Product review: iPod nano

25 Sep 2007

A lot can change in two generations: Ireland discovered the Frappuccino and the iPod Nano got a little video.

Despite having the added ability to play video, the new third generation iPod Nano is the smallest, slimmest and most stylish iPod to date.

In truth it is a thing of pure beauty, and it differs from previous incarnations in both function and appearance.

This tiny gadget has a new improved operating system with the ability to view photos, watch any kind of MP4 format video including full length movies, and of course play your music, audio books and podcasts.

At two inches, I found the screen more than adequate for viewing video and at no point was I squinting or bringing it closer to my eyes.

All colours displayed nice and brightly and quality didn’t diminish in strong daylight.

If you’re eager to try out the video function and have nothing to hand, get some free video podcasts from the iTunes Store, there is plenty of decent content including the Best of You Tube — perfect mindless entertainment when you’re stuck on public transport.

The new ‘Cover Flow’ feature means that you can flick through your music collection by the album covers, just like in the iTunes application, a cute addition, if not essential.

It also allows the user to download games from the iTunes Store and has three new games thrown in including iPod Quiz: a pretty addictive movie and TV show trivia game.

The exterior has been changed completely with the two-inch display and a very streamlined 69.8 by 52.3mm size and comes in five colours: silver, blue, red, black and green.

Funnily enough I showed the almost credit card-sized Nano to five different guys and the first remark made by every single one of them was: “Wow, it’s small enough to fit in your wallet.”

Interestingly most of the women that saw it remarked on how easy it would be to fall out of your bag or get scratched, practical observations that make you wonder why it didn’t come with some kind of cover.

Obviously if you already own an MP3 player the main reason for buying the new Nano is to watch videos. Although only MP4 format will play on this, there are several converters out there and it’s possible to watch your favourite movies and TV shows.

There are two models: the 4GB and 8GB, and they are both nicely priced, at €149 and €199 respectively although the 4GB only comes in silver.

If you’re going to be storing any amount of TV shows or movies on this I’d recommend going all out and getting the 8GB which will hold about eight hours of video.

I suspect a few Apple fans may bypass this for the iPod Touch which is due out at the end of this month but for price, size and function the new Nano should have no problem flying off the shelves.

Pros: Great price for a video/MP3 player.
Cons: Doesn’t come with cover, dock or AV power cable.

By Marie Boran