by Noah Kravitz
Tiny, Video ... Tiny ... Sexy ... Tiny ... So Cool! ... Tiny
Small screen for video, Coverflow not as smooth as on iPhone, Shiny backside prone to scratches
The new nano is somehow a huge upgrade, super slick, and a great value relative to the competition Pricing:
$149 (4gb) / $199 (8 gb)
Who Cares if it's Fatty?
I have to say, when I saw the leaked photos of the new iPod nano before it was unveiled last week I was expecting the worst. But in the time honored tradition of all things Apple, it's one thing to see a picture and it's very much another to have it in your hand. I've had the new nano for about 72 hours now and I'm very impressed. It's super tiny, super cute, and the new UI is definitely an upgrade. I'm still sort of split on the split-screen menu system, but it's very well executed. Coverflow isn't quite as smooth on the nano as it is on iPhone - especially when you've loaded a bunch of albums into memory - but it's still a kick to have it. Somehow, nano's size makes everything all the more impressive even though it's the same bag of tricks found on iPod classic.
I personally wouldn't buy a nano because the biggest joy of owning an iPod for me is having all (or close to all) of my music collection in my hand -- not because I'm going to listen to all of it on a single road trip, but because I can listen to any track or album the instant it pops into my head. To me that luxury is worth the added size and price versus a nano. That being said, the nano is a wonderful compromise of storage, size, and price. The new version adds an absurdly sharp screen and video playback capability to the mix, not to mention a refined UI and the nifty-ness of Coverflow (though Coverflow sutters a bit once you load a decent number of albums into nano's flash memory). nano's screen is very small for watching video. And yet watching video on it is more pleasant than you'd think - the display is that sharp.
What's a drag is that the new nano isn't compatible with 5G-compatible video accessories (nor is the new classic). What's great is that the new nano is still compatible with that Nike pedometer thing that all the runners seem to love. If you want a tiny music player with some added tricks, nano's (again) the one to beat. It's not as whiz-bang as the forthcoming iPod touch promises to be, but it still sounds really good - particularly run through better earphones than the included earbuds - and isn't that what counts in the end?