iPod nano (Fifth-generation) review

Apple’s smallest screen-bearing iPod, the iPod nano, has evolved in impressive fashion. A highly capable and affordable performer in its previous two iterations, the fifth-generation (5G) iPod nano adds the kind of useful and entertaining features that will compel someone on your holiday list to sidle up and wheedle, “You know what I’d really like this year?”

Those features include a video camera and microphone mounted on the back of the iPod, an FM radio with buffering and iTunes Tagging capabilities, a larger screen, a built-in speaker, expanded accessibility support, and a pedometer for keeping track of your footsteps. Additionally, the £115 (8GB) and £135 (16GB) nanos come in an array of nine bright colors: silver, black, purple, blue, green, orange, yellow, pink and [Product] Red.

On the outside

The dimensions of the 5G nano are identical to that of its predecessor, the fourth-generation (4G) iPod nano. Yet, hold the two side-by-side and the 5G iPod appears to be taller than its sibling. Place them on a table and the illusion disappears. What creates this illusion is the 5G’s 2.2-inch (diagonal) display—0.2 inches taller than the screen found on the 4G nano.

The difference may not sound like much, but when you compare the two, you see that Apple has taken advantage of the extra space by enlarging the fonts and placing a little more space between menu items (as well as placing more items on the screen, in some cases). To accommodate the longer screen, Apple moved the clickwheel down a bit as well as made it a little smaller. Its position and size make it no more difficult to use than the previous nano.

The 5G nano's display (left) is longer than the 4G nano's display (right).

The obvious difference between the backs of the two models is the camera lens and microphone unit found on the bottom-left of the 5G nano. And the bottom of the newest nano has the headphone port on the left of the Dock connector (as you look at the display) rather than on the right side (its location on the 4G nano).

The other difference you’ll notice is that if you press Play without connecting your headphones, the 5G nano will play audio through a new, internal speaker. Its sound quality is comparable to that of the iPod touch—very tinny and useful only for previewing songs or, if you’re just this side of desperate, listening to the audio that accompanies the video you’ve just shot.

NEXT: Video camera


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