Linked by Eugenia Loli on Thu 2nd Apr 2009 11:45 UTC
Apple Geeks.com, home of cheap iPods, sent us in the 4th Gen Apple iPod Nano to take it for a spin. Let's see how it stacks up against the 1st generation Nano that we also happen to have available in our lab, and the iPod Touch.
Order by: Score:
I just advised a friend not to buy one
by kragil on Thu 2nd Apr 2009 12:46 UTC
kragil
Member since:
2006-01-04

He just wanted a 4GB or 8GB MP3-Player for his car.

I looked at the Nano and it is 149€ in Germany.

It may have a superior UI, but all he wants to do it play his MP3s (nobody I know has ACC crap).

So I looked at amazon and found a Intenso 4GB MP3 Player with color screen for 32€.

It works like a charm and as a added bonus it has a standard Mini-USB port for recharing so he can use the power adapter from his Tomtom to recharge the Player.

iPod is not always the right choice (although americans seem to think so.)

Reply Score: 0

kaelodest Member since:
2006-02-12

I just advised a friend not to watch VDO and drive... Seems fair. Any mp3 player that you have in your pocket seems 'adequate' if your car audio has a standard jack.

Reply Score: 1

Diablo Member since:
2005-07-06

Does that player support gap-less playback? ;)

Reply Score: 1

PowerMacX Member since:
2005-11-06

He just wanted a 4GB or 8GB MP3-Player for his car.

I looked at the Nano and it is 149€ in Germany.

It may have a superior UI, but [...]


This is something I don't get: people wanting 8 GB of music but not caring how good the player is at managing it! I find iTunes' Smart Playlists indispensable for handling large libraries. Using manual playlists, folder-based navigation or even "genre" feels far too limited when you have 3000+ songs on a device.

Edited 2009-04-02 13:14 UTC

Reply Score: 5

dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

I have 12GB on my MP3 player all sorted under an artist/album folder sturucture, and quite frankly can't imagine a better way of sorting my music. In fact I went out of my way to find an MP3 player that acted like a USB mass storage device so that I wouldn't have to deal with a bunch of annoying apps trying to tell me how I should be sorting and listening to my music.

Reply Score: 4

tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

I have 12GB on my MP3 player all sorted under an artist/album folder sturucture, and quite frankly can't imagine a better way of sorting my music. In fact I went out of my way to find an MP3 player that acted like a USB mass storage device so that I wouldn't have to deal with a bunch of annoying apps trying to tell me how I should be sorting and listening to my music.


Death Metal, 80's Glam Rock, British Metal, SF Bay Metal, Nashville Women, etc.

Reply Score: 1

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

This is something I don't get: people wanting 8 GB of music but not caring how good the player is at managing it!


I dunno... for me, iTunes is pretty horrible at managing my music. I hate, hate, HATE apps that try to organize by album/artist, since I usually only purchase 2-3 tracks off an album. It is really counterproductive for me.

I'd rather just have a folder for different genres, with all of my mp3 files in those folders without any sub-folders. The problem is that players like the Zune and the iPod don't give you the option of organizing music by folders like the iAudio player do.

If I were going to use some kind media player/organizer, I'd probably use Media Monkey, which is like 10x better than iTunes, and uses a lot less system resources too (on Windows).

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

"This is something I don't get: people wanting 8 GB of music but not caring how good the player is at managing it!


I dunno... for me, iTunes is pretty horrible at managing my music. I hate, hate, HATE apps that try to organize by album/artist, since I usually only purchase 2-3 tracks off an album. It is really counterproductive for me.

I'd rather just have a folder for different genres, with all of my mp3 files in those folders without any sub-folders. The problem is that players like the Zune and the iPod don't give you the option of organizing music by folders like the iAudio player do.
"

I like to organise my music in a similar fashion, but separating by Artist, as I also don't purchase entire CDs, and don't rip entire CDs for the ones I have. Just the songs I like.

But too many media managers and media players (software or hardware) are stuck on the whole Artist -> Album -> Song format.

Reply Score: 2

Hussein Member since:
2008-11-22

AAC is not crap. AAC is an industry standard used in the iPod, iPhone, DSi PS3, PSP, Walkman and other devices.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Audio_Coding>Wikipedia:

Reply Score: 5

polaris20 Member since:
2005-07-06

How is the sound quality? Reliability? integration with software on the computer?

Not trying to defend Apple here, but anyone knows you can go out and buy a cheap, no-name MP3 player.

That's not the point of the article. I've owned 4 iPods, none of which have failed. The current, an iPod Touch is more a pocket computer than just a music player.

All of them offer conveniences cheap players don't: a well designed interface to the computer, and integration with my car, allowing me to control everything from the steering wheel.

They may be overpriced, but Apple iPods do the job well, enough to warrant the premium.

Reply Score: 3

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

integration with software on the computer?


That's actually one of the weakest points of the iPod. You are forced to use crappy iTunes (what a horrible piece of engineering, esp. the Windows version), and you can't even just drag and drop your songs onto it or use a different program - you are FORCED to use iTunes.

So, when it comes to integration with my computer, iPods are horrible.

Reply Score: 2

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Yeah, and even though apps like Rhythmbox, as well as other iTunes replacements, eventually work with the iPod there's always features that don't work with those apps. An example, the nano 4th gen has speaking menus (a very useful feature in my case), but only iTunes can generate them; in typical Apple fashion, the details of how the speaking menus work aren't revealed and haven't been completely reverse engineered yet. So, even though I can put music on it from my Linux box, its usefulness is considerably degraded for me without iTunes. This, coupled with the horrible problems I've had with iTunes 8.1, is why I sold My Nano a short time ago. I've got a UMS-compliant player now based on a file/folder structure, and I'm not going back to iTunes any time soon.

Reply Score: 2

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Uh, speaking menus are just audio files rendered using the OSes’ text-to-speech abilities and then copied to the device. The iPod is not synthesising the speech itself!

There’s nothing special about this feature at all, it’s been possible to do for all players since ~2001, but nobody seems to have thought of it until now.

Reply Score: 1

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I'm aware of what they are and the principle behind them. What is not revealed at the moment is exactly what files get generated for which audio files. It is not the same each time you synch, and the files appear to be given random names, and their associated entries in the database haven't yet been completely isolated. And actually, Rockbox had this feature long before Apple decided to overcomplicate it.

Reply Score: 3

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

And I remember before iTunes I had to either manually drag and drop all the files I wanted to the device, or use natty sync software that never did the job properly. I used my MP3 player 1/100th of the time I ended up using the iPod.

For the very vast majority of people who want to set-it-and-forget-it, iTunes is the anchor which has got iPod where it is now. There were more feature-laden players than iPod when it came out, and still there are players with more features, but that is irrelevant when getting content on there is over complicated for most people.

The Shuffle is the single prime example of this. iTunes *made* the Shuffle the success it is. A million cheap flash based players existed before it, but the software experience was simple too impractical. The Shuffle took a simple idea everybody else had been fumbling about with, and made it simple.

What was it that the Creative CEO said? "I think the whole industry will just laugh at it, because the flash people--it’s worse than the cheapest Chinese player. Even the cheap, cheap Chinese brand today has display and has FM. They don’t have this kind of thing, and they expect to come out with a fight; I think it’s a non-starter to begin with.”

How utterly wrong he was.

Reply Score: 2

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Wow, drag and drop. That's, um, so complicated.

Reply Score: 1

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Difficulty of drag and drop is irrelevant. It’s not a step you should have to take. Imagine if every time you wanted to change channel on your TV you had to manually tune the channel in? That’s what drag-and-drop is like. It hampered me using the device massively.

Reply Score: 1

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Well, depending on the iPod you use and how much music you have, you'd most likely end up dragging and dropping anyway. i've over 50gb of Music and had a 16gb nano, and had a playlist set to synch with the Nano. But, that still required some user interaction (either dragging and dropping, or right-click and selecting add to playlist). Given my music is organized in Artist/Album/File structures anyway, it didn't end up being all that different. Drag to a playlist, or drag to a device. Not much difference there.

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Wow, drag and drop. That's, um, so complicated.


What's really sad, is that for a lot of people, it is too complicated. There are people who don't understand the concept of folder, and directory hierarchies, and proper filenames. To them, a file manager, even one as brain-dead as "My Computer" windows, is alien. I know people who use the "File -> Open" dialog in Word as their file manager. If the file isn't there "it's gone". These are also the same people who use the Deleted Items folder in Outlook/Express and the Recycle Bin as "an easy-to-use filing system", since just hitting Del will move things there and keep them there.

However, being forced to use something like iTunes is overkill.

Especially when it takes your 100+ GB music store, that's all nicely laid out in "/Artist/Album/artist-songname.mp3" format with everything in the file's name/path and reformats everything into Unknown/Unknown/unknown-1.mp3 since it feels that the ID3 tag overrides the filename *even when the ID3 is blank*.

Reply Score: 2

polaris20 Member since:
2005-07-06

" integration with software on the computer?


That's actually one of the weakest points of the iPod. You are forced to use crappy iTunes (what a horrible piece of engineering, esp. the Windows version), and you can't even just drag and drop your songs onto it or use a different program - you are FORCED to use iTunes.

So, when it comes to integration with my computer, iPods are horrible.
"

I've never had issues with iTunes on Mac or PC. To each their own, I guess.

Reply Score: 3

Chicken Blood Member since:
2005-12-21

" integration with software on the computer?


That's actually one of the weakest points of the iPod. You are forced to use crappy iTunes (what a horrible piece of engineering, esp. the Windows version), and you can't even just drag and drop your songs onto it or use a different program - you are FORCED to use iTunes.

So, when it comes to integration with my computer, iPods are horrible.
"

Care to explain why iTunes is a horrible piece of engineering?

BTW: You do not have to use iTunes: http://www.cnet.com.au/best-ipod-compatible-itunes-alternatives-339...

Reply Score: 2

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Well... The Windows version of iTunes (and Quicktime too for that matter) is slow, bloated, unstable, and an all-around annoyance, placing system startup tasks when you don't need them, and the like. I must say that the Mac version, by contrast, is actually quite nice for both iTunes and Quicktime (except for the latest version, 8.1, which has been a massive headache for me due to its constant crashing). I guess that's no surprise, but the Windows version needs some serious attention at this point.
As for the iTunes alternatives, they're fine... up until a new iPod generation comes out, usually. Sometimes, even a new firmware version will break them. Either way, Apple typically makes changes, not only to increase functionality, but sometimes it seems like they do it merely to try and lock out anything but iTunes from synching with the device. They're always unsuccessful, eventually, but it's still an annoyance if you get hit by it and your iTunes alternatives don't work for a while.

Reply Score: 2

Chicken Blood Member since:
2005-12-21

Actually the question was aimed at Thom, who as usual made the unsubstantiated remark.

Thanks for the response though. I use iTunes on both platforms and find it to be much the same for the most part. I do however feel your pain when it comes to the invisible startup dameons it installs on Windows. A number of times (with older versions of iTunes, I must admit) they have turned out to be responsible for hogging the CPU and hanging up my system.

Reply Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

The deal breaker for me (with the iPod touch) is its inability to receive a Shoutcast / Live Encoder stream. I did find one way to stream audio, but it seems to be more of a "push" setup - and, of course, it only works if you're using iTunes to manage all your music.

As far as I can tell, it comes down to a choice between: scrapping an existing audio library setup that I've had for close to a decade and move everything to iTunes, or void the warranty (and risk having the device brick'd) just to install VLC / MPlayer on it.

I can understand having no support for audio streaming over the cell network, but I'm just talking about streaming to other parts of the house using a local wifi network.

Reply Score: 2

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

Apple has their own proprietary way of streaming with itunes shared libraries

Reply Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Apple has their own proprietary way of streaming with itunes shared libraries


I did some testing earlier with my rommmate's iPod touch, but I couldn't find a way to stream to it even *with* iTunes (the "remote" app that thought enabled streaming turned out to just allow the touch/iPhone to be used as remote control for iTunes or Apple TV - bleh).

So far, the only possible solution I've found is a commercial app from Nullsoft - although it's hard to tell if it can receive any icecast stream, or only "official" shoutcast streams.

Reply Score: 2

Apple got it right
by sardaukar on Thu 2nd Apr 2009 13:00 UTC
sardaukar
Member since:
2006-05-09

They have practically cornered the market with this one - great features, battery life and price. It's getting harder to compete with these guys ;)

Reply Score: 1

OSNews "Lab"
by google_ninja on Thu 2nd Apr 2009 13:11 UTC
google_ninja
Member since:
2006-02-05

The lab is basically just Eugenias' living room, right? ;-)

Reply Score: 4

RE: OSNews "Lab"
by Eugenia on Thu 2nd Apr 2009 13:13 UTC in reply to "OSNews "Lab""
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

Ah, but you underestimate me. I have an office, with a gazillion of gadgets in it and enough wires on the floor to trip on and break a leg.

Reply Score: 2

shake and shuffle
by stooovie on Thu 2nd Apr 2009 15:13 UTC
stooovie
Member since:
2006-01-25

OMG, shuffling music by shaking the player, how cool is that? .-D

Reply Score: 1

RE: shake and shuffle
by phoenix on Thu 2nd Apr 2009 19:25 UTC in reply to "shake and shuffle"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

OMG, shuffling music by shaking the player, how cool is that? .-D


Old news. Sony Ericsson Walkman phones have been doing that for a couple years now.

Reply Score: 2

Review?
by Fergy on Sat 4th Apr 2009 05:56 UTC
Fergy
Member since:
2006-04-10

This review needs to be called: "Why I think the ipod nano is the best mp3 player" If you would read this without any knowledge you would think that this is the best mp3 player ever made.
No ogg/vorbis or flac support. 22 hours is normal and nothing special. The special apple usb connector means you need special cables for loading music and for charging. A stable mp3player is also nothing special and is normal for any mp3player. iTunes is far from the best music manager and not easier for most people than drag n drop(they have been doing that for 15years). iTunes also means that every computer that you connect it to needs to have iTunes to get music from it.

Does the job, and it does it better than any other player in its category. Highly recommended if you already don't own an iPod, or you don't need a lot of storage.

In its price category there are a lot of mp3players that I would call better. Highly recommended if you are looking for a small ipod with a screen.

Reply Score: 2