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iPod Nano 4th gen Review

When the new 4G iPod Nano was revealed, it didn’t made a positive impression on me. It wasn’t anything new at all. Still, I had to give it the benefit of the doubt and take it on a road test (I even got the “4GB collector’s edition” *heh*).

Apple reverted back to the old form factor and Steve Jobs claims it’s now even thinner. Technically, it is — at 6.2mm as opposed to the 3rd gen which is 6.5mm. The curved edges makes it seem much thinner though. It’s now made of anodized aluminum and plastic unlike the previous version which was steel and aluminum — that means it’s lighter (~37 grams vs. 49 grams.)

ipod nano 4g

Apple claims some improvements which I’ll tackle below:


  • Built-in Accelerometer. Just like the iPhone 3G, the 4G iPod Nano has an accelerometer that allows for cool new games that will use some “titling & shaking”.
  • Shake to Shuffle. With the built-in accelerometer, you can shake the iPod Nano to switch to the next music in your playlist. You need to shake it sideways (left & right) at least 3 times for it to work. It’s a nice cool feature.
  • Revised Interface. Because the new form factor is vertically oriented, Apple had to change the UI a bit. Image previews are now displayed at the bottom of the screen instead of the right side when scrolling across the menu. Not so much of an improvement really.
  • Voice Recorder. When plugged with a microphone, the 4G iPod Nano can record audio/voice. Works just fine with the iPhone heaphones that has a built-in mic. With the older iPods, you had to buy a separate plug-in device from 3rd party providers like Belkin.

ipod nano 4g ipod nano 4g ipod nano 4g

But there were some things that one needs to know before upgrading to the new iPod Nano or buying a new one for the first time.

  • Battery Life. Apple always make their new iPods with better battery life so I was expecting the song playback will be better than 24 hours. It wasn’t. In fact battery life was degraded with video playback — from 5 hours down to 4 hours on the new iPod Nano. I guess Apple thinks not many people watch videos on their Nano so it won’t disappoint customers. Either that, or the reduced weight shed off some battery capacity too.
  • Video Quality. The 4G iPod Nano has a screen display of 2″ in diagonal with a resolution of 320×140 pixels (at 204 pixels per inch) which is completely the same as the 3rd generation. However, since the new screen is curved, it has also affected the video quality. The uneven density of the glass somewhat reduced the contrast of the display. Comparing video playback between the 3G and the 4G turns out the former is slightly better. The 3rd generation iPod Nano has a more crisp quality and better contrast than the 4th gen Nano.
  • Firewire. Apple completely dropped Firewire (IEEE 1394) support for the iPod Nano. The older versions can at least use it for charging. Steve Jobs says everybody is on USB today so it doesn’t make any sense to still support their own standard.

ipod nano 4g ipod nano 4g ipod nano 4g

Over-all, I would say the 4th gen iPod Nano is not worth an upgrade. There aren’t enough compelling features for this new Nano. I was expecting some WiFi capability and FM radio support just like the older but competing Microsoft Zune. As for audio quality (asked in the comments below), there’s nothing new or impressive with this one. It lack the umph esp. in the bass — it’s practically the same as the 2nd and 3rd generation iPod Nano. Obviously, Apple did not improve on the audio chips since then.

For first time owners, the bigger capacity 16GB of the Nano might be of interest though. The new colors (9 in all) might also attract people looking for their favorite shade of pastel. Good thing is, the new generation of Nano will ultimately push the prices of the older Nanos down so it could be a good time to buy one.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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33 Responses

  1. Charles says:



    We all know what it can due because uh.
    It’s specifications is spread all over google.

    What does it sound like? How does it match to other players or other ipods?

    Is that hard to review about? Goodness.
    Mercy on you.

  2. Patrick says:

    @Charles: LOL!

    But I somehow agree with Charles. The article kind of bored me because it didn’t offer any info I didn’t already know. Or maybe it’s just because I really don’t like iPods in general so any article about them bores me to death. (Except for maybe the ipod touch.)

    Disclaimer: I use Creative players and they sound better than ipods IMHO. I’d really like to try the new Zune though.

  3. yuga says:

    @Charles & Patrick

    Frnakly, I hesitated to publish this review as the new iPod Nano did not offer anything much. The sound is as unimpressive as the older versions. Apple used the same audio chips. The only observations I could visually and categorically confirm is the video quality.

    Everything else is same old, same old.

  4. Obed says:

    Yesterday I went to a mac store and saw this, “oh new nano…” now I saw this article, “oh new feature, shake and shuffle nice nice… wait, shake… next song? What if I go to gym will it go to the next song and next song and next song if it’s attached in my bicep belt?” Just wondering, abe can you answer this? :)

  5. yuga says:


    The shake to shuffle feature is very specific — you need to shake it 3 times sideways with a minimum speed. It has to be sideways and it has to be at a certain minimum speed. If you shake it any other way or slower, it won’t work.

  6. digitalmac says:

    The “shake to shuffle” feature can be turned on or off. So if you listen to music while jogging, turn it off.

  7. Obed says:

    Just went back to Mac store, you can turn of the shake to shuffle by activating the hold switch… :) Stupid me hehehe

  8. musiclover says:

    I’m a Walkman addict, it sounds better than the iPod, you guys should try it. Its really worth it. :)

  9. shashank says:

    yeah it a nice gadget i have the same too.it has cool feature with rocking sound quality

  10. shanky says:

    i have one too.it is a cool gadget with great sound quality.

  11. TonyTe says:

    Same sound chips? Nothing impressive, I guess. The Creative Nano actually has better sound that this thing but I bet this new iPod will sell millions again because of the new gimmicks.

  12. Nice:)

    It is very difficult to read in English, but i am try:)
    from Russia

  13. Antonio says:

    Hola, ya era hora de que alguien dijese que se la pantalla tiene menos nitidez y contraste, porque no he visto mas noticias relacionadas. Yo adquiri el 4g teniendo el 3g y me di cuenta enseguida de que le faltaba un punto de nitidez, asi que puse dos videos iguales en cada ipod y efectivamente, e incluso tiene el color mas vivo el 3g, y para colmo en mi coche que es un golf serie V el 4g cuando lo conecto me dice que no se puede cargar la bateria en el vehiculo y el 3g si,

    Un saludo

  14. Ms Anonymous says:

    For me, iPod is not actually the best mp3 player on the market. But why people love those? It’s like everyone would normally have one. But I think, many people are just buying iPod because of its “brand,” not actually the product itself. If we say a person has an iPod, maybe you’d think he/she is rich or sossy. Sadly, it had become a public status for many of us.

  15. chanapong says:

    organce ipod nano is small and beautiful, my fun for music

  16. jctechcom says:

    Hi, Im confused whether to buy this 4th gen or 3rd gen…. I like the square factor from the 3rd gen. this one looks too long hehe

    I have a shuffle now, I like this because I can just strap it in my shoulder bag…

    I’d like to ask can i buy like a neck strap for this one? where is the hole for the strap located?

    I saw one in the net they still use a casing just to attach a strap…

    hmm can i put neck strap in ipod nano 3rd gen also? where is the hole located?

    “sorry of using the hole word” cant think of the right term hehe

  17. superdaius says:

    can u please update the prices for ipod touch? the first and latest gen they have.. im planning in buying a new one 2 weeks from now.. thank you

  18. @12m4n says:

    I just bought the iPod 4th gen Nano. It’s lightweight and at 7,500 php for 8Gb. It’s worth it! I just needed to adjust the encoding settings to make up for the lack of sound output quality. :)

  19. creepy.chan says:

    hehe i had the grren one for 6 months already..ilang beses na tong nabagsak and naabot gn dog ko pero still working fine.. there has been one incident that it didn’t turn on pero all i did was reset it and it worked fine again.. ganda din manood ng vids dito maski maliit ang screen

  20. ink says:

    what happened with the sound? apple seems to degrade the soundchip or what? comments on this one bugs me out? can anyone tell or compare the sound between the ipod nano 4th gen and the old ones?

    forward to see any replies on my statement


  21. Hi, is it true that Apple will going to lunch a new ipod with build-in camcorder? is that true? any reply is highly appreciated. Thanks.

  22. adriene says:

    actually, they already did! the ipod nano 5th gen… it has a built-in cam..

  23. nicholai says:

    palitan nyo na lang yung standard na earphones (talagang tunog lata yun), yung earphones yung di maganda ang sound quality, tinipid ng apple yung quality ng earphones na kasama sa package, try nyo sennheiser earphones / headphones. replace nyo ung standard ipod earphones nyo sa CX6 sennheiser earbuds palung palo ang sound quality nito, lalo na kapag DnB ang naka play

    para sa akin the best ang 4g ipod nano kumpara sa ibang mp3 player.

  24. glAd says:

    hOw much this one..?

  25. strawberrykeys says:

    I am planning to buy a 4th gen but was having a second thought now between that 4th gen and ZEN xfi.. I think the sound is more clear and amplified with the zen and the resolution is more defined.. likewise, a bit easier on the pocket.

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