5th Gen iPod Nano Review
This is the 4th time that Apple upgraded their most popular media player, the iPod Nano 5G. I previously thought there’s nothing more you can add to this small media player but looks like Apple still has a couple more tricks up their sleeves.
Apple sent me a review unit last week and here are some of my observations about the new iPod Nano.
The exterior design has not changed since the previous one (see review of iPod Nano 4G), except for the addition of a VGA video camera and pinhole mic at the back. That, and the 2.2″ screen size.
Here are several sample videos recorded with the iPod Nano:
The videos are a little washed out and even playback on the Nano gives an impression it’s in greyscale and not color (even if it is). I think it’s decent and the frame rate is good enough considering it’s just VGA (0.3MP). The recorded videos can be accessed via File Manager when Disk Mode is enabled on the device. File format is MP4 and encoding is MPEG-4, 640×480 resolution at 29fps. Audio is stereo at 44kHz with a 128 bitrate.
The placement of the camera and mic at the back still puzzles me. Putting them at the bottom left end of the backside is counter-intuitive — I always end up covering the lens whenever I shoot. The pinhole mic picks up sound pretty well but there’s a significant amount of static noise that goes along with it.
The FM radio tuner works as expected and fixing on a channel/station is easy with the scroll wheel. However, you will need the earphones plugged in for it to work as it serves as a radio antenna.
The built-in speakers are hidden somewhere but from inspection, it seems the volume is strongest at the bottom end (cable port). It’s usable but not very loud nor has any semblance of bass either (better than no speakers at all). Speakers won’t work with radio as well since the earphones must be plugged in.
As for the other new features like the pedometer may only be useful when you’re a big fitness buff. Of course, there’s also the Nike + iPod Sports Kit package for runners. The VoiceOver, implemented earlier with the Shuffle, tells you the title and artist of the songs you listen to.
As for the sound performance of the player, there aren’t any improvements in that department (compared to the 3rd and 4th generation). Same with the earphones. I guess Apple focused more on adding those new features instead of impressing the audiophiles.
Nonetheless, if I said that the 4th generation wasn’t a worthy upgrade before, this 5th generation sure does offer a plethora of value-added features to make it a worthy buy. At the Apple Philippines Online Store, the 8GB iPod Nano is priced at Php8,790 and the 16GB at Php10,490.