I see it's on sale for $45. Might be worth trying it out?
I still do both. The only downside of the hardware for me is the clicking buttons (they are loud for my taste and therefore not good for playing when using the public transport to get to work). The library is less fine-tuned as the meta version, especially sound is rather complicated. But there are many nice games out there for it already.
I have a classic but i haven't time to program on it atm and i have so much to do on META... but classic is fine. Probably more easy for beginners with 2 colors graphics. For me Meta is the next step, a little more complex as you can do more things (but it's near nothing more complex), but the other advantage of the classic is the price if you don't know if you'll like to program, 45$ it's about 50% of the price of the META, so you can buy it and try if you like games and programming on it. If you like to program it, the trap is that you'll probably want META after ;)
I bought the Classic a week ago but was hoping to get the Meta as well when my pocket permits it. :)
I just got an email earlier that they're doing a holloween promo for 7 days. Buy a Meta and get a Classic for free. Darn! :( i should have just waited.