Product review: The new iPod nano

Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Assistant Photo Editor Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Assistant Photo Editor

It has a video camera, a radio, a pedometer, and when you shake it, a new song plays. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the new iPod nano has arrived, complete with a larger screen, video capturing capabilities, and a sweet polished anodized aluminum finish in nine colors. Did I mention that it has a built-in microphone and speaker? This new nano has some things we’ve never seen on an iPod before — or at least I haven’t seen; I was still boppin’ along to the nano from 2005.

Along with the new finish and bigger screen, the most noticeable physical change is the addition of a video camera on the back of the iPod. Owners can now capture live footage of protesters at the Fence or friends snoring in class, in portrait or landscape mode. With the bigger 2.2-inch screen, you can also choose from 15 video effects to jazz up your home videos, such as sepia, black and white, and kaleidoscope, according to the advertisements. I have been unsuccessful in trying to find these cool features, but I’m sure I’ll come across them. With the click of a mouse, the videos are on a laptop, posted on Facebook, and now everyone can watch somebody’s roommate solve a Rubix cube in eight seconds. Now, I know the iPod advertisements boast of high-quality images, but they’re not lying. The video and audio qualities are both remarkable considering the size of the device.

The speakers are good for your music too; just unplug your headphones and you can let your friends listen to the new CD you purchased and put on your iPod. If they liked the sound of that band, you can use the click wheel to create a Genius playlist. Just like in iTunes, the iPod nano will create a new playlist with similar songs, and you have the option of saving the playlist if you like what you hear. The only thing about this feature on the iPod, just like on iTunes, is that you only get a good Genius mix if you have a lot of music that fits the right profile. If you only have a few similar songs on your iPod, don’t expect an amazing Genius playlist. Go purchase more music instead.

In case you get tired of listening to your own music, just turn on your iPod’s FM radio. Compatible stations will scroll the name of the song and artist, and along with this new radio comes Live Pause and iTunes tagging, designed to enhance the listening experience. Live Pause enables listeners on their way to class to pause their favorite station and talk to someone, then resume listening to their station again.

The technology even allows rewinding as far back as 15 minutes and fast forwarding to catch up with the live station. It’s pretty nifty. iTunes tagging is for every person who’s ever heard a song on the radio and wanted to download it, but couldn’t remember the name of it. Users can simply use the click wheel to tag the songs they hear on the radio that they like, and the iPod makes a list of the tagged songs.

When you connect the iPod to your computer, the tagged list is in iTunes and you can purchase the songs. Unfortunately for international students, so far this technology only works in the United States.
So there’s video, there’s radio; what else is so amazing about this thing? The pedometer, because everyone has always wanted one of those. No, really, for the motivated people who keep up a fitness plan, or for anyone who’s just curious, the new pedometer feature offers a daily step goal or the option to continually count steps all the time. It can also keep track of how many calories you burn a day.

And while listening to your iPod on your bike or on your run, as the pedometer counts your calories and steps, the new Voice Over technology seamlessly tells you which song is playing. This technology is already popular on the iPod shuffle, but maybe hearing it on the nano is different because it sounds rather computerized.

I feel like it’s rather unnecessary, but I guess if you really have so much music that you’ve forgotten the name of the song you’re listening to, and your hands are occupied with whatever, it could be nice.

Most users would agree that there are certain new features that trump the Voice Over. “I think the best thing they put on the new nano was the video camera and the built-in mic and speakers,” said Cole Vandross, a first-year mechanical engineering major. Others agree that the new nano is supreme.

“The 2.2-inch screen and 240-by-376 resolution really maximizes the look of the videos and the cover art flow,” said James Williams, a sophomore computer science major.

“It makes me feel like my old new iPod is obsolete now; I have to get this new one.” Apple did more than just add new shiny features to the nano, and Vandross noticed this. “I also appreciate Apple’s efforts in being a part of the green movement with the mercury-free LED-backlit display and the recyclable aluminum case.” So when I am on my way to class, the sounds of the traffic on Fifth Avenue can’t compete with the environmentally friendly iPod nano, counting my steps all the way to Wean Hall.