Jump to content
Hondo's Bar

The Gadget Garage


Recommended Posts

This pinned topic will serve as the depot for all gadgets, ipod's, surround sound music goodies and their reviews and etc. Post em all here...




The iPod Nano



By Michael Kobrin from PC World


Once again, Apple has come up with a design that turns heads. Enter the iPod nano. But this was a relatively easy one for the designers, if not the engineers: They took the full-size iPod and made it really, really slim. We measured it at just 80 cents thick—that's 3 quarters and a nickel, or 0.27 inches for you traditionalists—by 5 dimes long (3.5 inches) by 2 pennies wide (1.6 inches). According to Apple, that's 62 percent smaller than the now-discontinued iPod mini the nano is replacing. It weighs just 1.5 ounces, and it really does fit in the smaller front pocket of your blue jeans without the slightest bulge. A few things changed—some compromises in the name of miniaturization and some actual improvements—but the end result is a spectacular product. Sure, it doesn't have an FM tuner or voice recording, but it does have an unsurpassed interface, a color screen, excellent sound quality, and an undeniable cool factor. Plus, it's flash-based, so you don't have to worry about skipping or dead hard drives.


We received the black model for testing, but we were slightly disappointed to find that the included stock Apple earbuds have retained their distinctive "mug-me" white. A nice touch is that the icon that showed up on our desktop was black. The iPod nano doesn't support syncing via FireWire; instead, a message comes up telling you to please use the included USB cable. It still charges via FireWire, though. Upon first connection, our 4GB model had 3.7GB available for storage, with the remaining space being used for system files. It took us only 1 minute 6 seconds to transfer 512MB of MP3 files via USB 2.0.



One of the biggest additions for Microsoft Windows users is that the iPod nano syncs with Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express contacts and calendars (in addition to those from iCal, of course). We had absolutely no trouble doing so, and contacts are sortable by first or last name. Games include the same old Brick, Music Quiz, Parachute, and Solitaire. The stopwatch, however, is a very cool new feature, especially considering that the nano is ultratiny and flash-based—ideal for working out. It can record lap times as well, and then saves them along with a date and time stamp. When you go back and view your recorded times, it also shows you your shortest, longest, and average lap in addition to your total time and individual lap times. The iPod nano also boasts a world clock which displays the time in analog or digital. Another handy feature is being able to adjust the audiobook reading speed.


Apple added a security measure called Screen Lock, which is a graphical combination lock for which you create a 4-digit code. The click wheel provides just the right amount of sensitivity so you don't scroll through the numbers too fast. After you set the lock, you can still use the Play/Pause button but nothing else. Your code pops up on the screen each time you choose Turn Screen Lock On from the menu as a reminder; this is handy but doesn't provide particularly robust security.






Subjective sound quality is nearly identical to that of the final-generation iPod mini, which is to say, excellent. Music is clear, with very solid bass and crisp highs. The stock Apple earbuds perform adequately, though the player can definitely handle high-end headphones with aplomb (the plug of our Etymotic ER4P canalphones, however, is actually slightly wider than the player itself!). There are 22 preset listening modes, so we think most users won't miss a customizable equalizer. The bass booster provides enough extra depth for thundering bass such as that found in some electronic music, though we heard significant harmonic distortion on the low end that noticeably altered the music. But the sound is plenty good enough with the EQ off.


On our formal tests, the iPod nano actually outperformed the 6GB iPod mini, with a slightly cleaner signal and better response in the lowest octave than its predecessor. Our square-wave test also showed that the output stage is significantly stronger than the mini's when loaded with Apple's stock earbuds but not as strong as that of the iPod shuffle, which has a different type of output. Apple rates the battery life at 14 hours of continuous audio playback, and it can fast-charge to 80 percent in 1.5 hours.


Photos sync easily and quickly via iTunes; just select the iPod tab in Preferences, and then choose Photos. The 176-by-132-pixel 1.5-inch screen is about 0.2 inches smaller than the iPod mini's, but it gains color; photos look sharp and vivid, though we're still wishing for pan and zoom capabilities. Format support is still admirably broad, encompassing JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, PSD (Mac only), and PNG. It can do slide shows with music, customizable slide times, and several different transitions.


Naturally, there are already a few accessories for the nano, including lanyard headphones (yes, it's wearable, via the headphone jack on the bottom of the device), a nano Dock, nano armbands, and nano Tubes (silicone cases). The cases are a good idea, as we've already covered our shiny new nano in fingerprints. And we're sure third parties will begin shipping other add-ons soon. Thankfully, the nano retains other iPod models' standard 30-pin dock connector, so it'll work with many existing accessories. It also ships with a plastic insert so you can use the nano with your existing iPod docks. Apple did not include any voice-recording features, however, so you won't be able to plug in third-party microphones. Nor will you be able to use add-ons that use the other iPods' 4-pin remote control connector, which is missing on the nano. (That means no remote, either.)


At $199 for the 2GB version and $249 for the 4GB version (both available in black or white), we feel that Apple has made an incredibly satisfying product. We were so impressed that we're awarding it our Editors' Choice award. Sure you can get a 20GB full-size iPod for $299, but the benefits of an extremely small size and no moving internal parts easily justify the price

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...