I have always been a huge Apple fan, and have always endorsed their products in any way I could. I have a Macbook, iPod and an iPhone, and plan to keep buying Apple products for as long as I live. So when I got the chance to review the brand new 6th generation 16 GB iPod Nano, I was ecstatic. Continue reading to find out if this tiny little touch-screen wonder lives up to its expectations.

The new iPod Nano touchscreen

The new iPod Nano touchscreen

Design and Features
When I unpacked the new Nano from its box, I had to take a moment to admire the size. It is so tiny, it’s hard to imagine that it has a touch screen interface; it’s almost as small as a Shuffle! It has only three buttons on the top; two for volume and one for the sleep/awake function. At the bottom you will find the standard Apple dock connection and a 3.5 mm input jack for your earphones. The Nano is around 4cm square and 0.8cm deep, which is approximately half the size of the previous model. It has also taken a page out of the Shuffle’s book with a spring-loaded metal clip that lets you conveniently clip it on while you’re on the move.

A range of colours to choose from

A range of colours to choose from

The multi touch function is so smooth that you barely have to touch the screen for the Nano to respond. The smooth LCD displays colours beautifully with its 240×240 pixel resolution, giving it 220 pixels per inch. It can be likened to the iPhone/iPod Touch display, and even the user interface (UI) is quite similar with familiar icons. Just like the iPod Touch and iPhone, it has a flexible menu with icons that can be moved around.

While Apple has definitely upped the game by adding multi-touch to the Nano, it has taken away too much for it to be an even trade. I don’t even consider the touch screen to be a fair compromise, as they’ve pulled the plug on some great applications that any Nano user will sorely miss. Of course, there’s no video camera, but even favourites such as video playback, games, alarm function and calendar have simply been sent to the gallows. Some might say the screen is too tiny to watch movies on, but I completely disagree. I’ve had plenty of fun watching my favourite movies and TV shows on my 4th gen Nano, even though the new Nano’s screen is smaller. I even miss playing Klondike during my morning duties. So shame on you, Apple for taking away these simple pleasures as they are what really made a difference.

Clip it on and let it play!

Clip it on and let it play!

Of course, there are some other pretty nifty features that fitness freaks will love including support for the optional Nike+iPod system which you can sync online through iTunes. Apart from that, they’ve managed to squeeze in a stopwatch, pedometer, Genius Mixes, podcasts, audio books, photo gallery, clock, and an FM radio which you can pause and even rewind up to 15 minutes. However, even with all these features, I still have a lot of unanswered questions. What does a touch screen have to do with all these functions? What is its purpose? Shouldn’t something be added to give the multi-touch function some value? If Apple had added some apps and maybe even some games, it would’ve definitely made the little package a lot more attractive.

Performance
Off with his head (phones) I say! As usual, the bundled earphones are absolute sh*t, so my advice would be to buy something better or your first taste might be a sour one. I still don’t understand how Apple justifies including such bad earphones with a product that costs so much. I used the new Nano with a pair of Sennheiser HD 415s and it sounded really good. The highs were crisp, the bass was rounded and the mids cut through like a hot knife through butter. However, the maximum volume could have been louder, as I pumped it up as far as it could go and my ears still didn’t bleed.

Take your pick

Take your pick

As far as functionality goes, the sixth gen Nano is pretty easy to use, but has its fair share of flaws. Although the touch screen is super-responsive, it takes a little bit of getting used to, especially when navigating through contents. Users who are accustomed to the click wheel will need to concentrate on the screen to figure out how the UI works. For instance, I almost tripped over a chair while walking around and trying to figure it out. Now that wouldn’t have happened with my old Nano, as using the click wheel was like second nature and I didn’t have to stop everything I was doing just to go to the next song. But I’ll also admit that it gets easier the more you use it.

Tiny, yes; but is it what you really want?

Tiny, yes; but is it what you really want?

Let’s move on to the battery life, which is strictly OK. Apple claims that the battery lasts for 24 hours on full charge, but unfortunately, this didn’t ring true when I tested it. Even with the display off most of the time, the Nano didn’t last more than 13 hours. And like any other touch screen device, the more you play around with it, the more it drains the battery. Nuff said.

Verdict
It’s cool, looks trendy and can also be worn as a watch, but sadly, it doesn’t really cut it for me. I hate to say this (being an Apple fanboy and all), but the new Nano has effectively ruined the iPod for me. It is no longer a Portable Media Player, but an MP3 player with some added functions. One could argue that Apple has made the Nano a whole lot simpler. But in this process, they have lost out on whatever they’ve added to it over the years such as the super cool video camera in the 5th gen version. Of course, you have to keep in mind that this is the first of such tiny touch screen devices, and there’s always room for improvement. Hopefully Apple will stuff a whole lot more into the next one.

A cool accessory for fashionistas

A cool accessory for fashionistas

I give this product 3 stars for quality of sound, looks and just because it’s really cool to have a touch screen device that is so tiny. Points have obviously been deducted for lack of features and slightly complicated user interface (more so for the astonishing lack of features). If you are a fitness freak, it has some great applications that will surely prove useful. But in the end, it feels like this is more of a cool accessory to have rather than an MP3 player. And although the sound quality really rules, at an MRP of Rs. 12,700 I’d rather go in for a PMP that does so much more.

The new iPod nano is available ata suggested retail price of Rs. 10,700 for the 8GB model and suggested retail price of Rs. 12,700 for the 16GB model. Both models are available in silver, graphite, blue, green, orange and pink through Authorised Apple Resellers.

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