Review: Apple 3G iPod nano

Recently I decided to upgrade my 2nd generation ipod nano with a 3rd generation one. Not that I had a problem with my old nano, but it just seemed too outdated -just after one year- with no video playback capabilities and only 2GB of memory.

The new nano is as thin as its predecessor, but it looks a little bit thinner due to the rounded corners. Its much shorter though, and with bigger display which led to a much smaller clickwheel. New nano is powered with a 2″ display with 320×240 resolution and 204 pixels per inch. Although the display is small, its high resolution makes it comfortable for viewing movies or movie trailers. If you run the latest ipod software alongside with the latest iTunes version, you can rent movies and watch them within 30 days.

3G Nano’s software is completely updated and reminds of the ipod’s software. Cover flow lets you navigate easily through your albums (assuming that you have them well organized with covers and artist information). Cover flow runs smoothly but it is a little bit slow, especially if you have too many album artworks. If you find the built-in display small, the new nano can be connected to your HDTV, via a component cable (which is sold separately). When viewing movies on your ipod, there is an option to enable zoom (pan and scan) and get rid of the letterbox (black lines above and below the movie due to 16:9 format) but that cuts part of the movie information (a small piece from the right and a small from the left).

Navigating through nano’s menu is easy and screenshots of album artworks, photos and animated menus are everywhere. New graphics make navigation easier. Pre-installed applications are almost the same with the previous nano, but with better graphics: Global watch, photo slider, calendar and contacts (can be synced with Outlook or Entourage), notes and three games: Music Quiz (which is completely updated and is my favorite game in the new nano), a 3D version of the brick game and a completely redesigned solitaire.

Sound quality is great as with all ipods. I think that low-frequencies (bass) sound better here and that volume can be adjusted louder than the older nano. Songs can be browsed in any imaginable way: by artist, creator, genre, album, etc. Music transfer from your PC/Mac to your ipod is done via itunes software.

Battery lifetime is the same with 2nd gen ipod nano and lasts for up to 24-hours music playback and 5-hours video playback. That is nice if we consider that 3rd gen nano’s display is much brighter. Although if you use your nano for playing games, battery lasts for 3-4 hours. Nano is charged using the USB cable. What is liked is that while nano is charging, display’s light remains turned on, letting you know when your nano is charged, even if you have not exported it from itunes. Battery indicator appears also in iTunes. The device can be used (like every ipod) as portable flash drive for transferring data. Note that when you carry your nano, you should take care of the back surface, because it can be easily scratched.

Nano package contains the basics: USB cable (used for charging, syncing and data transferring), earphones (same with the previous version), dock adaptor and a brief manual. Full operating instructions can be found in apple’s website in pdf format. New nano is available with 4 or 8GB of memory. 4GB model costs $149 and is available in silver color only and 8GB costs $199 and is available in a variety of colors.

In general I can say that if you own an older nano, upgrade worths it, especially if you are going to use your ipod for movie playback. Better sound quality, smaller size, brighter display and battery lifetime should also be considered to pros.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Apple 3G iPod nano

  1. Bob k

    Great write-up! I own a 3g nano red 8GB and it rocks! I do not have an older nano though to compare with, but the display rocks, and movies show perfect even in the 2″ screen of the nano!

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