Apple iPod Nano 5th Generation
The original iPod Nano replaced the iPod Mini in 2005, and since it was released there have been four further iterations. Today’s Nano, the 5th
generation of its kind, comes in 8 and 16GB versions and retails on Amazon for around $140/$164.
Like the iPod Mini and every Nano before it, the new Nano is one of those ‘tween’ portable music players that isn’t particularly cheap and yet doesn’t have the large, video-friendly screen or the storage capacity of an iPod Touch or Zune HD. Ultimately, it’s something of a compromise.
The thing is though, that these days even ‘compromise’ MP3 players pack in an unbelievable amount of features in a small package (in the case of the Nano, that package is just 5 x 1.6 x 0.25 inches with a 2.2 inch screen). Here are some of the Nano’s:
- A video camera. This is a new feature for the Nano. It takes 640 x 480-pixel resolution video and with the built-in microphone you can record a soundtrack as well. The quality is not amazing, and holding the very thin Nano on its side by its edges is awkward, but if you have no other option for recording video and need to, then it might certainly be useful.
- A speaker for music and video playback (particularly good for playing back your own home movies).
- Voice recording with the built-in microphone.
- FM radio. This is another new feature for the Nano, and a welcome one. The Nano is capable of receiving RDS data as well, meaning that it can (where the radio station broadcasts it) display song and artist information. It also allows for song tagging so you can find the tracks later in iTunes, AND in something of a revolutionary additional feature it allows you to pause and later resume live radio for up to 15 minutes at a time.
- A pedometer.
- ‘Shake to shuffle.’ Turn this mode on, give the Nano a shake, and it shuffles to another song.
- Support for up to 12 ‘Genius Mixes.’ Genius Mixes are automatically generated playlists of songs taken from your library that iTunes thinks will go well together because of similarities in tempo, pace, style, era, and so on. The result is generally very good.
So: a lot of features packed into what is without question a very attractive polished aluminum package. But are there any downsides to this little powerhouse? Sadly, yes: its sound quality is not great; there’s no Wi-Fi connectivity; the video camera comes at the expense of a still camera; the included earbuds are bad; it’s not cheap, and the screen is still too small (and the device too awkward to hold sideways) for watching anything other than short video clips.
All of that notwithstanding, there’s a lot to like about the 5th generation Nano, and the style-conscious and the athletic in particular will likely be seduced by its compactness and it’s pretty exterior. And why not? The fifth time around, Apple have had a lot of time to get the Nano right, and it shows.