up a refurbished iPod on eBay for $40 that would easily hold all of my music, I decided that would be better as an impulse purchase than the $200 Sony Walkman that I had been eying.
A week later, and a very small package came in the mail with the unit, a charger, and earbuds. The iPod in question is the 5th Generation, AKA the iPod Video, so named for its ability to play movies and TV shows in addition to tunes.
What startled me is that I was expecting a much chunkier device — probably memories of the 3rd generation there in my head. The 2005 iPod is not that fat at all, maybe a little thinner than my iPhone with the battery case attached that I always carry around. Another surprise came when I discovered that the iPod synced up just fine with the modern version of iTunes. Now, I will never defend iTunes — it’s such a clunky and annoying app — but that’s nice that I didn’t have to research workarounds just to get music on the iPod. About a half-hour later, my core library of 4,500 tracks was loaded up, and I could just sit back and fiddle with it.
It was truly a wonderful trip back to the past, and I marveled over how elegant the click wheel functions here. Compared to the multitude of options with a smartphone, there’s so little to actually do here — adjust settings, scroll through music, play a trio of games — but really, the whole point is to focus down on just music. I think that’s the real appeal of going back to single-use devices, a kind of purity in what you use them for. I do enjoy reading on my Kindle more than, say, my phone or tablet, and here I just like that it’s all about music and nothing else.
My four-year-old son became fascinated with it as well. When he saw me listening to it on the couch, he sidled up to me and I popped one of the earbuds into his ear so we could enjoy the same music. Very quickly, he took the iPod from me and became obsessed with turning the volume up and down. I guess it’s that heady burst of control?
I can tell you that there’s been no buyer’s regret from me on this. It’s not something I’m using super-frequently, but it is really nice for when I’m just reading, or going for an evening walk, or knocking off at the end of the day. I know that I could get it modded out — maybe with a solid state drive and better software — but I’m happy to know that it works perfectly fine as it is right now.