Apple has nicely segregated its iPod line targeting mapping the needs of the users. Amongst this line features iPod Nano, it sits nicely in between the no-frills Shuffle and small computer-like iPod Touch. iPod Nano is currently in its fifth generation and this time it boasts some new features that ups the Nano family from the rest of the lineup. The new features still absent from the whole iPod line are the inclusion of a camera for video recording and FM Radio. We managed to give it a thorough run and check if this ultra-slim video recording-cum-music playing device is worth the upgrade or not.
The iPod Nano is shipped in a small box that is bundled along with the standard iPod earphones, USB 2.0 cable for data transfer and charging, quick start guide and dock adapter.
As like most Apple products, iPod Nano too, fares high on the design front. Apple has retained the slim, tall form factor from the 4th generation but has integrated a tad larger screen in the same dimension. The wafer-thin iPod sports a 2.2-inch display as compared to 2-inch in 4th gen. There’s the same friendly click wheel located beneath the screen, 3.5mm headphone jack and USB charging/data transfer port at the bottom and hold button on the top.
As I said the screen in the newer generation is 0.2-inchers larger than previous iPod Nano. To add to it, the display has a higher resolution, is legible under direct sunlight as well as comes with adjustable contrast and brightness settings to make it easier to read in low light.
Using iPod Nano is a no-brainer. If you’ve used any of the display-equipped iPods before, surfing through iPod Nano will be a breeze. The PMP also integrates Apple’s touted Cover Flow UI. Cover Flow is activated when the iPod is tilted horizontally and though it’s a nice thing to have, Apple dropping the complementary UI wouldn’t hurt your overall experience.
iPod Nano’s music quality is just about perfect. There isn’t any substantial improvement in the audio quality but good at what it is currently selling for. Interestingly, the iPod Nano also has a loudspeaker, which is not as loud you’d expect but decent enough in a small room. Videos and pictures play flawlessly but it’s the small screen that could be dampener.
iPod Nano would’ve been a boring upgrade had there not been a camera. Camera is by far the most exciting addition in the iPod lineup but it still has a long way to go. For starters, Nano’s camera is only able to record video and not still images. The reason cited by Apple was that still camera sensors are not able to fit in such a small device. Though there’s a strong probability that Nano will be able to click still pictures in the next iteration.
Anyways, coming back to the present iPod Nano camera, for some strange reason, Apple decided to fit in the camera in the lower left of the backside. Due to its odd position, you’ll often find your finger being the spoilsport in your recordings but I guess you could overcome it over time. The camera is capable of recording VGA video (640×480) with AAC audio using the H.264 compression at 30fps. Now that’s nothing extraordinary but it can substitute as a handy camera in needful times. The camera also comes with 15 real-time special effects – Sepia, Black and White, X-Ray, Film Grain, Thermal, Security Cam, Cyborg, Bulge, Kaleido, Motion Blur, Mirror, Light Tunnel, Dent, Stretch and Twirl – that tries to compensate the satisfactory video quality. Check out the video sample below.
Another first for the iPod line is the inclusion of FM Radio with RDS. The FM Radio works as you expect but has couple of more nifty features that make iPod Nano’s Radio more interesting. First is the support of Live Pause that records up to 15 minutes of radio for you to listen again. However, Live Pause doesn’t store any of the recorded content. Changing radio stations or tuning the same station stops Live Pause from recording and play FM stations ongoing song. Another interesting feature is tagging the songs. Users can tag the songs and later buy it from iTunes when they sync it.
Additional iPod Nano features include pedometer to count off the daily steps with Nike+iPod support, Voice Memos, Genius Playlists and VoiceOver.
Summing it up, iPod Nano is currently available in 8GB and 16GB capacities and although this PMP may not be as superior as Apple’s iPod touch, it still is a good buy for those not seeking a huge screen, Wi-Fi, browser et al. It currently retails for Rs. 9,400 (8GB) and Rs. 11,200 (16GB).
Pros: Sleek Design, FM Radio, mic, Genius Mix
Cons: Camera can’t take stills, Video quality, price