Remember when the iPod was cutting edge? Yeah, I barely remember those long lost times too… although I can vividly remember Walkmans and even Discmans.


Back in those halcyon days of portable digital technology, when silhouettes danced across our TV screens, I was a cheapskate… and still am today.

So instead of getting an iPod, I got a Creative Labs Zen Nano.

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Lo these many years later, when most iPods have been relegated to junk drawers worldwide, my trusty Zen Nano is still going strong. I use it every weekday on my bus commute to and from work. Honestly, I think it had a few advantages over iPods. It runs on a single AAA battery, and I always carry a spare battery, so I don’t have to worry about it dying on me and I don’t have to be near a computer – and have the proprietary Apple USB cord (sold separately, of course) – to recharge it.

Adding music to it is a lot easier than using iTunes (Apple is famous for intuitive user experiences but iTunes is horrible, always has been). And in addition to listening to mp3s, I can listen to FM radio (even record it) and record sounds via the built-in microphone. It’s only 1 GB but that’s enough for more than a dozen albums, and it’s a lot more compact than an iPod. It’s slightly larger than the iPod shuffle but those had no display, which was a joke.

I know I can now listen to music on my phone, but I still prefer my moments of Zen.

Up next: why rotary phones are better.