Monday, July 28, 2008

The iPod Nano

For this review, I have borrowed my daughter's Nano 4g while she is away at a friend's house. She received the green-ish colored one just right of center in the image above. (image courtesy of Apple Computer Inc.).

The Nano is a much smaller iPod, but with a sizable screen. It's very thin and even more portable than my iPod Video Classic 30g.

The Nano's dimensions are: 3.5 x 1.6 x 0.27 inches (8.9 x 4.1 x .7 cm).

She just carries it with her effortlessly wherever she goes, tucking it into pocket or purse, and the earphone wires are long enough to reach her ears while walking about or when seated.

If 'TV out' isn't important to you, or you don't care about playing podcasts back to back without fiddling with the ipod, then I'm sure you'll still love the new 4g nano. Unfortunately, that feature requires the purchase of a new cable which costs 50 bucks, as the old AV cables don't work.

The new cables connect through the docking port, not through the headphone input. Of course this is not discovered till you buy the product and the old AV cable. Not only do you now need a new cable, but you will have some difficulty locating the new cable.

You will ultimately need to order it directly from the iTunes store. Perhaps someday soon, 3rd party cables will be made for one-third the cost of the new AV cable made by Apple, but if you want the video-out feature now, be prepared to spend an additional $50.00! Ouch!

My daughter likes the video feature, we have installed one full-length, movie, and with the correct encoder utilized to convert the DVD (mpeg-2 DVD to .mv4), the image and sound quality are vivid, clean, and amazingly clever.

The DVD movie was 4.9-gigabytes, and the encoder reduced this to 1-gigabyte for importing to the Nano. So you could nearly load enough movies or TV shows onto your Nano to get you from California to New York without the usual airline-provided, watch what we offer, 'entertainment'.

All iPods excepting the iPod Shuffle, have the effortless content navigation interface, the 'Scroll-Wheel', and selecting and sorting through music or movies is simple. The Nano, since it has a color screen, also supports importing digital photos, and creating a slide-show or selecting individual photos. Be sure to name your photos prior to importing so you can locate them easily.

One issue with the Nano was playing 'podcasts' back-to-back. Podcasts have been moved to the 'root-menu' on the Nano, so you need to be sure to set the 'shuffle' setting to OFF. If shuffle is set to 'off'' podcasts play sequencially without touching the iPod.

The Nano is a great addition to the Apple iPod product line. Less expensive, and versatile enough for any age of user. Amazon is currently offering the $149.00 list price Nano 4g for $138.54, shipping included.

One other issue is that of compatibility with some third-party iPod accessories. I'd recommend that if you have the 4g nano, that you test it carefully in the store with any product that claims to be 2g or 3g nano compatible, before you buy and make sure the features you care about actually work.

The Timex Ironman watch which features wireless controls for the ipod, didn't work with the 3g. (This may have been resolved with the Nano 4g and newer software?).

Also the iHome alarm clock reportedly had some glitches when used with the 3g Nano.

The Nano is a great addition to the Apple iPod product line. Less expensive than the iTouch or classic, and versatile enough for any age of user. is currently offering the $149.00 list price Nano 4g for $138.54, shipping included.

Next up for review, will be a cool accessory for the recording musician and live music mixing engineers. An integrated mixer, with iPod dock for direct recording to iPod in 44.1 KHz CD-quality!

Thank you for reading my review of the Nano, and please leave me a comment below!

Respectfully, Nicholas

Friday, July 25, 2008

iPod Reviews!

Welcome to the iPod Review Blog! I created this blog to review iPods, both legacy models, and the latest ones. I will also discuss and review iTunes, and some of the third-party iPod Software and cool accessories.

The iPod revolutionized mobile music, by providing a simple navigation-wheel interface, great features, and exceptional reliability. The iTunes interface also is easy to learn and update s are provided over the internet through the iTunes store.

Apples advertising appealed to all ages, and the iPod was a smash hit. Sales do not appear to be slowing down at all with the introduction(s) of the ITouch, Nano, and Shuffle.

I am currently using the 30GB iPod Classic-Video Version 5g, (pictured above) , handed down from my teenager, when she received a new iPod Nano for a gift. Previous to this her friend had attempted to remove the internal battery which would no longer hold a charge, but he broke the two tiny, hair-thin battery connection pins!

After consulting with the Apple Geniuses at the Apple Store, I decided on an alternative strategy. I purchased the iRecharge external battery pack. The iRecharge replaces the internal battery when it fails, (they do eventually fail you know?).

The iRecharge comes with a leather belt pack, and a Cell-Boost module for your cellphone, providing 8 hours of emergency calling if your cell phone becomes discharged while travelling.
It also comes with shims, so that the iPod fits snugly when you slide it down into the iRecharge case.

I bought the iRecharge at Fry's Electronics in California for $23.95. It provides 16 hours of play time before requiring a recharge overnight. This accessory has been a wonderful addition to my iPod. For powering the iPod on my laptop, I purchased a nifty adapter cable from the Apple Store.

This cable has both FireWire and USB ends. The Firewire cable feeds power to the iPod, while the USB cable provides the data link to ITunes. The Firewire cable attaches to my FireWire adapter plugged into my two-port ExpressCard slot on my laptop. I purchased the adapter cable for $25.00 at the Apple Store.

This was the only way to power the iPod, due to the missing internal battery, when using the USB interface with iTunes. All in all I am very pleased with the iPod Classic. It continues to provide service, even though it is not new, and was roughly handled during transportation to and from many swim meets, water polo matches, and basketball games by my teenager.

The only other accessory I have added, is a better set of lightweight headphones, as opposed to the supplied 'in-ear' versions. While all iPods use compressed audio files, some additional frequencies can be heard with a better class of headphone.

Of course, if you have a standard internal battery, it will require more amplification to power the better headphones. This in turn translates to reduced running time between recharging cycles.

On color-screen equipped models, you can save photos to your iPod, and create slideshows if you place the photos in discrete folders. This is a neat feature to share your photos with friends and family while traveling.

From Apple Computers Website:


  1. Photo Sync works in one direction, from iTunes to the iPod, not the other way.
  2. iPod nano requires iTunes 4.9 or later. Fifth Generation iPod requires iTunes 6 or later.
  3. For information on adding artwork to songs in iTunes see iTunes Help or click here.
On Windows, iTunes 4.72 can recognize these file formats from Adobe Photoshop Album and Adobe Photoshop Elements:

Using the Pick Folder option, it can recognize the same file formats as Adobe Photoshop Album/Elements.

The iPod can also be used as a temporary hard-drive storage device, if you have enabled this feature in iTunes Setup, when you connect your iPod to your PC, it will automatically mount like any other hard drive, and show up in My Computer.

This has saved me on the road, when my laptop was too full to save updated engineering project plans and drawings onto, I just connected my iPod and saved the files there until I returned home. Cool feature!

My next post will include a review of the iPod Nano 4g.