Superslim and stury design; Built-in Nike+ App; Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility; FM tuner with live pause
Needs to sync with PC to get content; No clothing clip;
The seventh-generation iPod nano is deliciously slim and great for exercise, but it's pricey given the limited feature set.
Since its 2005 debut, Apple's iPod nano has had more facelifts than Joan Rivers. It's been tall, short, rectangular and square. For its seventh generation, the nano grows in height while shrinking in width. The new nano is the thinnest device Apple has ever made, and includes a 2.5-inch screen for controlling music, enjoying photos and watching videos. There's also an FM radio and built-in Nike+ fitness app and pedometer. So is the latest nano the best yet, or is this $149 MP3 player past its prime?
The seventh-generation nano's shape is a mix of both past and present. It takes the long rectangular design of the original nano and the touch screen of the sixth-generation to create a wholly new device. This time around, the screem measures 2.5 inches compared with the previous version's 1.5-inch display. A thin, glossy white bezel surrounds the display's top, left and right sides and stretches toward the nano's bottom.
Below the display is Apple's telltale physical home button, with a twist. Instead of the classic square icon at the center of the button, Apple uses a circle. The back of our nano was coated in green anodized aluminum. If that hue doesn't suit your style, the iPod nano is also available in slate, silver, purple, pink, yellow and blue. A (PRODUCT) RED version of the nano is also available for purchase with a portion of sales going to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa.
The only design weakness is that despite its clear focus on the fitness crowd, Apple has done away with the clip found on the previous-generation nano. Now. instead of allowing users to clip the nano to their clothing, you'll have to either get a third-party armband or lanyard or put the nano in your pocket. Apple hasn't listed any armbands or lanyards on its online store yet. Third-party options on Amazon.com cost around $15.
The nano offers users three customizable home screens, each of which can be filled with two columns of three apps. The first home screen has the Music, Video, Fitness, Podcasts, Photos and Radio apps. On the second, you get the Clock and Settings apps. To get the third page to appear, you'll have to drag and drop an app icon over to it. There are, however, no additional apps available for the nano beyond what the device comes with.
At the top of each page is an ever-present digital clock and the iPod's battery life indicator. If you're playing a song and exit to the home screen, a play icon will sit neatly to the left of the battery indicator. Speaking of exiting apps, users will no longer have to tap and hold the nano's display to get back to the home screen. Instead, you can simply press the home button. It's a welcome addition to the nano and far more intuitive.
The simple, but elegant touches Apple is known for adding to its apps are all present in the nano. In the Music app, for example, tapping the album art image while listening to a song will show a sub-menu that allows you to to set the song to repeat, activate the Genius function, set your playlist to random or navigate to the album tracklist.
This time around, Apple is only selling a $149 16GB version of the iPod nano; the 8GB option has been eliminated. In general, 16GB should be plenty of storage space for the average music lover. Start packing in multiple movies and TV shows, however, and you'll begin running short on space rather quickly.
In addition to its music player, the iPod nano includes an FM radio tuner, giving you the ability to listen to your favorite FM stations. To use the tuner, you'll have to connect the EarPods to the nano's 3.5mm headphone jack. We appreciated the FM app's Live Pause feature, which let us pause and rewind up to 15 minutes of our radio broadcast.
While the nano doesn't pack any external speakers, it does offer Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, so you'll be able to connect it any compatible wireless headphones, speakers or car stereo setup. Naturally, you can also connect the nano to any compatible stereo dock via its Lighting connector.
Video and Photos
Of course, with a 2.5-inch display, it can be difficult to see images from even a moderate distance. When held at arm's length, expressions on actors' faces were difficult to decipher. That said, we certainly don't expect most users to spend their time watching full-length movies on the nano.
The iPod nano's Photo app lets users load compatible photos to the device and play slideshows. Tap and pinch-to-zoom are fully supported, and you can even swipe to the right to view the next photo. Swiping to the left, as with the rest of the nano's menus, returns you to the previous menu.
We used the Nike+ app to see how many steps we took from our office to our home. When we connected our nano to our PC and started iTunes, we were immediately asked if we wanted to sync our Nike+ information with the
To provide some motivation, the iPod nano lets you set your own Power Songs, tunes meant to get you pumped up and power through those tough hills and keep you going when you begin to tire out. To activate your Power Song, just tap the Power Song button on the Nike+ screen. The song will then begin playing and the display begins to glow slightly.
Apple says the iPod nano's lithium-ion battery provides up to 30 hours of music playback or 3.5 hours of video playback when fully charged. During our time with the nano, we were able to watch videos for 3 hours and 40 minutes with the display brightness set to 40 percent before needing to recharge.
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|Display||2.5-inch 240 x 432 resolution display|
|PC Interface||Apple Lightning Connector|
|Audio Formats||AAC Protected|
|Audio Formats||MP3 VBR|
|Audio Formats||Apple Lossless|
|Battery Life||30 hours when fully charged|
|Size||3.01 x 1.56 x 0.21|