I’ve now owned three iPods. I inherited a classic and a Touch from my ex-husband, but I almost exclusively used the iPod Touch. Although it had much less space, it had more features, and I had it before I owned a smartphone. After I bought my smartphone(s), I wouldn’t use my iPod Touch quite so much. It has some charging issues, so I only use it for music anymore. However, I did really like how Apple handled the music. With the introduction of the touch screen to the Nanos, they have the same music experience. Aside from the much lower price and color combinations, FM radio on the iPod Nano was a real selling point. There was no way I’d spend $300 on a new iPod Touch, but I could afford half that on a brand-new MP3 player with radio, especially because my new phone lacks FM radio.
I held out buying it for a while because I was looking for a good coupon to use online, but I wound up buying my new iPod from Target as soon as they carried it. I just couldn’t wait. I opted for the blue which is the best color out of all the options. If not for blue, I might’ve gone for black. I’m not a big fan of yellow of the salmon-y yellow. The Nano has a flatter design than the iPod Touch. The matte, metal back curves around on the sides, but it’s cut flat on the top and bottom. Apple’s added the iPod logo in a shiny version of the color on the back that’s pretty.
The blue forms a border on the front, while the screen is surrounded by white plastic. The home button is white with a small silver ring. Apple has placed the headphone jack on the bottom, which I hope means less breaking of my headphone cables. The lightning connector port is on the bottom right. The top houses a single power button while the volume rocker is along the left edge. There’s some awesome things going on with that if you read on.
The newest iPod Nano is twice as tall as the previous one and super thin. It’s very similar to some Nokia designs, but don’t overestimate the size. It’s a tiny, tiny thing. It’s just wide enough for two columns of apps on the home page, but because you don’t play games or download apps, this isn’t a big deal. I’ve been asked multiple times why I got the Nano over the Touch or why I bought an iPod at all. I just don’t like any of the music apps on my phone, and I don’t think I should have to stream my own music. Plus, I don’t like charging my phone twice per day.
So I bought the iPod and synced it. My playlists and checked songs were already set up, and the Nano was charged quite a bit. The first difference was the lightning connector. I have to admit, I really like that it doesn’t matter which way I connect it to the iPod. In fact, the USB plug on the other end kind of highlights this.
Yes, I Love the EarPods
After syncing, I was ready to listen. The second major difference from my other iPod are the EarPods. Now, I’ve made fun of Apple for only having earbuds to advertise with the iPhone 5, but I’m actually in love with the earbuds. I think if they fit your ears, you’ll like them. They just fit. They don’t fall out. They sound pretty good, too. The iPod Nano has an equalizer, but the bass is deep. Music sounds deep, like it does with in-ear buds, but without causing that painful suction. It’s easy to feel which earbud goes into which ear, too. I don’t need to look at them like I had to with my Skullcandy earbuds.
I did a little setup first. I changed the background–Apple gives you a few choices that use the same color as your iPod. You can’t choose your own wallpaper sadly because that’s a feature of iOS. While the Nano looks like iOS, it’s really iOS light, so there’s not as many options. I chose a clock, set up the equalizer and rearranged the icons so that FM radio is on the main screen. The newest Nano uses the same hold action to rearrange, and you can use up to three screens.
As far as I know, you can’t add new apps, so I’m not sure why there’s so many screens involved. It would be cool if you could add an artist, playlist or song to the home page to make use of that extra screen space. It seems like this was an option with the previous generation. Apple should have kept it. After syncing, I have a total of nine apps with Audiobooks. The other apps include:
To be honest, I won’t ever use the videos or photos, and the clock is kind of pointless because there’s no quick way to access it. I did check out the fitness app. It connects with Nike+, lets you schedule and input data about your workouts and includes a pedometer, which is actually pretty neat. I haven’t remembered to use it, but I can see many people will find it useful.
The music app was the one I’ve headed to first. The song currently playing always lists on top, and you can choose from playlists, songs, artists and more below. The music screen lists those apps, which are tabs along the bottom of the screen. There’s not as much room on the Nano, but I think Apple could have made a scrolling work. Instead, you simply swipe to the right from any screen to return to the previous.
The iPod Nano supports all the traditional and smart playlists made in iTunes or on my iPod Touch. Unfortunately, the Nano lacks a simple search feature, which I’d think they could add, to make it easier to find a specific song or artist. There are tiny dots on the right edge that represent the letters of the alphabet, but the screen’s small enough that touching the right spot can be difficult.
Because I was accustomed to the iPod Touch, there wasn’t a real learning curve. Apple has split up individual song info on the smaller screen, though. When you touch a the screen while a song is playing, you get the repeat, genius and shuffle options below the timer. A fourth button brings up the album and rating. It’s not anything huge.
I had no idea what to expect with the FM player, but it’s decent. You need headphones plugged in, of course. Then, you can scan for local stations or simply page through them. Touch the star to add a favorite. Once you’ve got favorite, the arrows hop between them. To go to stations that aren’t favorited, you have to press and hold. The digital player shows song and artist names when available, which I like. I’m finding that some low-signal stations come in pretty well on my iPod. One awesome feature is the ability to pause live radio. It’s not perfect — I usually get a couple seconds of overlap — but it’s great if I have to answer the phone or the door! Touching the screen brings up the pause options and a menu with your favorites. There’s some option for tagged songs. Ideally, you can tag a song and then look it up in iTunes, but none of the local stations here have that feature.
The thing that I love best about my iPod Nano is the new third button. Apple has added a button between the volume buttons. In general, a single click pauses or plays the music or radio. Double-clicking skips forward, while triple-clicking skips back. I actually use it all the time, and it probably helps with battery life because I rarely turn on the screen. Holding it gives you a voiceover, but I don’t find this feature all that wonderful. In fact, the creepy computer chick tells you when your battery is dying. It’s nice to know, but also a little startling. Still, the extra button that works for more than just music is awesome.
About Those Specs
I’ve been charging this about every other day, but I’m definitely not charging it all the way. I charge it enough to listen to it because I’m impatient. Apple advertises 30 hours of music playback, but they’re crazy. It’s definitely less than 24 and probably fewer than 12 hours. That’s not surprising when you consider that the battery is so tiny. I could probably get more life out of it by turning down screen brightness and volume, but I like it large
I will eventually move to a dock or Bluetooth speaker for use with this. The connectivity is nice if you want to listen to your tunes through the air. The iPod Nano lacks WiFi. There’s not a whole lot of reason to have it, but syncing wireless would be pretty awesome.
The iPod Nano is much snappier than my older iPod Touch. I have to wait far less between songs. Lyrics load more quickly; although, they’re less important to me on the small screen, and I rarely look at them because of the third button. A lot of people have complained that the screen is not good enough, but I honestly have no idea what they’re getting at. How frequently are they looking at the screen? Because that’s not. the. point.
I’m thinking Apple has done well with this. I love the basic functions without any distraction. The touchscreen works well and uses basic gestures like pinch to zoom. You could enjoy a movie on this cute little screen; although, I’d try to watch one on any other screen in my house first. Few other people have been as generous as I have, however. They say “spend $50 and upgrade to the previous generation iPod Touch,” and you could. You’d definitely get more features, but I sort of feel like Apple paid me $50 to not use the features that I hate. As it is, the Nano already has functions I will forever ignore. Still, the experience of the iPod player is there, it’s adorable and small, and the EarPods are some of the best earbuds I’ve ever used (gasp!). I guess I’m kind of, sort of a fan girl.