iPod Nano homescreen
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The seventh-generation iPod nano is yet another full redesign of Apple's music player, but it's a welcome move away from the smaller form factor of its predecessor. The new Nano is taller and slimmer, with a 2.5 inch capacitive touchscreen display. It also has a physical home button, which many people were missing.
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I spent a few days with the new nano, and though I have an iPhone 4S, and am used to Internet connectivity and cloud-based syncing -- something this doesn't offer -- there were times when the nano was just the device I needed.
Its compact size, cute form factor and intuitive design makes it the perfect device for listenening to your music, audiobooks or podcasts, or watching short videos while commuting, at the gym, or waiting on the carpool line. It's light and easy to carry, and gives you a wonderful option when you really don't want to have your phone with you.
The new iPod nano looks like a smaller version of the iPod touch. The volume rocker on the left side is easy to find and use without looking, and the sleep/wake button is exactly where you would expect to find it: on the top right edge. The headphone jack is on the bottom, right next to the new, smaller Lightning connecter. A USB charging cable is included, but if you were hoping to connect it to any of your existing speaker docks, you'll have to purchase the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter that only Apple is selling. It costs a way-too-expensive $29, and in our opinion, should be included in the package.
The device itself is constructed of a single piece of aluminum, so it looks and feels smooth in the palm of your hand. It's tiny, standing barely above 3 inches tall and weighing 1.1 ounces. It includes Apple's new EarPods which many people say fits their ears better than the previous style earbuds. If they're not for you, you can always check out our headphone recommendations. The wallpaper background on the nano matches the color of the device you've chosen (there are eight to choose from) and though you can change the pattern in the settings, it is a nice touch.
This music player is so intuitive, an adult could use it. Of course kids already know how to navigate these devices, but adults new to MP3 players often have a difficult time with the menu and file structure. Yes, I really do think this is easy enough for my mom to use.
Like the previous versions, this retains the big icons on the home screen, which you can tap and move to personalize to your liking. One tap opens your music, one more tap lets you scroll and start playing. Want to switch to video? Simply tap the home screen to get back to the main menu.
The nano has always been a great choice for runners. Not only can you carry your music with you, but the built-in pedometer and Nike+ support make for a great workout coach. After your run -- or walk, as I like to do -- you can sync the device to Nike to track your progress. Since most of my exercise comes from running for the train, I like the stopwatch and timer functions which tell me exactly how much time I have in between hearing the warning whistle sound, and the train actually rolling into the station.
One downside to the nano is that you still have to use iTunes to move music and other media onto it. Once you've been able to download apps and songs while on the go, it's hard to go back to being tethered to a computer and iTunes. Apple has brought back the ability to watch video in this version, but I wish the company had also brought back the ability to record video. That was a welcome addition in the fourth-generation model, which went away when the screen size shrank.
Speaking of screens, though it's not a retina display like the new iPhone and iPad, it does a nice job of displaying photos. The multi-touch display means pictures can be pinched and zoomed just like on other iOS devices.
Because there's no Wi-Fi, you can't connect to the Internet or download music and apps, or text with friends. There is, however, built-in Bluetooth so you can wirelessly connect to speakers, headphones and other Bluetooth-enabled devices. This means you don't have to be tethered to EarPods at the gym; you can use a Bluetooth headset and avoid those messy wires. This is also great if your car speakers are Bluetooth-enabled.
The FM Radio adds a Live Pause feature which is nice for news junkies like me. You can hear the latest news, quietly catch a playoff game while watching your kid's soccer game, or listen to a live broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera. If you need to stop momentarily, simply tap the screen to pause the broadcast and you can go back to it when you're ready.
Who's it For?
The nano is great for anyone just learning how to use an MP3 player, or younger kids who aren't yet ready to have a connected device. For $149 there's 16GB of storage which can hold plenty of music and video. Apple claims 30 hours of battery life, though we haven't tested this yet. While you can still find the previous generation nano for less, it lacks the larger display and video playback.
For parents who want to give their kids the ability to play music and games without accessing the Internet, or for anyone who wants media without having to be tied to a phone, this is the media player to get.
This story originally published on Mashable here.
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