Review: Apple iPod nano (with video, 4GB/8GB)
Pros: A massive upgrade to Apple’s smallest-screened media player, adding very good video- and game-playing capabilities to the previously music- and photo-only, popular iPod nano. Achieves better than promised battery performance, as well as nearly equivalent video and audio performance to the iPod classic, making better use of its smaller components. Though shape is different, and screen is bigger and more detailed, volume is not dramatically increased over prior nanos. Available in
six colors and two storage capacities at very reasonable prices.
Cons: Screen and flash memory sizes aren’t ideal for video. Prior iPod Games, and iPod video accessories, are generally not compatible with this model. Mirror-finished rear casing returns, ready to scratch and smudge.
Our flat A ratings are very uncommon, and reserved for products that truly do so much better than similarly priced predecessors that we can’t help but think they’re awesome. The third-generation iPod nano is just such a product. Awkward though it may have seemed in early photographs, it so thoroughly advances the state of the art for $149 flash-based media players that it can’t help but be tremendously popular with users of all stripes: the only people we could conceivably imagine having objections to it would be those with vision problems, and only then because some of the new nano’s text is a little smaller than its already small predecessors.
iPod owners wanted three new things from a next-generation nano: video, downloadable games, and more storage capacity for the dollar. Despite its surprisingly small enclosure, the new iPod nano delivers all three of these things without compromising on the features of the full-sized iPod classic as much as anyone might have guessed. As a video player, it may not be an iPhone or an iPod touch, but by this time next year, we’d be surprised if it wasn’t much more popular due to its considerably more attractive pricing, multiple body colors, and superior wearability. Its continuation of the past nanos’ Nike + iPod Sport Kit compatibility doesn’t hurt, either.
If the new iPod nano has any limitations, they’re clearly video-related. Its inability to work with most prior iPod video accessories, the limits of its maximum 8GB of storage capacity for large videos, and its not-exactly-huge 2” display make it a less than ideal purchase for people who need a larger screen or great capacity right now for video viewing. But unlike the iPod classic and iPod touch, we had no expectations that something as small as the nano would be a video powerhouse: that it does as much as it does, and so well, is a thoroughly pleasant surprise, and fully justifies Apple’s $149 or $199 asking prices.