To say I feel honored is an understatement, but when I â€ˆtook the new 2nd generation iPod Nano out of the shipping box my jaw dropped. The new transparent packaging is fantastic and Iâ€ˆ now know why Steve Jobs mentioned it in his keynote. Not thinking my jaw could get any lower Iâ€ˆ removed the Nano from it’s packaging and was once again amazed at how much sleeker it felt than the previous generation.
This is the first review where Iâ€ˆ just felt that Iâ€ˆ wanted to give you two pages (or more)â€ˆof high resolution photographs. They say “a picture is worth a thousand words” and with the new Nano those words could not be more fitting. The case of the Nano is now all anodized aluminum and is so nice to touch, a real smooth feel, no worries about fingerprints either, which is fantastic news. Colors have been introduced with the 2Gb model being available in silver only, the 4Gb version available in silver, green, blue and pink, and the new higher capacity 8Gb model in a sexy black. All have this wicked metallic look.
Back to the packaging a moment, before Iâ€ˆ tell you even more about the latest Nano. I always trump on and on about the “Apple buying experience” and yet again, unpacking this baby is no different. Everything is packaged impeccably, the iPod lifts out and you are presented with two fold out pieces of card, which reveal a tiny quick start booklet, the new style headphones, USB connector and dock adapter. All so neatly positioned you wonder just how they do it.
Now, back to the Nano. Connecting it to my Mac for the first time presented me with a software update, which I â€ˆinstalled, then â€ˆleft it charging a little while before syncing it with iTunes. Iâ€ˆ already own a 60Gb iPod, so my iTunes library is quite large. When I connected the Nano, iTunes warned me that my library would not all fit and gave me the option to let iTunes create a new Nano playlist for me. I took this option for speed and let iTunes select the songs. The actually capacity for files on the 4Gb silver model I am reviewing is 3.68Gb, the remainder being taken up with system files etc. So I â€ˆset the files transferring and it pushed 698 MP3’s across to the Nano in about 12 minutes, which to me is totally acceptable. Iâ€ˆmade a few changes to the playlist, re-synced and was ready to play.
One of the many improvements of this 2nd generation Nano is the screen (which is claimed to be 40% brighter). Putting it up against one of the first Nanos, this proves true and the screen is noticeably brighter. The colors just pop out at you.
When connected to speakers, the sound of the Nano is pretty much the same as the previous version. Big changes have been made to the headphones though, both sonicly and for comfort. The sound produced by these new headphones is very clear to pinpoint. The bass extension seems a little lower, but the detail in the midrange is a big improvement. On the design front, the shape has been revised and gone are the little black mesh covers that normally fall off anyway. These new buds get a soft ring of rubber built into the circumference, this not only helps them stay in your ear, but really improves the comfort factor.
A Quick Mention to iTunes 7
It is my intention to do a full review of iTunes 7 which Apple released alongside the new Nano, revised 5th Generation iPod and the sneak peek at the iTV (working title). I really wanted to praise Apple for the way the new iTunes integrates your iPod settings and details right within the application itself. So now, instead of having to dig around inside the iTunes preferences, you click on your iPod in the sidebar of iTunes 7 and are presented with the iPod configuration screen. This is a massive improvement and the graphical representation of what space you have on your iPod is really nice.
The design changes are very nice. Super slim and nice to touch, even down to the very slight concave select button. Everything just feels more expensive. For those who like things nice and clean, the new anodized aluminum finish also means you can say goodbye to fingerprints. The screen is fantastic too, much brighter with really vivid color. Viewing photos is a real pleasure, even though quite small and everything is really detailed. Sound is the most important factor and the improved headphones really deliver much better sonics, meaning that you might not be tempted to look for alternatives. Increasing the storage capacity up to 8Gb is also very welcome and restricting the largest capacity to the black model makes it a very special purchase. Well done Apple, the new 2nd Generation iPod Nano is a big improvement, it certainly gets my vote.
2Gb iPod Nano – $149.00
4Gb iPod Nano – $199.00
8Gb iPod Nano – $249.00
Product supplied by Apple UK
Retail price: $199.00 (4Gb model)
Link to product.