Review: Apple Computer iPod nano (Second-Generation) 2/4/8GB

Pros: Apple’s best flash-based music player yet, offering 2GB to 8GB storage capacities in six colored, super-slim aluminum enclosures, each at affordable prices. Far more scratch-resilient than prior model without compromising style. Lives up to Apple’s promised 24-hour battery life for audio playback, can record audio for over 8 hours with use of optional microphone accessories. Includes superior screen and modestly cleaner audio than prior iPod nanos, as well as new, better earbuds, and small but nice interface additions such as a search option. Continues to work with majority of prior Dock Connector iPod accessories.

Cons: Falls shorter of current-generation iPod on big features (video, games) than did prior nano at time of release. Color choices are limited by storage capacities and prices. Transfer times for data have doubled from prior nano. Users must download iTunes themselves prior to using iPod. Some old nano-specific accessories are physically incompatible.

Review: Apple Computer iPod nano (Second-Generation) 2/4/8GB

Updated (3X): On September 12, 2006, Apple introduced the “second-generation” iPod nano, which not only combines Apple’s most popular past iPods – the first-generation iPod nano, and previously discontinued second-generation iPod mini – but adds to them in a number of impressive ways. Our expanded First Look now includes pictures of the newest iPod in all of its available colors and packages, comparisons to its predecessors, and new accessories, plus a complete dissection photo gallery to show you what’s inside.

When Apple Computer introduced the iPod nano (iLounge rating: A-/B+) one year ago, it displaced its most resilient, popular, colorful iPod – the iPod mini – with a technologically stunning but easily damaged and more expensive alternative. This week, Apple radically updated the iPod nano, fusing the DNA of its two best mid-range iPod designs into a single excellent package: the second-generation iPod nano ($149-249). Sold in three capacities – 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB – and five initial colors, the new nano eliminates several of the biggest complaints about its predecessor, and will leave iPod buyers with only one major question: which do I want more, a $249 8GB iPod nano or a $249 30GB iPod with video?

Review: Apple Computer iPod nano (Second-Generation) 2/4/8GB

Review: Apple Computer iPod nano (Second-Generation) 2/4/8GB

As suggested by the photographs above and below, our comprehensive review looks at each of the second-generation iPod nano’s colors, capacities, and key performance characteristics in the pop-down sections below. Click on the “Click here for details” markers to see all of our test results, photographs, and opinions, or jump to the conclusions section at the bottom for our final thoughts. Updated: On October 13, 2006, we added a new section discussing the 4GB iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition, which is now found at the bottom of this review, and on November 3, 2006, we updated this section to reflect the subsequent release of the 8GB (PRODUCT) RED nano.

What’s the Second-Generation iPod nano’s History? (Click here for details.)

Colors, Packaging, and Pack-Ins (Click here for details.)

Second-Generation iPod nano: What’s Outside (Click here for details.)

What’s Inside: Transfer Speeds, Battery Life, and Other Tech Details (Click here for details.)

Interface and Menus: A Brief Overview (Click here for details.)

Interface and Menus: New Features (Click here for details.)