The iPod Nano (sixth generation) is nearly half the size of the previous model, uses unique multitouch screen navigation, and includes a built-in clip.
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The back of the sixth-gen Nano uses an aluminum clip-on design, similar to the iPod Shuffle.
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The iOS-like icons used throughout the four scrollable home screens make sense, and they launch into their intended functions with lightning speed.
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We have to admit, we didn't think it was possible for Apple to make the Nano any smaller than what we saw in 2009. Boy, were we wrong. The Nano now measures approximately 1.5 inches square, and 0.35 inch deep, including the spring-loaded metal clip borrowed from the iPod Shuffle. It's ridiculously small.
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On the bottom edge of the Nano you'll find Apple's standard 30-pin dock connection and a headphone jack compatible with standard headphones (included), as well as headsets with microphone and remote control capabilities (sold separately).
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Arguably, the Nano's most impressive feature is its size. Apple shrank the Nano's design by nearly 50 percent while maintaining a 24-hour battery life, generous capacity options, and existing features such as music playback, an FM radio you can pause, Genius Mixes, podcasts, audiobooks, photo gallery, clock, stopwatch, pedometer, and support for the optional Nike+ fitness system.
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Two circular buttons on the top edge of the Nano provide intuitive tactile control over volume adjustment; a larger oval-shaped button nearby acts as a sleep/wake control for the touch screen.
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Unlike the click wheel navigation used on all previous Nano designs--which was literally shaped like a target for your fingers--the new Nano's touch screen requires your eyes to interpret the onscreen navigation.
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We have good things to say about the player's screen. The glass-covered LCD is bright and colorful, with a crisp 240x240-pixel resolution that packs 220 pixels per inch. The touch screen is frighteningly responsive and fluid, rivaling the performance of the iPhone 4.
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Here's a point-of-view shot of what the Nano looks like attached to the strap of a messenger bag. Without tilting the screen into view and activating the screen, it can be difficult to determine how to perform even basic operations, such as pausing music playback.
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We're not saying the Nano's original click wheel navigation was perfect, but at least you always knew how to stop and start music, regardless of what was on the screen.