Apple’s smallest screen-based player gets a video camera
After an ill-advised foray into square-shaped designs, Apple returned to the more familiar rectangular body last year for its smallest music player with a screen, the iPod Nano.
The new version of the device is very similar to the last one in shape, and it’s still available in a choice of colours. The storage capacity has been upped to 16GB on the model we are looking at, but there is an 8GB version for £20 less. Those capacities can handle around 4,000 songs and 2,000 songs respectively, or around 16 hours or eight hours of video.
As well as playing video, the most interesting addition to the new Nano is that it can shoot video as well. There is a small camera on the back of the device, although it’s in a very odd position near the bottom, presumably because that is the only place the camera electronics would not conflict with the screen. It does mean the user needs to move their hand oddly each time they want to switch into video mode.
Video quality isn't great. It only captures at a resolution of 640x480 pixels, so the footage we shot looked blocky when blown up to fit a computer screen. Still, it’s good for casual shooting, even though it's not up to the level of the recent high-definition Flip models.
Another strange choice on Apple’s part is the lack of a still camera. The Nano can show photographs but it cannot take them. In response to the improving features of other music players, though, Apple has added a pedometer, an FM radio receiver to the Nano and it can be used to record sound. It can’t record radio but it can ‘pause’ broadcasts like some digital radios.
The music features remain as they were, with songs (and podcasts and films) loaded on to the player using Apple’s widespread iTunes software.
Sound quality was good, but the supplied earphones, as usual for Apple, were not up to much and the player benefited after we replaced them with a better pair, which adds £15 as an extra expense.
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A very good music player, but the need to replace the substandard earphones make it relatively expensive Good points Video recording is handy; sound quality good; radio is useful; small and compact Bad points No still camera; video camera lens is in an odd place; have to use iTunes software
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