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.

Apple iPod Nano comparison (3rd generation model on the left)Apple iPod Nano comparison (3rd generation model on the left)

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.
"Cover-flow" graphics"Cover-flow" graphics

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.
The 3rd generation Nano supports videos, TV shows, and video podcasts (Vodcasts)The 3rd generation Nano supports videos, TV shows, and video podcasts (Vodcasts)

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) .
Available colorsAvailable colors

Expert ratings for the iPod Nano (third generation)

Cnet: 8 out of 10 (Excellent)
MobileTechReview: 4.5 out of 5
MacWorld: 4.5 out of 5
RegHardware: 80 out of 100
PCMagazine: 4.5 out of 5

Cumulative score: 8.1 out of 10

Photos: Apple and PCMagazine

Update: The iPod Nano is constantly being improved and upgraded. You can find the latest version of the iPod Nano here. 

Joe Eitel's Gadget Blog

Dec 26, 2007
by Dee (not verified)

My 3rd Generation IPOD failed after 1 week!!!

My brand new Nano that I got on Dec. 14, 2007 totally died. Nothing works, nada on nano works!!! I thought the battery was dead so I connected to the computer with the power USB cable but it does not even register on the computer. It's dead. Any other reports of this problem? I hope mine is an isolated case and I am sure when I bring it back to Apple they will replace it but what a bad start to my new nano experience!!!

Dec 28, 2007
by Heather (not verified)

Nano Battery

I got a nano 3rd gen for Xmas. And i charged it up like it says and the battery sucks! The first day i listened to it for an hour and the battery was fluctuating badly. By the second day it was in the red. And i hardly listened to it at all. So i charged it overnight and im still having battery troubles after such a short time of listening to it.! blah

Dec 30, 2007
by Tom (not verified)

3rd Gen iPod Nano 4gb issues with Vista

My new Nano is not showing up under Windows nor iTunes on my Visrta PC but works fine on my Windows XP laptop. iPod appears ok but problems appear to be related to Vista. I've reinstalled iTunes. System literally locks up when I plug the iPod into the USB port but works fine when I unplug the iPod.

Dec 31, 2007
by Anonymous (not verified)

mine died after 1 week as

mine died after 1 week as well I'm taking it back in hopes that a second one will work just fine

Dec 31, 2007
by Jesant13 (not verified)

Awesome Product

My new Apple iPod Nano (3rd Generation + 4GB) works great! The only problem with it has something to do with my third-party AC adapter not allowing me to use the scrolling feature of the click wheel (the buttons on the wheel work though). It's not a hardware problem, since I also have a third-party car adapter and there are no problems with the click wheel when I use that.

Jan 1, 2008
by Erich (not verified)

Sound Quality

My sound quality sucks. The music sounds great on my PC but cracks and crackles on my 3rd gen 4G nano. It does this at all volumes. I plugged my ipod headphones straight into my pc to make sure the music was of a high quality, and the problem wasn't with a pair of bum headphones. As stated earlier, the music sounds great and the headphones work fine. I plan to contact apple asap. any one else experiencing this particular problem?

Jan 6, 2008
by janeice (not verified)

how many sons?

i want 1 how many song do they hold?

Jan 7, 2008
by Anonymous (not verified)

3rd gen IPOD FAILED X 2

I purchased the new IPod for my mother Dec 24th '07. I've been a big fan, and had no problems with my 2 Second Gen Nano purchases last year. I am NOT a fan of this new one! The first one failed as soon as I disconnected it from my PC. I just returned it today, and arrived home with the new product. After spending two hours trying to set this up for my mother yet again, it failed! I am simply taking it for a refund. This is too much of a headache to deal with.

Jan 25, 2008
by Anonymous (not verified)

tell me plz

apple nano ipod 3rd generation 4gb how much?can tell me please?...thank you

Feb 9, 2008
by Anonymous (not verified)

Ipod not registering on computer!

ive taken my ipod on holidays and when i plug it into a computer's usb port nothing happens! what can i do to make it charge and play music on different computers?

Feb 11, 2008
by cloverchild (not verified)

i had the same problem with

i had the same problem with mine around xmas, i bought it in sept when first released. i put it on my docking station and it charged from there, but not on the computer. So the issue seemed fine at first. But now the effing battery dies within ten minutes of playing time on a full charge. ive tried updating the software and stuff but it still does it. i think apple dropped the ball and released this before it was ready. im hoping i can get an exchange or refund for mine. i hope you have better luck with yours

Feb 18, 2008
by rosa (not verified)

ipod nano 3rd generation has a very short battery life!!!

can anybody tell me why my batter goes out so easily???!?!!! (it's a 3rd generation ipod nano with 8 GB ) i only used it for like 2 hours and it's at the end like red..i thought ipod batteries are supposed to be strong and can last for around 5 hours! ..but mine didnt even meet half of 5 hours! any ideas ? help!!!

Feb 29, 2008
by Anonymous

my ipod works fine...but

i purchased a 4gb nano but it is holding 7.4gb worth of music and video..this is really really kool. i think it has sumthing to do with the new software. but either way im enjoying this

Mar 23, 2008
by Anonymous

whats the white plastic thing for that comes with it

you know the white thing that comes witht the ipod nano 3rd gen whats that for... ? u know the dock sorta thing ...

Mar 30, 2008
by Anonymous

how many songs does an 4gb ipod hold? like the new nano one?

i have been trying to figure this out for a long time!! does anybody know?

Apr 20, 2008
by Anonymous

white plastic thing

what is the plastic white thing that comes in the ipod's box

Apr 21, 2008
by Anonymous

Win xp crash when ipod attached - blue screen!!! help

I have just bought a 3rg generation ipod nano 8g. When I attach to the usb port my machine instanly crashes! I have an old ipod 20G which works fine.
Any suggestion. I have spen hours updating drivers without success. Same story every time. I have SP 2 installed and an upto date version of i tunes too.

May 15, 2008
by Anonymous

Answer for the white plastic thing

The white plastic thing that comes in the box with the 3rd Generation iPod Nano is an adjustment plate for some home stations. In other words, some of the docking stations for other iPods are the wrong shape for the 3g Nano to fit in, this plate makes that adjustment. Hope that helps!

Jun 19, 2008
by Anonymous

my ipod works great....

i haven't found anything wrong with it...pretty cool!

Jun 20, 2008
by Anonymous

dead after 1 week - really cool until then though

got a brand new 4g'er and pretty much just got it configured the way I liked it. I put it in sleep mode and it never woke up. Totally dead. Windows sees the hardware connection when I plug it in, but iTunes doesn't see it. The ipod itself has NO indication of anything happening (no charge indicator, nothing).

Jun 20, 2008
by Anonymous

ipod nano 3rd generation

Is the sound quality on all 3rd generation ipods bad? I would like to buy one for my self, but i am afraid that the sound will be bad. Also, do all 3rd generation ipods have a problem with their batteries? Please reply...

Jun 25, 2008
by Anonymous

no problems

reset the ipod

Jun 25, 2008
by Anonymous


that happened with me im mad at it now

Jun 26, 2008
by Anonymous

Completely dead?

i was listening to my ipod 3rd gen. on the way home today. turned it off. stared listening to it 30 minutes later, and then nothing happened, so i figured it was just dead, however, NOTHING lights up at been connected to the pc for about an hour, and still nothing. Ive had mine since september, and this is really the first and only problem ive had with it, but if i take it back to the apple, will they replace it, or tell me i need to send it somewhere?

Jul 5, 2008
by Anonymous

i can't get windows xp or vista

I recently bought a 4g ipod nano 3rd generation without knowing that you needed windows xp or vista to use it. I am not able to get the xp working at this time and do not feel like going out to buy vista. Is there any possible way to get my ipod working on my computer without xp or vista?

Jul 7, 2008
by Anonymous

pixels going dead

the new i pod nano was gifted to me a 4 days back, i have noticed on a black screen, that there are a few pixels dead...... and, the ipod nano seems to hang very often, especially when listening to a song and you want to go back to the main menu.....i hope apple give's me a replacement for the same........

Jul 7, 2008
by Anonymous

Battery Problems r a false alarm.

As with any iPod, the battery indicator in the top right corner is a VERY poor indicator of actual battery life remaining. I have a 5th gen 30GB video and it lasted me 6 hours video playback whent he indicator was red. I assume it is the same with your model. TIP: NEVER BUY ANYTHING WITHIN A MONTH OF IT'S RELEASE. It takes time for mistakes to be reported and corrected on a large scale.

Jul 14, 2008
by Anonymous


hey anyone..
how do i put radio on my ipod nano (3rd gen 4gb)
i really want fm radio and everone says i can get it but no one knos how ... can anyone help?

Aug 1, 2008
by Anonymous

me 2

same ipod, same problem, all these ipods hav this sucks im gonna get a new one

Aug 1, 2008
by Anonymous

did someone say "problem?"

typical as apple gets, it makes a product to satisfy small minded people who just "have" to watch video's on the go. if they dont make something with that feature, which also stores photos, and music, and games, and might even wipe you after you use the toilet, people wont be happy. (well I'm sure people would be happy with a simple mp3 player, buy ipod just must raise the bar to make massive sales margins). the result of this massive mass production is simple. "it doesnt work".

just like the speakers on mac desktop computers. I think they should uninstall speakers on the floor models so noone finds out how horrid they sound.

boycott apple ipods; no other brand has had as many manufacturer flaws per capita.