Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
The iPod Nano product line is probably one of the products we find most interesting. Apple has constantly changed the form factor of the iPod Nano through the years. They’ve added a camera and removed it later on together with the constant change of the screen size. The newest iPod Nano is a very interesting device despite the pricing. Read our full review after the break to find out why.
Design and Construction
The 7th Generation of the iPod Nano was announced on September 12 along with Apple’s other products. The latest iteration of the product is heavier and harder to hold than the previous generation because of the new form factor. It is now longer at 3.01 inches because of the screen and the addition of an iPhone-like home button. Also, it is slightly narrower at 1.56 inches and is vastly thinner at 0.21 inches. However, once you have managed to grasp it within your hands, managing the device will be of ease.
The iPod Nano is made out of aluminum and will be available in different color combinations. Unfortunately, the iPod is only available in a 16 GB version. The unibody construction feels nice to hold but we got the impression that it might be prone to accidental scratches.
On the top portion of the phone, you can find the power button while on the left side you can find the volume rocker and the play/pause button which felt very responsive and distinctive. There’s nothing found on the right side while at the bottom side of the phone, you can find the 3.5 mm audio jack and the newly implemented Lightning connector port.
The glass protecting the screen is slightly raised from the aluminum casing while leaving a very small space in between which may catch some dirt and debris through day-to-day use.
The form factor of the new iPod Nano may disappoint some people though. The iPod can no longer act as a wearable item by default. It won’t stick to any pieces of clothing and surely, any accessory that would enable to make the iPod look like a watch will look too awkward (and obvious for students trying to hide their gadgets).
The device features a larger 2.5” 240 x 432 display which will give out a pixel density of 202 ppi. Text is acceptable for the most part but this is an indication that this isn’t really a device for people who have poor eyesight, especially with the small size. Navigation, however, is better than the previous generation and is quite responsive; you may now view more content on the screen than the 6th Gen iPod Nano.
The screen produces accurate whites but somewhat fails in producing deep blacks; this won’t be much disappointing though, because the iOS-like interface uses more whites than blacks (unless you invert the colors in the settings). Viewing the screen at certain angles may cause the colors to change but it won’t matter too much in everyday use.
It also fares well in broad daylight as long as brightness is set to maximum. The black line surrounding the display makes the screen look like it is pushed deeper into the device which may be a negative for some. Also, if you are very attracted to Apple’s Retina displays, you might also find the iPod Nano’s pixel density very lacking.
The interface of the iPod Nano borrows elements from the previous generation and improves a lot in other aspects. We find it weird that Apple changed the theme of the icons (including the home button’s logo) from being rounded rectangles to full round circles. This isn’t a downside in any way but we find it very unnecessary especially when Apple is known for making products very uniform.
Like iOS, the icons can be rearranged with a long press. The iPod brings back the ability to play videos, a feature that was removed in the previous generation. It also features the same apps found on its previous iteration such as Photos, Music, and Podcasts and so on. The Clock app is still available, but again, this can no longer replace your watch.
The home button offers much more functionality than bringing you to the home screen. At first, we thought that the iPod would be better off without the button but honestly, it’s very intuitive. By clicking the home button two times, it will get you back to your Now Playing screen; it’s a simple feature but is very welcome considering that it is a hassle to swipe to the right many times just to open another app. The iPod no longer works in landscape unless you are viewing a video.
Additionally, a long press on the play/pause button will cause the iPod to speak the song’s title and artist. It’s very accurate in its pronunciations and is a very neat feature.
The iPod Nano comes with Apple’s new Earpods. Unlike noise cancelling earphones, the Earpods doesn’t feel like it’s going to suck your eardrums out. It may seem like a gimmick at first, but in reality, the shape of the Earpods is very comfortable; it doesn’t feel weird in any way and it fits perfectly unlike the previous bundled earphones.
When we tried the Earpods on different devices aside from the iPod, music elements were very distinct. The bass was deep while the treble was sharp. Elements were very identifiable as we listened to our favorite songs; we noticed certain entrances of instruments we didn’t notice before.
The same things were also noticed when we tried the Earpods on the iPod Nano. However, while playing songs that focused on sharp treble sounds such as cymbals, we noticed that the iPod Nano plays music slightly clearer than most of the devices that we tested the Earpods on.
Also, the sound production was loud at maximum volume settings. It was like playing music with speakers at a low volume. It’s also impressive how the music doesn’t hurt your ears as much, even on maximum volume.
On the other hand, video playback feels cramped. People will have the tendency to get uncomfortable watching after a short while. However, it’s still a welcome feature and will probably be of use for those that want to bring with them their movies inside their pockets. Media can also be played using other devices through Bluetooth.
Battery & Conclusion
We synced the iPod, put the brightness and played the music at maximum levels for 5 hours straight until the battery gave up. Of course, not everyone puts their devices at maximum settings. Expect two days of regular use with this device at normal settings.
The newest iPod Nano doesn’t improve much in many things but we can think of it as a mutation of the older iPods. It features a new form factor, a larger screen and a few small improvements such as a home button.
There is no competitor to the new iPod Nano other than the previous model. If you opt for wearable tech, you might find yourself happier with the 6th Generation iPod Nano.
If you’re someone who is looking for a very compact device that can play your music flawlessly and your videos (even with a bit of compromise), the 7th gen iPod Nano is a great candidate. However, if you don’t need the bigger screen and the thinner and longer form factor, you might want to keep your money first as the iPod Nano retails for Php8,290 in stores.
Apple iPod Nano (7th Generation) specs:
2.5-inch LCD touch screen display @ 240 x 432 pixels, 202 ppi
16 GB internal storage
31 grams (weight)
76.5 x 39.6 x 5.4 mm (dimensions)
What we liked about it:
- Thin and light
- Larger display
- Functional UI and home button
- Outstanding sound quality
What we didn’t like about it:
- No longer wearable
- Aluminum construction is prone to scratches
- Quite expensive for a media player