iPod nano 3G vs 4G

by Volker Weber


The new iPod nano 4G is a fabulous machine, but so was the 3G. Apple added a motion sensor, a few features like shake to shuffle or the Nike integration, but both share the same screen size. The motion sensor let's you switch to coverflow, but that is not something I particularly like, especially when resting on my side. :-) Very welcome is the ability to view pictures in landscape and portrait, similar to iPhone and iPod touch.

While the 4G is more capable than the 3G and holds better in your hand, it also feels significantly cheaper. The 3G was a very tight package, but the 4G feels somewhat flimsy. It is just too light. And the shell is so incredibly thin that you would squash it if its profile were not oval.

Don't you just love it how Apple does not only recognize the device but will also display an icon in the correct color?


IMHO it's the little touches like displaying the correct icons for things like iPods and mobile phones that make the "Mac Experience"... I have to believe that if they put the work in to do things like that then they're putting in just as much work behind the scenes.

Kirk Kuykendall, 2008-09-24

Yes absolutely, this reminds me how I felt in love with Apple (;-)): When I first got my Mac SE, back then when people still lived in caves, and I used RegEdit to browse the Finder and discovered that there where icons for the Mac SE with two disk drives and different ones for the Mac SE with one DD and a HD... and that they where actually correctly displayed ... ahhhh .... it was love on the first sight ;-)

Claude Lehmann, 2008-09-24

@Kirk it's not only the Mac experience, it's more like the Apple experience (that also works on a PC).
The strange thing is that this is something that's hard to communicate to first time buyers - you have to experience it first hand to know what it means.

Once you've done that, you usually never look back ;)

Frank Koehntopp, 2008-09-24

I have the 3G Nano and it's still my favorite. I just use it for music and podcasts. Have not gotten into videos.

Here's the one feature that makes the 3G stand alone: It can fit inside your wallet.

It has linear dimensions that are smaller than a credit card, but about 4 of them in thickness. And assuming you do not keep your wallet in your back pocket, this means you can carry it with you everywhere and not have to think about it.

Now if someone can figure out a way for my earbuds to not get tangled into knot that would make a boyscout jealous, it would be the perfect pair.

Henry Ferlauto, 2008-09-25

Ferlauto, retractable earbuds at best buy. They rock.

Phillip Brown, 2008-11-26

This is a tough one for me too: 3G vs. 4G

I live in Russia and both the iPod Nano 3G and 4G are readily available in electronics shops. Although I get the sense the 3G is being phased out, because prices are dropping almost weekly. The 4G is still quite expensive here. More expensive in fact than the suggested retail price in Europe, the UK. But such is life in Russia. New/trendy consumer electronics are always very expensive (for example the iPhone 3G costs €700 or ¢625!!! No kidding).

Anyway, I want a small mp3 player this time around. I used to have an iPod Video 5G (60 GB). Even though I loved the high capacity and sound quality, some things drove me crazy about it. The battery life was simple terrible. At the end of its usefulness it was giving me 6-8 hours of music play, even while I was doing everything possible to save battery power (employing playlists, No EQ, no backlight, etc.). Video became useless, unless I wanted to recharge soon afterward. Even when it was brand new, I only was getting 2 hours of video play. Basically it became a domestic/commuter player, seeing as the battery life was inadequate for travel, which I do often.

I gave some thought to breaking away from iPods. The Creative Zen X-Fi 32 GB interested me for a while until I actually handled one in a shop... It felt like rubbish and I was disappointed. I know, that is a bit superficial, seeing as it is a high quality player, but if I'm going to spend a fair sum or money on a device, I want it to look as feel valuable. iPods usually don't disappoint in this respect.

The new iPod Touch also interested me for a while. I'd gladly buy it if it wasn't so damned expensive here. Plus it is quite large, and the fact that there aren't many Wi-Fi networks in Russia to make use of all its features.

So, that really leaves the Nano. Design wise, I like the look of the 3G more. I guess I'm just used to the traditional design of iPods. The 4G is nice too, but the lengthwise screen isn't as appealing to the eye. Obviously capacity it important to me and this is where the 4G is superior. 16 GB would be much more welcome than 8 GB. Sadly there isn't a 16 GB version of the 3G.

3G pros: Less expensive, more compact design, shiny metal back (I just like it!), longer video battery life.
3G cons: Lower capacity 8 GB, already discontinued.

4G pros: New firmware features, 16 GB, tilting screen.
4G cons: Still more expensive.

I'll probably go with a black 3G, although I'm sure I'll feel a pang of regret once the mere 8 GB is full and I see the 4G in the shops laughing at me with its ample 16 GB capacity.

I also want to air a few gripes about iPods in general. I like audio book, and most of my audio book files are in mp3 format. So, using the shuffle feature is useless to me. It is impossible to shuffle only music mp3 files and exclude spoken word files. I wish to GOD (!!!) Apple would fix this, because I'd really enjoy a random playlist of my music files. But... I know this won't happen because they want people to buy audio books from the criminally overpriced iTunes service. Which, by the way, is in my opinion, one of the biggest rip-offs known to mankind! I basically think iTunes is rubbish. Also, the supplied iPod headphone are horrible. 1) They are ugly white. 2) they are uncomfortable. 3) They constantly fall out of my ears. 4) The sound quality through them is poor. 4) Bass tones and volume are weak. 5) Ambient sound easily drowns them out (especially when walking in the street or using public transport). 6) Did I mention they are fugly white!? No big deal really, a good pair of sound isolating earbuds isn't too expensive, but it's just the principal of the thing. Ipods are supposed to be high quality. So why does Apple include rubbish earphones???

Don Hale, 2008-12-12

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