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Review - iPod nano (2G)
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006 at 4:00 PM - by
Take away the pretty new packaging, and Apple's new iPod nano is very similar to the original. Not that that's a bad thing, of course, when you consider what a home-run Apple hit with the first nano, and that the price remains the same despite beefier specs.
New iPod nano (8GB)
In a tribute to the iPod mini, which the first iPod nano killed off, version 2.0 finds the nano sheathed in a similar aluminum skin that its brother of yesteryear wore so well, colors included. In a curious marketing twist, surely intended to capitalize off the popularity of the black iPods, the new nano is available only in black with the high-end, $249 8GB model, while the low-end $149 2GB version is available only in silver. In between, the $199 4GB nanos are available in silver, green, blue, or pink.
iPod nano vs. iPod nano
Disappointingly, despite an almost complete omission of the color white, the black iPod nano continues to ship with the same white cable and earphones that the others do.
Apple did at least upgrade the earphones with this round of iPod revisions, the first time it has done so in nearly four years. The new buds are not only slightly smaller and sit more securely in your ear, but also sound noticeably better. Music sounds richer across the entire spectrum, meaning fewer iPod nano owners will find themselves tossing the stock earphones aside for an upgrade.
The new nano (right) features a brighter display and improved battery life—up to 24 hours.
New, smaller earphones (right) fit more comfortably, look sleeker, and sound better.
What Apple is more quiet about, however, is that despite retaining almost the identical dimensions of its predecessor (the new nano is a hair thinner, but also hair longer), most iPod nano accessories on the market are not compatible with the new player because of repositioned ports. While the dock connector cable and earphones continue to plug in through the bottom, they have been moved farther to the edges. This means that fancy dock you might already own from your first nano or that caught your eye on a store shelf simply won't work with the new nano. Similarly, many cases currently on the market have cut-outs that won't line up with the new positioning of the dock connector and earphone plug.
The Bottom Line
Apple's advertisements call the new iPod nano "remastered", a fitting descriptor for the recent revision. The iPod nano is essentially the same as it was, but with a bit more polish. The case is inherently more scratch resistant, it comes available in more colors, sounds better with the new earphones, and sports double the capacity across the board without a change in price.
While it would have been a nice courtesy to consumers to keep the connectors positioned the same as the previous model, or to include matching colored accessories, it's next to impossible to find any fault with the new nano.
iPod mini vs. iPod nano
Just The Facts
Pros: same great size, same good price; improved case design, earphones, and battery life
Cons: colors are back, but accessories remain only in white; dock connector and earphone are positioned differently, rendering most current nano accessories incompatible
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