Review: iPod Nano - Macenstein

Review: iPod Nano

It took a couple days, but we finally got our hands on the new iPod nano. Here’s our review.

It is small. VERY small. Small enough that I found myself wondering if it was too small.

Other than that, it is an iPod. Unlike the shuffle, this is a “real” iPod, meaning it has an actual display (and quite a nice one, I must admit), the familiar (to some) click wheel, and the dock connector. The dock connector is perhaps the most important feature here, as the iPod nano is meant to replace Apple’s iPod mini line. The dock connector means the nano should be compatible with a wide range of peripherals already out there on the market. We tested the nano with the Bose SoundDock Digital Music System and found it worked perfectly. Obviously, due to form factor issues, cases, armbands, and some other peripherals geared towards the mini will not fit.

iPod nano, from an end user’s experience is identical to using past iPods. The music sounds great, and navigating the menus is the same as other models.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of the nano, and likely the deciding factor as to whether you choose to buy one, is that Apple has replaced the hard drive found in past iPods with flash memory. This move to solid state memory means there are no moving parts in the nano, so music will never skip when jogging or exercising. Of course, the shuffle also has flash memory, but at 1 GB of storage, and no display or controls to speak of, it was a less than perfect solution for exercise nuts. The nano is twice as “heavy” as a shuffle, weighing in at 1.5 ounces, but 1.5 ounces is not going to make your arm tired when running. Apple claims that despite the crisp color display, the nano can squeeze out an extra 2 hours of battery life over the shuffle, with a total of 14 hours. This is slightly less than the iPod mini it replaces, but still very respectable.

The nano, like it’s big brother, the iPod photo, is capable of displaying your digital photos on it’s dazzling 1.5 inch screen. However, Apple has crippled the photo features of the nano, and removed the video out port found on the iPod photo. This means your pictures can only be “shared” with others huddled around on the nano’s screen, which suddenly does not seem quite so dazzling.

The nano comes in two models, a 2 GB version and a 4 GB version. Both models come in black or white (we reviewed the 4 GB black, which we estimate to be the hotter seller). For some reason Apple has decided to drop the multi-colors of the iPod mini which were such a large reason for itsr success, so it remains to be seen how well the duo-tone nano sells. I would hope we’ll see multi-colored nanos out for Christmas.


So, should you buy one? Well, as an Apple stock holder, “Yes! buy 3!”. However, if you already own an iPod photo, there is not much new here feature-wise, in fact there is less. Obviously the size of the nano is what will draw users into their Apple stores at the end of the day. The addition of a color screen is a nice addition over the iPod mini, however, to achieve this Apple has decreased storage, battery life, and choice of colors of the mini, all wile raising the price per GB. But if having a flash-based iPod that won’t skip when exercising but allows more control than a shuffle is important to you, the nano is an excellent choice. Truthfully, I have never had my 4G iPod skip while jogging, and certainly don’t feel the regular iPods are too bulky (although I am sure the more I use the nano the larger the other models will seem).

Really IS amazingly small
The black is cool.

slightly more expensive than mini
Less storage than mini
Only available in Black and white

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