Apple iPod Nano review
Ultra-slim, ultra-light and with a massive battery life, the Nano is a reliable if rather expensive MP3 player
Review Date: 4 Jan 2013
Price when reviewed: £115
Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides
The Apple iPod Nano is no longer square. The latest version is a very thin, slightly stubby rectangle, which makes it better suited to video than its square predecessor. The Nano's 2.5in touchscreen is multitouch, and the iPod has obligatory Bluetooth, so you can use wireless headphones. The whole thing is just 5.4mm thick and it weighs just 31g, so you can fit it almost anywhere. There's no clip on the back, so it's not quite as well suited to sporty users as the previous version. However, most people will be pleased with the improved movie viewing experience provided by the display’s 240x432 widescreen aspect ratio.
Like its predecessor, the Nano’s touchscreen lets you flick between two menu screens displaying large icons. It even comes with a selection of wallpapers that are matched to the colour of the iPod itself. Unlike the iPod Touch, you can't install apps. The first menu provides shortcuts to your music, videos, podcasts and photos, along with a Nike Fitness app and radio tuner. On the second screen you'll find a handy clock, settings menu shortcut and access to your audiobooks.
In addition to the usual options of sorting by playlist, artist, song, album or genre, you can also use Apple's Genius to put together a playlist of songs similar to the one you're currently listening to or create a playlist based on iTunes' analysis of your taste, but you have to enable the feature in the iTunes desktop client first. iTunes itself has undergone some changes lately, simplifying and streamlining its previously clunky interface, but in the process also removing a few familiar features, such as Cover Flow.
We're pleased that the sidebar that makes it easy to copy content from your PC to your iPod and move content between different playlists is still present. You can also opt to sync specific types of content only. As an example, can have your podcasts synced every time you connect the iPod to its associated PC, but not your music or videos. You can, of course, organise the content on the iPod Nano manually, too.
Audio files in MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV and ALAC formats are supported, as are Audible format audiobooks; you'll have to convert other audio formats to a supported one to listen to them. Audio quality is, of course, very good indeed. The DACs favoured by Apple for its iPods are characteristically bassier than those used by some other rivals. The Nano sounds detailed and accurate, particularly if you upgrade it to a better pair of headphones. The Nano's warm sound complements balanced armature earphones extremely well and also sounds great through high-quality dynamic headphones such as Soundmagic E10s.
Like the new versions of the iPhone and iPod Touch, the Nano comes with the improved EarPod version of Apple's earphones. They're still white, plasticky and none too comfortable to wear, but they're less leaky than their predecessors and sound more detailed and less fuzzy. They sound a bit better too; they're not quite ear-canal headphones, but their plastic casing is shaped to direct sound to your eardrums.
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