Apple iPod nano
- Compact, smart design
- Bluetooth 4.0 is useful
- Missing features from previous nano
- Screen isn't great for video
Apple's constantly-reinvented iPod nano gets a video-friendly screen and Bluetooth in its latest update. It's a user-friendly device as portable media players go, although it's missing a few features we liked on previous incarnations.
Price$ 169.00 (AUD)
Available in capacities of 2GB and 4GB, Apple's iPod nano uses flash-based memory instead of the hard drive used in the original iPod. While this offers less music storage space, it allows the nano to be very small, thin and light.
Measuring just 9 x 4 x 0.7cm and weighing a mere 42 grams, the nano comes with clear white or black casing. Like the original iPod the nano has a chrome finish on the back of the unit. Despite its small size and weight, we were impressed with the nano's feel--neither flimsy nor delicate.
The adjustments in the nano's size have resulted some changes from the design of the mini. The Hold switch is still located on the top of the unit, but gone is the headphone jack. This is now located at the bottom of the unit, alongside the standard 30-pin connector port. We were skeptical when we first noticed this change, but after a few days use, the headphone jack in its new location has a clear advantage for those who keep their iPod in their pocket. It makes it easier to slide out of your pocket to change the track or adjust the volume, as you no longer need to flip it around to view the screen.
The nano has a highly intuitive click-wheel control system, the same one used by both the mini and the original iPod. The wheel has been scaled down to fit onto the front of the nano, but even those with large fingers will find it easy to use and responsive. The only complaint we have is that the volume can't be adjusted unless you are in the Now Playing menu, and users of older iPod models may fine the scrolling a little fast--but it's nothing that you won't be able to get used to fairly quickly.
The new 1.5" colour screen on the nano is another excellent feature. The display is crisp and clear and shows album information, as well as track and artist name in the Now Playing menu. Previous iPod's, including the mini, only displayed track and artist details. The nano is also able to display album art while your music is playing.
The nano screen can also be used to display photos. Due to the small size of the screen, it is sometimes difficult to make out images that have a lot of detail, but for close-up shots it is impressive. The Photo Album screen displays thumbnails of the images on the nano, and a simple click of the scroll wheel will open a full size view of the image. We were very impressed with the loading times of the photos, and scrolling through the images is a simple matter of gliding the scroll wheel back or forward.
The sound quality of the nano is excellent, and the supplied headphones are of surprisingly good quality. The nano has a wide range of preset equalistion settings including Rock, Pop, Classical and Bass Booster. There is still no custom equaliser option available, but the sound is fine enough without it. Overall, we found the nano's quality sound as good as, if not better than, the other iPod models in the range.
The nano also includes a stopwatch, a clock and a screen lock. The stopwatch tracks total time and lap time and it can save your times. The clock supports several time zones, and a cool feature is the clocks turning from white to black, to symbolise night-time in the specific time zone you are looking at.
The nano also has what's called a Screen Lock, which uses a four-digit password combination. When the nano is locked you can only pause and play the iPod--even adjusting the volume isn't possible, as using the scroll wheel will simply change the digits on the lock screen. The only way to unlock the Screen Lock without the password is to connect it to your computer, where it is automatically turned off. Those who store private photos on their iPod may find this useful.
Apple claims that the nano can last 14 hours between recharges. During testing, the nano lasted about 12 hours before needing a recharge, which is a little less than most other flash-based MP3 players on the market.
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