Apple iPod nano (3rd Generation)
- Excellent interface, brighter and larger display for video playback, anodised aluminium front, improved battery life, Cover Flow feature
- The screen is a little small for comfortable video playback, chrome backing shows scratches and fingerprints easily, small and stubborn hold switch
Despite its shape and size changing dramatically, the new iPod nano still manages to be the best designed player on the market. Under the hood lies an excellent music player, and a capable video player representing great value at this price.
Price$ 279.00 (AUD)
Wider but shorter and thinner thanks to the addition of a 2in display for video playback, Apple's latest iPod nano is certainly awkward looking. But beneath its chubby, anodised aluminium exterior is another fine music player.
The new nano now features video playback, so the display has significantly increased in size. Although it's quite small to comfortably watch video on, the 2in, 320x240 resolution screen is crisp and clear and noticeably brighter than previous models. The wider display means the nano has dramatically changed in shape. It's almost the same thickness, but its body is far wider and much shorter than previous versions. The anodised aluminium front is available in multiple colours, but the chrome backing of previous iPods remains - and it's still impossible to keep free of fingerprints, scratches and marks.
The famous click wheel is retained, but it's a little smaller in size than the iPod nano (2nd Generation). One annoyance is the hold switch; it's now located at the bottom of the nano and its circular size makes it stubborn to switch on and off. Sound quality is excellent and on par with previous models, but unfortunately the included, poor quality headphones remain, and there is still no custom equaliser options.
A new addition to the nano is Cover Flow, also seen on the iPhone and the latest iPod Touch. It's a way to browse through your music collection by scrolling through album artwork. Unfortunately, the small screen doesn't do justice to what is quite a nifty feature, and there is noticeable lag when scrolling through a large collection of albums. The white background also doesn't look as crisp as the black background seen in iTunes. When the backlight dims after a set period of inactivity, the screen displays the time, as well as a large icon showing remaining battery life.
The nano's menu system has also been upgraded. The main menu is in a split-screen format; on the left side is the main selection list, and the right side a random picture depending on what menu item you have highlighted. For example, a moving picture of various stored album art is displayed when you highlight the music menu, and the same applies for photos, movies and podcasts. Perhaps the niftiest addition is the shuffle settings; they can be accessed by pressing the centre button four times in the now playing screen, meaning you no longer have to delve deep into the settings menu.
All the usual extras remain, but three new games - iPod Quiz, Klondike and Vortex - are included and make good use of the new display thanks to vibrant, colourful graphics. The new nano comes in five colours - silver, black, blue, green and a (PRODUCT) RED special edition - but the cheaper 4GB version is only available in silver.
According to Apple figures, battery life has improved. You'll get up to five hours of video playback and up to 24 hours of audio playback on a single charge.
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