This review appears in the January 2007 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents. If you'd like to read more about Apple's latest music players, take a look at our reviews of the new iPod shuffle and the second-generation iPod nano.

Music-player manufacturers have been concentrating on the lowish-capacity end of the market lately – new models typically feature between 1GB and 8GB of space. But the latest video iPod bucks that trend by piling on the bytes.

This version can hold a massive 80GB, the equivalent of up to 20,000 songs (in 128kbps AAC format) or 100 hours of video. You can also buy a more modest 30GB model, although even that is an impressive capacity in comparison with the competition.

As far as music playback is concerned, not a lot has changed. The iPod remains an excellent MP3 player, and its sound quality continues to be among the best around, although we did notice a slight hiss when listening to the iPod through a pair of high-end headphones. The latest version adds gapless playback, which eliminates the pauses between tracks.

Apple's familiar wheel lets you navigate your library with ease, scrolling through individual items and then through letters of the alphabet as you accelerate. A new search feature allows you to select a few letters to pick out a song, artist, or album, which struck us as a good idea, given the device's large capacity. Unfortunately it proved somewhat tedious in practice, and we suspect that the average user might well stick to the traditional method of selecting songs.

The screens on the older iPods were always rather disappointing, so we're pleased to report that the enhanced 2.5in 320x240 screen on this version looks great. Videos were very watchable on the display, and the colours are noticeably brighter – 60 percent brighter, according to Apple.

Battery life has also improved: we managed almost 20 hours of music playback.

Apple iPod 5G 80GB: Specs

  • Digital audio player
  • 80GB capacity (20,000 songs)
  • 2.5in colour display
  • USB dock and cable
  • claimed battery life 20 hours
  • charge time about 4 hours
  • H.264 video up to 1.5Mbps
  • 640x480/30fps
  • 62x14x104mm
  • 157g
  • Digital audio player
  • 80GB capacity (20,000 songs)
  • 2.5in colour display
  • USB dock and cable
  • claimed battery life 20 hours
  • charge time about 4 hours
  • H.264 video up to 1.5Mbps
  • 640x480/30fps
  • 62x14x104mm
  • 157g

OUR VERDICT

Once again a new iPod range looks set to cruise past the competition. With its huge capacity, search functionality and brighter screen, it’s clear that the latest edition of the iPod is about as good as it gets in this market.

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