4.0 star rating

Apple iPod Nano (3G) Review

149
Pros: Much better screen than predecessor; Good battery life; Attractive new interface; Best-in-class music-management software
Cons: Display too small for extended viewing; Click Wheel partially obscured when used with some docks; No FM radio
The Verdict: The world's most popular flash-based music player now does video, but it's the size and unparalleled ease of use that will win you over.

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

Apple's third-generation iPod nano boasts video capability and a larger screen, vastly improving on its predecessor. It also sports a snazzy new split-screen interface, revamped graphics, and a short, squat design--though it's still slim as ever. This extremely sleek player comes in 4GB ($149) and 8GB ($199) flavors, but not 16GB as of this writing. Although some compelling alternatives are cropping up, the nano is still our favorite flash-based music player.
 
The iPod nano's anodized aluminum front has rounded edges and a two-inch screen, while the back is polished stainless steel, much like the first-generation nano. The player measures 2.8 x 2.1 x 0.3 inches--shorter and wider than the previous model, though roughly the same volumetrically. Apple brought the Hold switch down to the bottom of the player and thoughtfully moved the dock connector to the center of the bottom, so it looks more symmetrical when the device is sitting in a dock.
 
The main menus are now two-paned; the left side is for text, while the right displays panning and zooming images pulled randomly from album art, videos, and photos. In the Settings menu, you get handy graphical representations of each setting. Best of all, in Song and Album views, you can now see artist names in small lettering beneath titles.
 
Cover Flow is another cool addition, letting you browse by album art, but the images don't display immediately. With the most recent firmware update, Cover Flow glides quite smoothly once all the images are buffered in the nano's memory. This process took a couple of seconds on our 8GB model. We also like being able to access Shuffle mode by pressing the center select button repeatedly while a song is playing.
 
The sound quality on our test tracks was very good, with no audible system noise. The included earbuds aren't great, but we got excellent results by swapping in our Shure SE420 in-ear headphones. Our test videos of Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Chappelle's Show were adequately smooth on the small but brilliant two-inch LCD. Colors looked realistic enough, but the sharpness was really impressive, thanks to the 204-pixel-per-inch display. We just don't see many people viewing videos for more than a half hour at a time on this device, despite the rated five hours of battery life.
 
The iPod nano's photo features haven't changed significantly, and it still lacks an FM tuner and voice recorder, though existing accessories for those features work fine with the new model. There are some games for the nano at the iTunes Music Store in addition to the three included with the firmware, but older games (such as those for the 5G iPod video) don't work on the latest round of iPods. Be aware that even though this nano should fit in all docks, the shorter body causes the Click Wheel to be partially obscured when the nano is sitting in some docks.
 
Samsung (with its stereo-Bluetooth push), Creative (bigger display), and iRiver (cool D-Click interface) all offer solid flash players--and we'd like to see how the rumored flash-based, Wi-Fi-capable Zune performs. But the Apple iPod nano is an excellent little player that has enough features, ease of use, and sex appeal to keep it ahead of the pack.
 
 
Suggested Stories:
iPod nano Alternatives
Article Continued Below

Three challengers (Creative Zen, Sony Walkman A810, Toshiba gigabeat T400) go up against the reigning PMP champ, the iPod nano.
 
Apple iPhone Review
The iPhone is the ultimate iPod and delivers an amazing Internet experience, but it’s not the best smart phone.

I Gave Up My iPod for a Music Phone
A music fan trades in his iPod mini for the LG Muziq to see if it's worth the switch.
 

Tags: Apple iPod Nano (3G), Apple, PMPs, MP3 Players, reviews, portable media player, portable media players

Technical Specifications
Apple iPod Nano (3G)
www.apple.com


Display2 inches
PC InterfaceUSB
Audio FormatsAAC; MP3; WAV
Battery Typerechargable
Battery Life24 hours audio, 5 hours video
Wi-FiNo
BluetoothNo
IRNo
FM RadioNo
FM RecordingNo
Voice RecordingNo
Memory TypeFlash
Memory Capacity4GB/8GB
Size2.8 x 2.1 x 0.3 inches
Weight1.7 ounces
FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE