iPod Nano

Our current (now “old) iPod is a 3G model. It holds 10GB of music, and is quite large and chunky. It’s not TOO big by any account and it does what it does well enough. The iPod Photo is nice as it has a colour screen but I don’t see me ever wanting to carry around 1000 photos on a gadget… that’s like the worst “wallet” photos ever.

The scene, two travellers sitting at a bar in a hotel, chatting about life and family:
“So, you got pictures of your kids?”
“Yeah, let me just dig out my wallet, here ya go…”
“They’re cute, hang on and I’ll show you a few photos of mine”
Takes out iPod Photo. Bores the other guy to death after the first 274 photos. Is a bit miffed because there were another 561 for him to see.

I digress.

The iPod mini is about a third of the size of our old iPod (the 3G one, do try and keep up) and comes in a lot of nice colours. My sister has one and it’s very nice indeed. However the justification for buying one just wasn’t really strong enough. It was a little smaller but held a lot less music – the discussion about the ideal size for an MP3 player is still open, suffice to say that I only once managed to fill the 10GB iPod and didn’t listen to even a third of the music.

Then along came the Nano. Aside from the weird name it was teeny tiny, you can see it here next to our “old” iPod, had a colour screen so it can handles photos (if that floats your boat) and display CD covers. Sure it was only 4GB but it was soooo much smaller than our “old” iPod that I felt there was some justification into begging and pleading discussing the possibility of purchasing one.

Yes I was aware that my birthday was coming up but I figured we’d have to shuffle some cash first to make a nice “iPod Nano” sized gap in our budget – we’ve got a busy couple of weeks coming up with wedding and birthday presents to buy, not to mention that looming holiday season in December (yes we DO think about that now, rather than have to survive on rice and water in January!).

Anyway, enough of that, what’s it like!? I hear you cry. Well there is little else to say other than it looks very small and fragile. OK, I’m lying, there’s a lot to say, but not much of it is new.

First a couple of photos, one to show you the size difference compared to our “old” iPod and the other to show you the difference between the screens (this photo doesn’t do the Nano screen any justice, it’s very crisp and sharp).

If you ever used ANY iPod the Nano will feel very familiar. As I’ve not used any of the newer varieties, there are a couple of things for me to get used to, not least the lack of buttons as every thing is controlled from whizzing your thumb round the scroll pad – which feels ohhh so very subtley different from the rest of the fascia – and the newer features of the iPod software.

One addition, which I THINK is new, takes its cue from the iPod Shuffle. At the bottom of the main menu is the option to “Shuffle Songs”. Select this the iPod will play through all the tracks in random order. Smart. That means I can have albums as playlists, and listen to them in album order, or just hit “Shuffle Songs” and have my own radio station.

Sound wise it’s as competent as ever, no surprise there, but I would suggest getting better headphones – I have a pair of Sony MDR-ED21s which suit my ears just fine.

Most of all the iPod Nano BEGS to picked up. I still can’t really get over how diminutive it is, and how fragile it seems*. I think, now, Apple has one of the better MP3 players on the market. Previously I’d have agreed that they were trading on the name, the hype, the marketing but now, with improved battery life, ENOUGH space for most people, and a true “put it in your pocket” portability the rest of the market will need to catch up.

One thing to note: no more firewire support. USB only (2.0 preferred). And the only reason I bought a firewire card for my PC was…. for the “old” iPod! Guess I’ll need to get me a USB 2.0 card now.

More info:
* Thankfully Ars Technica have “stress tested” an iPod Nano
iLounge review (was iPodLounge)
AppleXnet – iPod Nano Dissected
Top 10 Reasons why I need an iPod Nano