In October, Apple discontinued the iPod Classic. Do you think that made the iPod Classic worthless? Hardly. In fact, the iPod Classic is currently the most expensive iPod out there, commanding almost double its original shelf price. This makes me very glad that I picked up a backup iPod when I did. However, I’ve only got 15GB left. So I thought I would do a post on iPod Classic replacements. To me, the biggest drawback on all of these replacements is that they don’t have iTunes. Music is installed by dragging and dropping it on the device. They don’t support playlist, and I doubt they would move over my ratings and play counts from iTunes. Here’s what I found in looking for devices:
- Fiio. The Fiio X1 has no internal storage, but supports a microSD card up to 128GB (so add that to the price), and might support even larger when they are out. So so user interface. It’s sibling, the Fiio X5, can support up to 2 128GB cards — meaning up to 256GB of storage. Again, not the greatest user interface. The X1 is about $100 plus the storage cards; the X5 is pricier.
- Astell & Kern. The Astell&Kern products (from iRiver) both have large storage and great sound quality. The AK100 has 64GB internal, plus 128GB SD Card. The AK120 II has 128GB internal, plus 128GB SD Card. Both have a good user interface, but are pricey.
- iBasso. The iBasso DX 50 supports microSD cards up to 2TB. User interface seems reasonable.
- Cowon. The Cowon X7 still is hard-drive based, with up to 160GB of storage. Most of the other Cowon products have SD slots, although the maximum size supported isn’t stated.
As I said, the two drawbacks of the alternatives are price (the price of the player doesn’t include the SD card storage, making the overall price high), and the lack of a good music manager. You can move the music easy (but note that you’re moving MP3s or AACs, and these machines are designed for non-compressed music and high fidelity).