Apple iPod Nano (Third Generation 4GB & 8GB) Review
Apple iPod Nano Sales are Growing
Apple released their newly redesigned iPod Nano back in September, and sales for this MP3 player were a bit slow at first but have begun to turn around during the holiday season. The Apple iPod Nano is now one of the top selling tech gadgets this holiday season.
Back in September, some Apple stores reported initial sales of only 200-500 of the new iPod Nanos of their initial stock of 1800-2500 units (source: AppleInsider). Apple executives were puzzled about the slow sales of the Nano which has gotten favorable reviews from just all of the technology reviewers.
Sales have greatly increased for the Nano during the holiday season, which Apple executives attribute to a recent strong interest in Apple products by consumers, such as the iMac and Mac OS X Leopard, and also because of Apple's strong partnerships with retailers like Best Buy (source: AppleInsider). Supply for the Apple iPod Nano are now running low, as this third generation MP3 player becomes more and more popular amongst consumers.
New Design of iPod Nano
The look of the third generation iPod Nano has gotten an extreme makeover. The new Nano still has the same click-wheel that has been so popular with iPods, but it's a quarter of an inch smaller than the previous Nano's click-wheel. This is probably because of the smaller body of the third generation Nano compared with its predecessor's which was much taller and skinnier.
The dimensions of the newest Nano are 2.75 by 2 by 0.25 inches, and it's as light as a feather. I like the new design of the Nano, and I think it's now a bit more portable than before. The body itself is made of an anodized aluminum material for the faceplate, just as previous models have had.
The most striking new feature of the Apple iPod Nano is its high resolution 2 inch screen which sports 320 by 240 resolution. Yes, this Nano is fully equipped to play videos, and the nice-sized screen is crystal clear and colorful.
The design of the menu system has also been completely revamped, and it now features some of the iPhone and iPod Touch's eye-pleasing graphics. One of the biggest new upgrades is the cover-flow graphics which work a lot like the iPhone's method of navigating through various songs and albums by actually flipping through the album covers. This is a very cool and innovative design, although it doesn't by any means speed up the process of searching for music - but it does look cool.
Features of iPod Nano
The best new feature of the Apple iPod Nano has got to be its support for videos. It will play videos up to a maximum of 640 by 480 resolution at speeds of up to 30 frames per second (DVD speeds). Videos look exceptionally well on the Nano's 2 inch screen, although watching full-length movies will leave you with a bad case of eye-strain trying to watch on such a small display. I would stick to video clips. Videos can be purchased at iTunes or from almost any other source, but you may need to use some video-conversion software to convert the video to a supported format.
Another new feature of the third generation Nano is its support for games, which can be purchased at iTunes. The Nano comes equipped with 3 games right out of the box: Solitaire, iQuiz, and Vortex. Games at iTunes currently cost $4.99 a piece, so choose them wisely.
Aside from these major changes, the iPod Nano is very much like previous models. You'll still get a ton of extras like the ability to create playlists, a new shuffle feature, and the ability to use the Nano as a USB flash drive for storing files. Some of the features that you won't see in this Nano is an FM radio, SD card memory expansion, and custom equalizer.
Performance and Sound Quality of the iPod Nano
The sound quality of the iPod Nano is above average, but it's not great. The lack of a customizable equalizer is remedied by the Nano's inclusion of over 20 preset equalizer settings. For the most part, sound quality is on par with previous Nano models. Most people should be happy with their Nano when it comes to sound quality.
The battery life of the third generation Nano is exceptional. Cnet tests showed 29 hours of audio playback and 6.7 hours of video playback. These test numbers are higher than Apple's ratings which are 24 hours for audio and 5 hours for video.
Is the Nano Worth the Money?
In one word "yes". This MP3 player is not perfect, but with the addition of video support it's definitely one of the top 5 flash players on the market right now. The third generation iPod Nano is available in a variety of colors and either a 4GB or 8GB memory capacity. If you plan on watching lots of video, I definitely recommend getting the 8GB rather than the 4 GB model. These new iPods are reasonably priced at about $149 (4GB) and $199 (8GB) .
Expert ratings for the iPod Nano (third generation)
Cumulative score: 8.1 out of 10
Photos: Apple and PCMagazine