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Home > Reviews > MP3 Players > Apple's iPod nano Review

Apple's iPod nano Review
09/14/2005 - Updated 01/15/2006

Front Bottom Right
Top Left Back
Here's the box that my 4 GB black nano came in. The embossed image of the nano on front will reveal the color of the nano inside but, from what I've read in Apple's forums and other websites, that that isn't necessarily true. Well, anyway, I did order a 4 GB black nano and inside the box there was at least a black one. The bottom photo was modified to conceal my serial number.

Box within a box
My first attempt at opening the box was from the left side because of the typical box lid, or flap. I then realized that the internal box actually slid out from the right side. Duh...

When you remove the internal box, it opens up like an album, and that's when you first see the nano.

In my haste, I removed the outer plastic skin (with the "Don't steal music...") and the second clear plastic skin that covered the face of the nano. I wish I'd left the second skin on.

What's inside

The package included:

1 - iPod nano (in this case a 4 GB black)
1 - USB 2.0 cable
1 - Earbud headphones
2 sets - Black earbud pads
1 - iPod nano Quick Start guide
1 - Installation CD for PC and Mac
1 - 1 year warrantee statement
1 - Software license agreement
1 - Some white plastic dock adapter thingy

Looking at the nano
Front Back
Bottom Top
Peeling off the first layer of plastic skin and, regrettably, removing the second skin, you will notice how small (3.5" x 1.6" x 0.27", 89 mm x 41 mm x 7 mm) and lightweight (1.5 oz., 42.5 g) the iPod nano is. Another thing you will notice is how easily it collects dust and fingerprints.

I ordered my nano engraved despite advice from others to not personalize it. Since this is my first iPod, I don't plan on selling it or giving it away.

The bottom of the nano reveals the dock connection port and the mini-stereo headphone port. On top is the hold switch, probably the most confusing component on the iPod , because it serves multiple functions and the use of the terminology 'on' and 'off' has different meanings. For example, to turn the nano on, you slide the hold switch 'off' (no orange). To turn off the nano, you hold down the pause/play button for several seconds, then slide the hold switch to 'on' (when you see orange). When playing and you want to prevent accidental skipping, pause, reverse, in otherwords, disabling the click wheel controls, you slide the hold switch to on (orange).

Side view
When you look directly at the side of the nano, you will notice a thin clear layer on the face. Since my nano is black, this clear layer seems to be bonded to a black (plastic?) layer underneath. This was the very moment when I realized that I should have left the second layer of skin on the nano. Oh well...

Using the nano
I've installed the CD software on my Mac (OS X 10.4.2) and PC (XP Pro). That's when I realized that the nano will only work with the Mac or the PC. It will not work with both. However, when formatted on the PC, in disk mode, I can transfer files to the nano from the Mac but, when formatted on the Mac, the PC will not recognize the nano at all. Well, since all my songs are on the Mac, I'll have to format it using the Mac.

Testing the nano
While loading my songs on the nano, I left it on charge for about 3-4 hours. As a test, with the earphones plugged in, at around 40% volume, backlight off, equilizer off, hold on, the nano played well beyond the 14 hour mark, even though the battery indicator showed that it was empty. I think the battery died near the 15 hour mark.

My second test was to use the nano as I would normally use it, and that is with the hold switch off, and frequent use of the click wheel to repeat songs, skip songs, cycle through album art, lyrics, ratings (using the select button). This test was done over several days, and to my surprise, the battery life varied tremendously. Anywhere from 6 to 12 hours, and that depends on how frequently you use the click wheel. I've never counted the click wheel usage, and since I plan to use my iPod, for me, that test is done.

The third test is with displaying photos. Of course, when displaying photos, the backlight has to be on. On a full charge, with continuous backlight, the battery will only last 2 1/2 hours. It varied from 2 hours 20 minutes to 2 hours 25 minutes on the two tests I did.

Overall, the iPod nano, for me, has been a very dependable device. I've been using it everyday for the past year and a half. I would use it primarily for listening to music and displaying photos. An occasional reset is required, every now and then, when hooking up to the StereoDock, FM transmitter or Car Stereo adapter, but I've learned to turn the nano on prior to attaching to such devices so lately, it has been problem free.


Gary Kawamura
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