∞ Review: iPod nano is the big winner

Apple revamped its entire iPod line-up at its September event last week, but for me, the biggest winner is the iPod nano. I’ve been using the new iPod nano for almost a week now and it is now my favorite iPod. With its multi-touch screen and a clip, the nano is perfect for what I use an iPod for.

We all use our iPods for different things. Some people exercise, others sit comfortably and listen to music while reading a book. I travel. For convenience, I typically use the iPod shuffle when I’m on the road because I can clip it on my shirt and go.

Now with the nano, I have that same convenience, plus I have the multi-touch screen and the ability to choose a particular song that I want to play.

I see the iPod nano as an on-the-go device, so I’m not looking for apps, videos or games to play. I want something that will give me my music quickly and easily. The new nano does exactly that.

The nano has three buttons on top — volume up, volume down and sleep/wake. Quite honestly, that’s all you need to operate the nano.

The nano is all about multi-touch. From the home screen, you simply swipe left or right, choose the function you want and tap it. It’s all very similar to the way we have become accustomed to working with the iPhone.

If a song is playing, you can tap the screen again to bring up the player controls to pause, fast forward and rewind. If you swipe again, you are brought to a screen that allows you to scrub through a song, turn on repeat, shuffle, and do a Genius Playlist based on the current song.

To get out of any menu you’re in, you just need to swipe and you’ll find yourself back out to the main menu in no time. Swipe to get in, swipe to get out. It couldn’t get any easier than that.

Of course, Apple being Apple, they included a little extra multi-touch swipe for nano users. If you clip the device on yourself and the screen is upside down, you can use two fingers to rotate the screen 360 degrees, so it is facing you.

The nano comes with icons for Playlists, Now Playing, Artists, Genius Mixes, Radio, Podcasts, Photos, Settings, Songs, Albums, Genres, Composers, Fitness and Clock.

The music settings give you options for Shake to Shuffle, Sound Check, EQ, Volume Limit, and one that I really like, Audio Crossfade.

Of course, the iPod nano has a Built-in FM Radio and a pedometer for those that use the device for exercising. It also features VoiceOver, another feature I’ve really come to like. If you have the Apple headphones with the Remote and Mic, you can even control the nano without touching the screen.

The iPod nano is without a doubt the big winner in the September releases for Apple. If it were up to me, everyone would have a nano.



  • enzo

    You might start with 180° to get the screen image the right way up. 360° is called an identity operation (E) in group theory – it does nothing!

  • Robb

    Did Apple abandoned the video camera on the Nano or is it still offering a Nano version with a video camera? I always thought that Apple might venture to compete with the form factor of the Flip MinoHD and the Kodak Zi8 and maybe enhance the upload to Facebook, YouTube, MobileMe software sharing capabilities to make the Nano platform more specifically a video recording one. But, it seems, they went in and entirely different direction with this postage stamp touch screen music player. I suppose it is aimed directly at the runner, fitness, workout in the gym market. I’m not sure what I think about the usefulness of this in the Apple iPod product line.

    • Eric

      I’m thinking I’m going to replace my iPod Shuffle with this, rather than another Shuffle. Or, if someone does come out with a watch band for it, it will replace my old, unreliable, Swiss Army Watch.

    • Scott Lewis

      Compete directly with the MinoHD and Zi8 as in release a small sensor, portable, no optical zoom HD palm sized camcorder? I doubt it. That said, the iPod touch is $299 for 32gb and does 720p video. The Zi9 is about to come out at $229 at Amazon, with a Transcend 32gb SDHC card an extra $78. The MinoHD is $229 with 8gb of memory.

      Certainly, both the Mino and the Kodak do 1080p video, although it’s fairly arguable whether or not you can get high quality 1080p out of such small sensors, in the same way that a crop sensor digital SLR doesn’t pull the same detail and resolution as a similar megapixeled full frame digital SLR, but there may be some that want 1080p no matter what the tradeoffs.

      For my money, I like the $300 iPod versus the $300 Kodak or the $230 Mino, since I also get… music, videos, games, apps, video chat, internet, email, rss feeds, etc.

      The old Nano had it’s charm, I suppose, but I never used the video features, and really stopped carrying it as I got my iPhone and iPod Touch. The new one is very attractive for running, etc, as it focuses on nothing but what I need – music and podcasts, super long battery life, and a size small enough that it needs the clip or I’d lose it.

      • Robb Mitchell

        It was a surprised when Apple came out with a Nano that had a video camera last year and the iPod Touch was still without camera or HD Video. My initial thought was that Apple wanted to get into the micro-video recorder market but they would need to upgrade to HD video as on the iPhone4. But they abandoned the Nano form factor all together as a video recorder and instead moved it to the iPod Touch and iPhone. You can buy the Kodak Zi8 right now for less than $120 on Amazon. I suspect they are moving their inventory in preparation for the new Zi9 but that’s aggressive pricing. I am a MinoHD owner but I do like the SD slot, audio input jack and replaceable Lithium battery options on the Kodak Zi8. The biggest problem with micro-video recorders is AUDIO QUALITY. All video sucks if it has poor audio recording quality.

  • PaceGst

    ooh wait! Not so fast! The Zune can do so many other blah blah lol I can’t even finish… love this new iPod!

  • Jim, I have to wonder how much of your positivity about the new Nano is driven by your previous ownership of the Apple earbuds with inline controls. The fact that Apple isn’t including them with this $149+ iPod is a pretty huge detractor for those who would need to pay an additional $30 to get that functionality. What’s worse, when you see these new Nanos on display at the Apple Store, they DO have the better headphones connected, even though they DON’T come with them, and there is no indication (yet) on the sales placards that this is the case.

    Also, and this is just my hunch, but I have a really strong feeling that people will have a weird “uncanny valley” reaction to this model, in that it looks “great,” but it doesn’t quite look “right” for what you should get for $150.

  • jocofee

    so, with no games, no web, and a 1.5 inch screen, WHAT THE HECK IS THE POINT OF THE FRIKKIN MULTITOUCH!!!!!!!!!!!! IT MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE, APPLE! AND COULDN’T YOU USE AN ACCELEROMETER AND GYROSCOPE TO CHANGE THE SCREEN ORIENTATION?

  • Is this for real? How can you navigate on a touch screen that’s so tiny? box cup