The Trainjotting Product Review: The iPod Nano

It’s been almost two months since my iPod Classic died and was replaced by the leaner, sleeker Nano, so I thought it was about time to offer up the official Trainjotting Nano review.

Two notes before we start.

1. A hearty shout-out to the clunky old Aiwa TX516 cassette Walkman–yes, you read correctly–for its positively Fernando Tatis-ian knack for stepping in when the flashier players were out of commission.

2. On the rare occasions that I’ve posted something technology-related, I’ve been bombarded (OK, flurried) with emails pointing out something I’m doing wrong that the rest of the country seems to understand perfectly well. This is good. I’d like to think my ignorance helps others.

OK, on to the review.


My Nano, which I bought for $149, is absolutely tiny. Remember how tiny you thought the iPod Classic (then just the iPod) was when you got it? This thing makes the Classic look like a cigar box. It looked bigger on the iPod Website; when I opened up the packaging, I initially thought the box was empty. As you see in the picture, it could barely take a Triscuit in a street fight.

At times it’s too small. It’s very difficult to rest it on your lap on a moving train without the thing sliding to the floor. It could conceivably even slip in the crack at the base of your seat. I’ve kept my eyes open for a rubbery protective case, and finally found one today–outdoor vendor on East 28th, packaging cloaked in grime, armband I’ll never use (Like I’m really gonna go jogging…or is it called yogging?), for a whole $7.

Interface-wise, the commands are upside down, compared to the Classic. As in, your earphones plug into the bottom, not the top, like the Classic. You’ll stare at your songs upside down for a good month before you get used to it.

Speaking of the iconic iPod earbuds, they’ve officially scrapped the fuzzy earmuff things that never stayed on anyway. And I think the sound is substantially better–and certainly louder–on the new ‘phones. When I plug in the standard-issue phones after listening on the expensive Bose cans, it’s louder on the earbuds, which absolutely wasn’t the case with the Classic buds.

Regarding the interface, the screen is crystal clear, with an attractive white backdrop, and the font is pleasing to the eye–your lineup of songs looks much more attractive than it did on the Classic. You can add album art too, if you’re a 13-year old girl.  

My biggest gripe is the song capacity. I get my RAMs and ROMs mixed up a lot, but I think my Classic was 20 Gig–it had about 2500 songs on it, including the Doors’ “The End” and “When the Music’s Over,” which should both probably count as two songs, and plenty of room left over for more.

Not the case with my 8 Gig Nano, which transferred about 2100 of my 2500 songs before announcing it was full. Sure, the thing plays video, but unless I’m doing something gravely wrong, there’s little room for the massive video files. I downloaded an episode of The Wire for $2, and it looked great–but I had to delete everything else on the Nano just to fit one episode on the hard drive.

The Nano is a gorgeous little contraption that would not be laughed at in a time capsule opened 50 or a hundred years down the road. But the limit of just over 2,000 songs feels very restrictive, at least to me.

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4 Responses to The Trainjotting Product Review: The iPod Nano

  1. jim says:

    for the techo-luddite like me, if you haven’t discoved PODCASTS yet, some great music ones out there…(for the rare two or three moments in the day when i’m NOT listening to the Grateful Dead…) They don’t take up too much space, and

    they’re FREE and will automatically upload/(download? sideload?) to your ITUNES account each week, by subscribing at the ITUNES store – or grabbing straight from their website, for non-ipod folks (the exist!).

    check out NPR: ALL SONGS CONSIDERED- a weekly show with music and some discussion. They also have a LIVE CONCERT podcast…

    of course, i found out about this by way of my weekly DEADPOD, solid sounboards and bootlegs from a guy in Columbia, MO.


  2. Pingback: iPod Nano | Big Buy Outlet

  3. Does anyone else worry that the Nano 4 feels too light and is so thin that it will easily break ?

  4. Pingback: Defenseless »

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