Apple iPod nano 7th gen

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/ Updated: 14 September 2012 5:37 pm BST

There's a new look for the iPod nano. The seventh generation of Apple's slimline, barely-there mini MP3 player has a screen for putting films, TV programmes and photos in your pocket along with your tunes.

Announced alongside the new iPhone 5 and new iPod touch, the 7th gen nano comes with a new Lightning dock connector and updated earbuds. It's on sale in October for £130 for the 16GB model.

Design

Choose from black, pink, turquoise, green, yellow, purple or silver colours. You can also set up the background of the screen to be the same colour as the case so the screen matches the body, a feature also found in the colourful Nokia Lumia range of phones with Windows Phone software.

iPod nano 7th gen colours
You get a choice of snazzy hues but the white fascia feels less premium than older nanos.

Whichever colour you opt for, they all have a white face surrounding the screen, with a white home button beneath. I'm not impressed with the white fascia -- it detracts from the beautiful one-piece style of previous nanos, which felt like they'd been precision-carved from aluminium for that premium feel.

The case is just 5mm thick and we were definitely impressed with how thin and light it is. On the side are buttons to control the volume and quickly play, pause or change songs without looking. The headphone jack and dock connector are set into the bottom.

The new nano, touch and iPhone 5 come with redesigned earbuds, called EarPods. We haven't had a chance to try them yet but anything's better than the terrible white earbuds that have come with Apple devices in the past few years -- they're uncomfortable and leakier than a sieve, which means you have to turn your iPod up much louder than necessary and therefore drain the battery. Fingers crossed these new EarPods are better fitted and keep your tunes in your ears, where they belong.

iPod nano 7th gen with earphones
It would be hard for the so-called EarPods not to be an improvement on Apple's dismal earphones of old.

The connector is for plugging the nano into a dock or attaching your cable to charge and sync -- but it's a different size to the connector on previous models. The new iPhone 5, iPod touch and this iPod nano are the first to use the much smaller connector, called Lightning.

Because it's a different size to all previous iPhones, iPods and iPads, any cables and docks you already own won't fit the new nano. You can get an adaptor that attaches the Lightning connector to the old 30-pin connection, but it will cost you £25. You do get a Lightning cable with the new nano so you don't have to buy anything just for basic charging and syncing with your laptop.

The nano also offers Bluetooth, so if your iPod dock or speakers are Bluetooth-compatible, you can play music from your nano wirelessly without needing an adaptor or cable.

Sports

Each year Apple changes the nano between a tall MP3 player with a big screen like this one, and a small square MP3 player that doesn't do video. Unlike the previous square 6th gen model, this new edition doesn't have a clip to easily attach to your clothes.

If you like keeping your pictures and videos in your pocket, the new nano is perfect -- but if you're looking for a small and sporty back-up MP3 player for the gym or while out running, the small square version is better suited to you.

Now this new 7th gen nano is here, the previous nano has dropped in price if you prefer small 'n' sporty to photos 'n' videos.

iPod nano 7th gen video
The screen dimensions are suited to ogling films on the move.

If you're a sporty type and you do decide to go for the new tall nano, it does come with built-in fitness features including a pedometer and a Nike+ app to talk to your trainers and track your exercise.

Screen

The display is the largest ever built into an iPod nano. It's a 2.5-inch touchscreen and it's in a 16:9 aspect ratio, so there's no black bars around your films and TV.

As well as listening to music, you can view your photos and widescreen videos on the nano. Swipe from side to side on the touchscreen and you'll go to the previous or next song, photo or video.

Tap on the screen, and controls appear on the display so you can play and pause or skip to the next track or video. A slider to scrub through your video appears at the top of the screen. The controls are transparent so they don't interfere too much with your video, and they disappear when you tap Done. To shuffle tracks into a random order, just shake the nano.

As well as playing MP3 songs stored on your nano, you can listen to the radio. Favourite stations can be stored for quick access, or flick your finger to search through the FM dial. Live Pause lets you tap the screen to pause the song or programme so you don't miss anything -- and you can even rewind as far back as 15 minutes.

Apple promises 30 hours of listening to music or radio before you have to recharge.

iPod nano 7th gen screen
You get 30 hours of music playback before it conks out.

Outlook

The fact that Apple keeps changing between a screen-packing tall iPod nano and a small, sporty clip-on nano means that if you're not fussed about movies, videos and photos, you can buy the older square model and get a bargain.

But if you do want photos and videos in your pocket, the new 7th generation iPod nano is an excellent choice. It's barely thicker than a couple of credit cards and comes in a choice of nifty colours, although the white face detracts from the expensive feel of previous designs.

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