The iPod family has evolved spectacularly since it first made a splash in the portable media world nearly ten years ago and looking at the latest iPod nano, it is virtually unrecognisable from the original slightly-smaller-than-the-standard iPod device we first encountered back in 2005.
This member of Apple’s music player clan really has found its place in the market and taken ‘portable’ to a whole new level, and the best thing about this teeny tiny music maestro is that it doesn’t cut short on storage space or experience.
The iPod nano is designed for the ‘on the go’ user and its minuscule build of 37.5 x 40.9 x 8.78mm gives it ultimate pocket power status. We have to admit being a little concerned about keeping hold of the nano as its tiny size makes it vulnerable to slipping away undetected, so if you’re prone to losing things you may want to consider this factor carefully before giving one of these guys a home.
However, the bright metallic colour variants that the nano is available in makes it pleasing to the eye and a little easier to come across within the clutter of a bag or room. The smooth aluminium casing is soft to the touch and recyclable too, plus Apple has combated the previous faff of rummaging around in your pocket every time you want to change a song by installing a very sturdy feeling hinge clip onto the back of the device. It tightly attaches onto clothes, bag straps and the like for easier access to your music on the move and its strong grip reassured us that it would stay in place too.
The physical controls available on the iPod nano are straight forward. You’ll find a Sleep/Wake button plus individual volume controls at the top of the device and a 3.5mm headphone jack and charging port at the bottom. Unlike previous models, the nano has taken on a full touchscreen.
We were sceptical of the iPod nano’s 1.54 inch TFT touchscreen display at first mainly because it’s one of the smallest we’ve ever come across, making us question if it was in any way practical. Much to our surprise, it was incredibly easy to use, no doubt thanks to the Multi-Touch technology, once we got to grips with one finger use.
The nano takes on the similar icon based structure of Apple’s iOS software and even if you haven’t used this interface before, you’ll have little problems getting to know it, icons are perfectly spaced out for correctly selecting the option you’re after. While there’s no app store, the functions available are all you need for a compact music player and you can still customise the homescreens using the same press and hold process to move the icons around. There are individual options to listen to your tracks by song title, artist, genre or album and while a song is playing, you can simply tap on the display to bring up the control panel or if you fancy mixing it up a bit, shaking the nano will shuffle to a random track on your playlist.
The Genius playlist feature is one for music lovers as it chooses songs from your collection that go well together, creating an additional set of playlists to listen to on your nano. 8GB of memory offers plenty of room at the inn for your music collection and we quite enjoyed the nano doing all the DJing for us in that sense, even if it did bring up songs we would rather have forgotten about! Still, it’s a great way to make more of your music.
The iPod nano also acts as a fitness companion and doubles as a pedometer which calculates how many calories you’ve burned, your pace and how many days you’ve been training. You can even set up a step goal and track your progress online. It’s a thoughtful touch by Apple, as the nano’s compact design is ideal for taking for a jog or to the gym.
Usually FM radio’s aren’t really worth shouting about, but the live pause function available on the iPod nano was something we were keen to try out. There’s a dedicated control panel which you can use to pause the show you’re listening to, rewind up to 15 minutes of the recording and fast forward. The function doesn’t affect the quality of the paused material either. The FM radio has an autotune option which only picked up local radio stations from where we were oddly, but you could also scroll along the indicator at the bottom of the display to manually set a frequency.
Other tech specs:
- 24 hour battery life
- 8GB internal storage
- Adjustable backlight settings
- Mono Audio
- VoiceOver gesture based screen reading
- White on black display option
- Available in 6 colours
To be honest, we have no complaints about the iPod nano though we could see how its tiny physique may not suit all users. It was a little fiddly at first but we were soon away and the well designed, well laid out TFT display also quashed any concerns we had about its usability.
The iPod nano brings the next generation of Apple’s music players into the spotlight with a bang. It’s carefully crafted to ensure users get the most out of it despite its novelty size, and the built-in functions provide the perfect ingredients needed for it to shine.