Advantages Attractive, intuitive with good battery
Disadvantages Delicate screen prone to scratches, screen too small for video.
|Ease of Use|
|Look & Design|
|Range of Features|
|Value for Money|
I was one of the lucky iPod users to have an original iPod Nano 4Gb as purchased for me by my wife. It was even engraved on the back with a private message ;o)
She has a habit of buying presents that leave me speechless and this time was no exception. I used it for everything, indoors and out, even swimming (with an otterbox and H20 headphones). The only downside was the battery. It really didn't last long at all and I was always recharging it. Well, I was always 'forgetting' to recharge it and then when I needed it, it would fade. My fault really.
I was left speechless once again, this time by the iPod itself. What a change from the 1st Gen to 4th Gen! Suddenly, I had bright colours on a high-resolution 2-inch screen, a mini built-in speaker, a camera, accelerometer and some quite fun little games. Not only that but I also had an extra 4Gb as I'd bought the 8Gb. On top of that, it could play videos!Putting it through its paces early on, I took it out for a long run.
While strapped to my right arm I am able to access the menu and choose tracks on the move with ease. The volume adjusts simply through the armband window although I occasionally slip and press the centre button which then plays a recorded message telling me which song is playing...I know what song it is, I put it there and it says on the screen! Nevertheless, this isn't a nuisance really and I wait a few seconds before being able to either change tracks of volume once more.When not strapped to my arm for running, the unit is exceptionally easy to use with the use of the slide wheel on the front. It uses a 'linear' menu system that can swiftly be navigated using clockwise / anti-clockwise rotations. If you happen to get lost you can get back to the front page with a pausing hold on the menu button. Simple.
The sound quality is excellent but this is obviously more to do with the compression of the music file, where it is purchased from and the quality of the earphones. Nonetheless, even through cheap mini speakers the sound is good and I'm sure the iPod has something to do with that.
I do, however, have a lot of photos on mine for when I am travelling and want to see pics of my wife and daughter. The screen is excellent for this use and accepts JPEGs readily.
The battery is of a very high standard. Apple have somehow squeezed a lot of juice in to it. I use it almost every day for at least an hour and find I don't have to recharge it for approx 10 days.....that's close to 10hrs continuous play which I think is pretty good.
I've left video to the last because I think this is the biggest disappointment for me.
Unless you download specific movie files from iStore, it is tough to find files for the iPod. Well, it is and it isn't. It depends on how legal you want to be. For the purposes of testing, I ripped Black Hawk Down using DVD Fab 8.0 software, specifically in iPod format and set up for the 2inch screen. While the picture quality and the sound quality were very good with nor blurring or jerkiness, the screen is simply too small. Within ten mins I was suffering from eye strain and was beginning to develop a headache after 15. I carry movies around with me a lot, usually on my PSP, laptop and Desire HD. I was excited at the prospect of the iPod but this is not a feature that I have used since. To be honest, I think it is meant more for music videos than for feature films and perhaps I have expected a wee bit too much. None the less, I haven't used the movie feature since and probably won't again.
The unit is very ergonomical and it feels nice in your hand. This might seem like a trivial thing but actually, I find it pretty important. Apple have always sought to make attractive devices that look like you could wear them as an accessory (clearly not a Mac as that might look a bit rubbish and would be terrible in the rain).The iTunes software is still the best out there, in my opinion. It is intuitive, easy to use and the tracks are priced very reasonably. With the new system of not DRM-locking them, they are even better and can be used on other devices too.
The phenomenal range of accessories for the iPod just goes to highlight its popularity overall. From waterproof cases to colourful covers, armbands and complete stereo-speaker systems, this is more than just a small device that just plays music, it is a life accessory for many people.
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