Apple’s New iPod Nano – Back to the Future
What is it? This is the 7th generation of the iPod Nano and it adds some features, reinstates some features from earlier versions, and loses some features from the 2010 version. For starters, this is a very portable and complete MP3 music player. It has a 2 ½ inch diagonal display – about double the size of the last one so you can play videos and display photos, though it’s pretty small for comfortable watching. The video playback feature had been dropped from the last version with its tiny screen. Besides the form factor, the biggest new feature is Bluetooth. That means you can use wireless speakers, a wireless headset, or wireless fitness sensors like those from Nike during your workout. It also has a built-in pedometer. It has a built-in FM radio receiver that has pretty decent reception. Sound quality is good, but this is not the device you want if you are a true audiophile. It is very thin, about 3/10 of an inch thick. Unlike the previous version of nano this does not have a clip to attach it to your clothing during a workout. And even though it adds Bluetooth, it still doesn’t have Wi-Fi. Apple claims a fully charged battery will run for about 30 hours using music playback. Figure about 2 ½ hours for video playback. It has a brushed aluminum case and is available in eight vibrant colors. It abandons the old 30 pin connector for a new “Lightning” connector that is much smaller, and comes with a set of newly reshaped white headphones.
Is It Boomer Friendly? – The new Nano adds several buttons that make it easier to navigate. First off, it has a “home” button on the front that you may be familiar with from the iPod touch or the iPhone. On the side is a three position button with volume up, volume down, and a multi-function center button for advancing, or hearing the song title. Unlike the last version you cannot make the icons any bigger, though I found the new icons large enough to read the small print without assistance. I tried the Nano with three different sets of earbuds , The newly redesigned earbuds that came with the Nano were just fine, and pumped out plenty of volume, even with the equalizer turned on. The new earbuds are far more comfortable than the original design. I also tried it with two sets of Bluetooth wireless earphones. With one set the volume was fine, but on the other set, volume was a little too low with the equalizer turned on, but passable with the equalizer off.
Frustration Factor – Pretty low. I was able to get it out of the packaging, synced with my ITunes library, and up and running in just a few minutes with no need to consult the Lilliputian printing in the instruction manual. Pairing with a Bluetooth headset was quick and painless.
Is It Worth the Money? At $149 this is not inexpensive. It is small. Its big brother, the new iPod Touch has a larger screen, Wi-Fi, and lots more features for only $50 more. The last generation of nano was really convenient for walking or workouts because of its clip. The main use for the latest nano may be as a very portable music player backup for those who don’t want to drain their smartphone or iPhone batteries by playing music. And it is cute and colorful.