With this new sixth generation version of iPod nano, it sure looks like Apple rethought their product, which looks like quite different from the Nano that debuted in 2005. While the previous form factor was slim, light, had a mini-display and clickwheel, this all was abandoned for the new design which is a full touchscreen device, the size of a large postage stamp, with a interface that looks very similar to iOS on the iPhone and iPod Touch, but isnt. We’ve spent the last couple days playing with the iPod Nano to see if it’s worth your money.
Read on for our full review.
The Retail Package:
As you’d expect, the iPod Nano ships with the usual iPod essentials, like a standard pair of iPod headphones, Connector cable, Apple Sticker, and Manual along with the iPod Nano. More info can be found on our Apple iPod Nano Unboxing post.
When it comes down to size, the iPod Nano has never been smaller. While it’s slightly wider than the previous Nano, it’s in a tiny square form factor this time, with a 1.54 Inch (240×240) capacitive Multitouch LCD display.
On the back, you have the built-in clip to help you clip the device onto things, like a coat pocket or sleeve.
The whole device is encased in an anodized aluminum shell, which ensures that the build quality is pretty darn great. At the bottom is the iPod Dock, and 3.5mm Audio Jack.
We got the green iPod Nano, but there’s seven colors in total, being Silver, Grey, Blue, Green, Orange, Pink and an exclusive limited edition Red. It’s available in 8GB or 16GB versions, and also has an accelerometer built in.
While the previous gen nano has a video camera, that has been ditched, along with it’s physical controls. This has resulted in the 2010 Nano being a lot lighter than the previous version, weighing in at just 21 Grams (compared to the 36 grams previously). You wont even feel it clipped onto your shirt or bag strap because of the light weight.
There are only three hardware buttons on the 2010 Nano. One large Sleep/Wake/Power button on the top right side of the display, and two small circular buttons on the top left for controlling the volume. The volume keys are much appreciated since in the last nano you had to unlock the device and use the navigation wheel to increase or decrease volume. Not a problem any more.
The screen, while small, is not too hard to use. The Touch response is tight, just like the new iPod Touch and iPhone 4. Multitouch can only be used to rotate the screen right now, but works great. Moving from place to place is quite fast, and all based on swipe motions, left and right, with a long press taking you back to the main menu.
Overall, we quite like the new design, and hardware built quality is top-notch, as always.
The nano has always been a device that has been simple to use, and that trend continues in this new iteration of the device. The 2010 Nano doesnt take pictures or record video (with no camera) and doesnt play back video either. There’s no contacts app, no calendar, no games and no note taking app. All this has been ditched in order to keep the iPod nanos message simple: It can playback music, and you can look at photos. That’s all.
The new UI is a bit more intuitive than the classic iPod interface. You have the same playback and sorting options as were previously available, and the multi-touch, inertial scrolling and iOS-like experience helps you scroll through the menus to get what you’re looking for. While it’s not an actual build of iOS, it’s safe to assume that the UI is made up of frameworks from it, and the results are quite great. You can rearrange your menu just like on iOS (by holding down on the main menu), and the general navigation couldnt be simpler.
The navigate around the UI, you basically have to flip or swipe through a couple ‘pages’ of iOS-like icons. You can hold down on any icon to get it to jiggly, and move and arrange icons according to your liking. Whenever you’re using a function on the device, you can long-press on the center of the screen, to return back to the main menu.
When you’re listening to music or viewing photos, you can swipe to the right to take you through your previous screens until you get back to the menu. Just like iOS, lists are scrollable and multi-tiered and occasionally, there is a hidden dialog in odd places (Eg: When you’re in a playlist and you have to drag the list down to get to the ‘add’ and ‘edit’ icons which are hidden otherwise).
There’s a variety of Equalizer settings, and a volume limiter if you’d need one. There’s also a very neat ‘shake to shuffle’ feature, which uses the built-in accelerometer.
You can also change your wallpaper, adjust your brightness, adjust your date and time, etc.
A list of songs, artists and albums is still present, and there’s dedicated icons for podcasts, FM Radio (which only works with the earbuds plugged in), audio books, voice recorder (only if you have other earbuds with a mic), and fitness functions like Nike Plus.
There is also the Genius function present, which is definitely a good thing for those of you with massive collections of music.
There’s also very cool little things like being able to set the default lock screen to show you an Analog clock on wake (which makes the Nano a very cool looking watch), and being able to invert the colors of the UI.
Like we mentioned earlier, you can also multitouch to rotate the screen to whichever orientation you’d like, but there is no pinch-to-zoom in the photos app. You can double tap to zoom in and out though.
Here’s a quick video overview of the Software and UI on the 2010 iPod Nano.
The Sound Quality:
We thought Sound quality had improved compared to the last generation, thought we cannot be a hundred percent positive. Bass felt more deeper and fuller, and high notes were less cutting than other devices we’ve used. Still, for a player this small, the Nano performs quite well.
The Battery Life:
The iPod Nano took about an hour and 40 minutes to fast-charge to 80%, after which it took about another 30 minutes to reach full charge. There is no power adapter in the sales package, so you’ll have to charge it via your computer.
Apple states that you could get about 24 hours of music playback out of the 2010 iPod Nano. In our tests, with the screen switched off, and the Nano set to play, it took about 22Hours of continuous playback for the battery to die down, which is pretty great, and should be more than enough for most people.
If you’ve had a previous gen iPod Shuffle, you might feel like you need to replace it with the 2010 iPod Nano. But if you have a previous generation iPod Nano, I’m not entirely sure. While there isnt a huge variety or new additions, there have also been a couple subtractions.
But if you’re looking for a pure MP3/Music player, the iPod Nano might make a lot of sense. It’s not exactly the cheapest option out there, but it’s an attractive choice. It’s a smart enough fast, capable little player that will keep a lot of new buyers happy. We sort-of which there was more to do with that multi-touch screen though. But the iPod Nano is so simple, that it’s really hard to complain.
- New Touchscreen UI is quick and slick.
- Smaller and Lighter than previous Gen Nano.
- Good Sound Quality.
- Still quite pricey
- No video playback could be annoying.
- Small size means it’s easy to lose.
The iPod Nano is currently selling at a price of Indian Rs 10,700 (8GB), and Rs 12,700 (16GB). Prices differ greatly according to region though, so you might want to check with your local dealer. More details over on Apple India’s Product Page.