The iPod Nano has undergone a radical transformation for its sixth generation. Everything has changed: the Nano has lost its scrollwheel, camera and video playback – and become a touchscreen iPod Shuffle, right down to the alluring range of colours and built-in clip.
But there’s a problem: while the iPod Shuffle is cheap and simple, the new Nano is almost as pricey as an iPod Touch.
How small is too small?
The new Nano is a postage stamp-sized screen and little else, which means holding and poking it makes you feel like a sausage-fingered giant. The Multi-Touch interface is slick and responsive, but the lack of space makes gestures uncomfortable. So it’s probably a blessing that the Nano isn’t a fully fledged iOS device, and won’t run third party apps.
Given the extent of its miniaturisation, it’s hardly surprising that the new Nano has lost the camera that Apple introduced in the last generation – but the lack of video playback seems bizarre. Yes, the 1.5in screen is small, but no smaller than the original Nano – and its 240x240-pixel resolution makes album artwork looks lovely. We think music videos would look good too.
Big Brother is watching
Despite its slight frame, Apple has given the Nano has some nice features. Top of the list is VoiceOver – which, at the press of a button, speaks the name of the song and artist currently playing. But as VoiceOver is built into the £40 iPod Shuffle, it’s hardly a USP for the Nano. There’s also an FM radio, auto-generated Genius playlists and an accelerometer that allows you to shake the Nano to play a random song.
With a built-in pedometer and Nike+ compatibility, the Nano can stake a claim to be a proper training partner. And its sturdy clip with hold it firmly in place no matter how hard your work out. But you’ll need to plug a receiver into the Nano to use Nike+, which will almost double its size. The iPod Touch, on the other hand, has a Nike+ receiver built in.
And it’s the strength of the iPod’s big brother that really shows up the Nano’s limitations. An app-fuelled iPod Touch – with hi-res display and HD video recording – is available for just £60 more.
Which is why we think you'd be better advised to save your pennies.