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About 8 years ago me and my husband moved in together and realised collectively we had around 700 CDís between us. We decided to flog the lot and with the money we made we were able to but an iPod Touch (which at the time I think were around £350!), a docking station and still have plenty of change left over. 8 years on and just before Christmas, said iPod departed us to iPod heaven and we needed to replace it. Obviously since we first bought our iPod the Apple market has totally changed and my husband has an iPhone and has all of his favourite music on there. I on the other hand only like a small selection of songs on my iPod at any one time (about 200), Iím weird I know, and so after a bit of research I figured I didnít need to splash out on a Touch but could get away with a Nano as it would also do me for when Iím out and about. The compact size of the Nano was definitely for me and I opted for the 16GB one. Iím not quite sure why I bought the 16GB one as an 8GB is also available and this would have suited my needs perfectly but I listened to the husband and probably shouldnít have! The 16GB has the capacity to store around 4000 songs as opposed to the 2000 on the 8GB (so itís totally wasted on me!).
Price and Set Up: I paid £130 in December 2011 although I have just had a quick look and they do seem to have come down in price slightly and you can pick a 16GB one up on Amazon for £117. The set up at the beginning is relatively easy and once it is synced through iTunes and you have registered your iPod, you can upload your songs on to it and away you go. We found this process straight forward in comparison to when we got the iPod Touch as there was a fault with it and it wouldnít sync and so it had to go back. It may have been one of those things or it may have been that the technology has improved vastly even in a relatively short number of years.
Touch Screen: My daughter has one of the old style iPod Nanoís (possibly the 4th or 5th generation) and the most noticeable difference is of course the touch screen. This is the reason for the vast price increase as we only paid around £35 for her Nano but the difference is definitely worth it. The touch screen is very responsive and you simply touch and slide to navigate through the variety of menus and screens. To make it easier to scroll through your play list (if you have 100s of songs on it you donít want to have to manually touch and slide through each individual song), there is a menu on the right hand side which is alphabetised to allow you to search this way. This is a massive help for me if I want a particular song and in comparison to some people I hardly have any songs on it. It would be extremely tiresome to search for songs without this option. The screen is easy to view despite its small size and everything on it appears with perfect clarity. A high contrast option is available which lets you change the display to white on black, which I really like for a different look. You can also change the LCD display to adjust the brightness of the screen which makes it easier to see the screen even in low light. An auto brightness feature changes the brightness automatically as it senses a change in light to give optimal viewing at all times.
Controls: Buttons are so out of vogue now of course and the only buttons on the Nano is to hold (the hold effectively works as an on / off for the device ) or for volume. When a song is playing you will see the artwork for the song and the artist and song name however unlike the larger iPodís you wonít see how long is left on the track. This isnít something that bothers me as the device is so tiny, it can only be expected that a small amount of information can be displayed. Anything else on the screen would clutter it and make it too fussy. However if you desperately need to know the length of the song you can press for more information on the screen and it will display songs by the artist and the length of each song.
Nano Clock: My absolute favourite part of the Nano is the clock. A clock face takes up the whole screen and is so good that Apple have released a selection of watch straps to hold the Nano. I couldnít help myself and had to take advantage of this nice little feature and so I picked myself up a lovely pink/purple colour watch strap for around £35, although there are various styles and colours available (for a variety of price ranges!). There are 18 different clock face designs to choose and my favourite is a cute little Minnie Mouse face, although you can opt for a more traditional analogue face. Different colour clock faces are also available to choose from so you can match to the colour of the Nano.
Live Radio: The option to listen to the radio on the Nano is a nice little feature and the Nano also shows the artist and song you are listening to. Very clever! You can also set favourite stations up. An option to pause live radio with Live Pause is perfect for anyone who doesnít want to miss a minute of their favourite radio programme and you simply tap to pause and then tap again to continue. You can also rewind back by 15 minutes or fast forward to catch up to live radio.
Features for the blind or visually impaired: The Voice Over feature includes a gesture based screen reader to select songs without viewing the screen. A synthesized voice will speak the menus, songs and artists (and it has the ability to do so in 29 languages). The user will then use the touch screen to tap and select to choose the tracks they would like to listen to. If used in conjunction with iTunes 10, the visually impaired can also use the screen reader to browse iTunes and access Podcasts, Music, Audio books, Films and TV Programmes without sighted assistance. There is also a mono audio option which can route audio into one ear bud if your hearing is limited in one ear.
Battery and Power: The in built lithium-ion battery is rechargeable and is quickly charged in around 90 minutes to give you 80% charge. A full charge will take around 3 hours and will give you around 24 hours of music play back before it will need charging again. You can charge it through your PC with the USB cable which is included in the box; can be charged via a docking station with the docking station adapter included in the box; or you can charge with a mains power adapter which plugs in to the USB but these are sold separately. It is worth while investing in one of these mains adaptors though for when you are away from home and will not have your laptop or PC around.
Nano on the go: The portable Nano is perfect for using when running/ jogging or working out. You can clip the device onto your clothes and control music by sliding the touch screen. You can also rotate the screen so it is essentially upside down and you can see it without having to unclip it and look. The built in accelerometer allows you to track your run as it tracks your steps and distance and can be plugged into a Nike and iPod compatible cardio machine at the gym. The data can then be uploaded to the Nike+ website to create goals and check your progress. You can also use it independent of the gym and see how many steps you have taken and how many calories you have burnt. I find this really handy and it does go some way to motivate me more especially if I set myself and reach targets.
Shake to Shuffle: I love this feature! By simply shaking the device, the Nano will shuffle the song to a different selection. Although I donít always want the Nano to choose a song for me with a random selection, I love doing it anyway although you do look slightly mad to anyone who doesnít know that the Nano does this!
Size and weight:
Height: 37.5 mm (1.48 inches)
Width: 40.9 mm (1.61 inches)
Depth: 8.78 mm (0.35 inches) including clip
Weight: 21.1 grams (0.74 ounces) Ė Tiny!
Comes in a variety of colours including graphite, pink, blue and green.
All in all I cannot fault the Nano one bit. Although Apple seem to constantly release new generations of their devices, with the Nano we can clearly see why as the gadgets and options available for a variety of different users is excellent. Opening up the market to the visually impaired definitely impresses me even if I do not use it and I can only applaud Apple at a fabulous product which is at a fair price for the features it holds. If I get the life span I did from my old iPod then this will cost me less than £16 a year. 5 stars Apple, well done!