Trying out a couple of iPods: 4G iPod nano and 30G iPod

By Graham K. Rogers

30G and nano

I have had the company of a couple of iPods in late November: a 4 Gigabyte iPod nano and 30 Gigabyte iPod. They are much advanced compared with my third generation iPod. As well as colour screens, both display photographs and the larger one (like its 80G big brother) also handles video files. Battery life has also been increased; both are lighter and, pleasantly, cheaper than before.

The current iPods will not to boot up computers via Firewire but the connection does charge the device. I also linked to a computer with USB 1.1. With the large library in iTunes it was painfully slow. I transferred music to my PowerBook and synchronised from there. I included calendars and contact details to both iPods. With the 30G, contacts' pictures were also transferred. Calendars are far clearer on both.

I had tried out an earlier iPod with photographs, but the screens on both trial players were beautifully clear. The selection of images followed the organisation of the iPhoto libraries so it was easy to find and display pictures.

Here, and with the music, I had a little problem getting used to the way the later iPods have selections on the touch wheel, rather than the buttons on my older iPod. Pressure differences were also apparent and switching between the three took minor adjustment each time: too much or too little sensitivity.

30G and red peppers The iPods now come in small boxes as there are no install disks. Software is included in the installation of iTunes, which itself has been rewritten (now version 7). Both showed in the iPod panel as being Windows-ready, but my Mac didn't waver. iTunes now has separate libraries for the different media: Music, Movies, TV shows, Podcasts and Radio.

Of those, the only one unavailable in Thailand is the TV show: only from the iTunes shop. Internet radio has been availalble for a while although this medium is not for the iPod as the streams are live.

Podcasts of course are a major new way to use online data: whether it be the bash-your-brains-out music that I favour for my bus rides, or the more sober tech news podcasts that the editor of the Database prefers for his rides on the SkyTrain, there is much more that the iPod is being used for these days, over and above recorded music.

While the copyright holders may not allow us in the Land of Smiles to buy movies from the iTunes shop, there is enough software on the Mac to enable home-produced movies to be made then transferred in the correct format for iPod viewing. While I did not have the opportunity to watch any, I still had access to a number of video podcasts, particularly those from National Geographic whose clarity came over well on the 30G iPod.

I showed the screen to a number of sceptics over the 10 days or so the iPods were in my hands, and while none of us would like to have this as the sole viewing medium, watching for a brief period (for example to show someone a movie of the new baby, or the latest company product) is feasible.

If you think the iPod screen is small, I saw one of my students in the lift this week and he was watching Mission Impossible on the smaller screen of a Nokia 3250. That was almost mission impossible in itself.

iPod nano While I had the iPods in my hands, I travelled home with a friend who had bought a nano in Japan. His car had a small device that linked to the iPod and sent a signal to the car radio. As we went through the city, I replaced his nano playing an aerobics music podcast (one, two three, up. . .) with the three iPods I had in my bag and we had a taste of several other types of podcast.

He had a translucent white cover for his nano, similar to the bulky iSkin I bought for my own iPod. I am not convinced that a case would be needed for the latest iPod nano. The exterior is finished with a smooth metal-like covering. Mine was a green although there are several other colours now available: it used to be black or white.

I did notice that the nano disappeared into the caverns of my back-pack and I had a minor panic searching for it on a couple of occasions. The 30G iPod was also smaller and easily slipped out of sight. A major contrast to my bulky third generation device.

The 4g nano is officially 9,000 baht here, while the 30G is 11,500, cheaper than my 15G iPod and twice the size. Both now come with redesigned earbuds and I found these more comfortable in the days I was using them. I am ready to update and the lower prices put these within my grasp.

Made on Mac

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