Sunday, October 02, 2005

Cool! I want it!

Small is beautiful for Apple

by Peter Griffin

Small can be beautiful. Its name says it all. The iPod Nano is small, so small you'll keep giving your pocket reassuring pats to make sure the tiny device is still there. It's the smallest iteration of the world's favourite music player yet, and while it does nothing more than its older siblings, the Nano just looks and feels better. Whereas the full-sized iPods contain hard drives, the Nano uses flash memory. It has fewer moving parts, can be made smaller and is less easy to damage, but it won't hold your entire music collection. I've always been attracted to the huge capacities hard-drive-based music players like the 60GB iPod and the iRiver can supply, but the Nano has revived my interest in small music players. The version I used had 2GB of storage, enough for around 400 songs. That's not as much selection as a full-size iPod but syncing with the accompanying iTunes software which works on Mac computers and Windows PCs is so fast and easy, it's not much of a hassle to shuttle songs between the player and your computer. The Nano's 1.5-inch, 176x132-pixel colour screen is bright and clear and displays the iPod's familiar uncluttered menu. You can also transfer photos to the Nano in iTunes, using a USB 2.0 cable. You'll fill the 2GB Nano in just a few minutes if your computer supports the high-speed transfer system. The photos can be displayed on the screen and a good range of photo formats is supported. You can set up picture slide shows to play with the music. There's no music equaliser, but 22 pre-set listening modes should keep audiophiles happy. And while the music delivered through the classic, white, ear-bud headphones seems to be as good as with the larger iPods, you can plug in your own high-end headphones for slightly better sound quality. There's support for importing contact details from programs like Outlook Express. There's a plastic fitting so you can use the Nano with your existing iPod dock and it comes with a standard connector so your iPod accessories should work fine with it. Reports out of the US last week said Nano users were finding the tiny music player's screen easy to crack and the front easy to scratch. It will certainly be interesting to see how the Nano weathers knocks and scrapes as it ages. If you're rough on your gadgets, the aluminium-encased iPod Mini may be better suited to you. I'm still reticent in recommending any iPod wholeheartedly due to its incompatibility with many music download services, but on design and ease of use alone, the Nano is the best music player Apple has released since the original iPod seduced us all.

Griffin, Peter. 2 October,2005. retrieved from


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