Price paid: $ 130
Purchased from: Amazon.com
Sound — 9
Tested it through an AKG K55 headphones and a dB technologies powered speaker (FRFR). I noticed that the levels (through the headphones) were too low and the patches were sounding weak. So I turned it up full (doesnt't seem to have enough headroom there. Unless you are connecting it to an amp you are going to max the volume knob way to fast and still be left wanting more) and the POD came to life! Full marks here to Line6 here. A good amp changes it's character as you turn it up, getting more growl and more bite and also better dynamics. The moment I maxed the volume I was immersed in a smorgasboard of tones. Some very good distortions there which sound better when coupled with the built in modulations. haven't explored the clean tones much (like I told you. There are 300 of them patches to listen and understand) but at first glance it sounds that it is amp modeling the POD will excel at (which is the exact reason I bought this thing. I am planning to loop it with my GT8 since amp sims on that are not that good). Tweaking isnt very extensive unless you plug it in to a comp and access the hidden features via the software (Vyzex). That really multiplies the Pocket POD by a factor of 10. Upto 4/5 parameters per effect and each one is extremely responsive. Minus the software you may get disappointed with the POD and be tempted to return it. My advice: don't! If you compare it with other modellers in the price range (like the Zoom, DigiTech RP series), I think it just blows them away. I have already come up with some neat sounding riffs and bars which might end up in some self-compositions. And all this without needing to get out of the bed!
Overall Impression — 8
Full marks to the tone. Respect it's capability as a practise tool and you wont be disappointed. Though judging it's quality of sound I am sure that it will fit in well in a gig as well. Quality of construction and manual/support information seems to be a bit lacking but guess I can Live with it. My guess is that Line6 focused on getting the product out first and will be adding support on an ongoing basis. But as of now. I think that the pocket POD totally does justice to it's price and the legendary POD tones.
Reliability & Durability — 5
The build quality is a little disappointing as are the knobs and the 4-way switch. They shift around in their place and feel cheap. Dunno how long they will last. Also the color being shown around everywhere on the net is different from the real thing, and that comes as another surprise. The body is not the rich red color that you see here but is, instead, a cheap plastic maroonish-red. So first impressions definitely aren't good. Battery consumption is very fast and I exhausted the supplied batteries in about 3-4 hours. So if you are planning to take it for a long Drive keep some extra catridges handy. I think I'll be using a power adaptor which the manual specifies as the Line 6 DC-1. A quick search on musiciansfriend.com revealed the power ratings of the adapter (which to my surpruse is totally missing in all the manuals that Line 6 provides, whether offline or online).
Ease of Use — 6
Line 6 assumed that every user will have access to the internet and a printer, so the real manual with the all details is not included (and neither is a power adapter, which as I realised is a necessity with this battery hungry beast). What we find inside is a small booklet which just skims over the surface while explaining features. There is no list of the patches included so you are left to browse through them one by one! How silly is that Line 6? There are 300 patches for chrissake and they aren't even all under the same category. You are navigating left and right and down and up and it's such a mess after some time to remember where which one was. Why couldn't they just include a small sheet with a tree like view to know the layout of patches? Well, the detailed manual I found on the net but the list of patches (with the effect settings) is still a mystery. So guess, on user friendliness for a new user, the POD is a big thumbs down! I wonder how many users will actually return this thing because of poor navigation. Huge loss for Line6 there!