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Apple iPod Nano review: iPod Nano falls short in the era of the smartphone

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MSRP: $149.00

The Good The Apple iPod Nano has a sleek aluminum design, FM radio, Bluetooth and long battery life.

The Bad With no Wi-Fi, you're stuck syncing music via USB from a PC or Mac running iTunes. It doesn't work with Apple Music subscriptions, and the low-res screen is tiny.

The Bottom Line The iPod Nano is an aging music player that's hurt by its outdated reliance on iTunes and lack of subscription music compatibility.

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6.7 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 7

Editors' note, July 31, 2017: Apple has finally discontinued the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle, the more portable variations of the original Apple iPod. The Nano and Shuffle, like the iPod Classic that was discontinued in 2014, finally succumbed under the weight of their fatal flaw -- a lack of integrated Internet connectivity. For now, Apple still sells 32GB and 128GB editions of the iPod Touch; the previous versions featuring 16GB and 64GB of storage are no longer available.

The iPod Nano review, published in June 2016, follows.

Yes, the iPod Nano still exists. It's one of the last MP3 players standing in Apple's lineup, next to the gym-friendly, small-as-a-button iPod Shuffle and the basically-an-iPhone-with-no-cell-service iPod Touch.

The current seventh-generation Nano was introduced way back in 2012, but still lists for $150 (£129, AU$219). Even with Apple's built-in pricing premium, it feels like it should cost about 40 percent less at this point.

On the surface, there's a lot to like here. The Nano is like a shrunken-down iPhone with 16GB of storage, a touchscreen and a little home button. And while it doesn't have a full app store, it does offer far more than music: you can also listen to podcasts, watch videos and scroll through photos. There's an FM radio and Nike+ fitness tracking too, and the Nano offers Bluetooth support for streaming audio to all of the latest wireless speakers and headphones. (One snag: that radio requires wired headphones, which double as the antenna.) It's battery also averaged well over a day in our CNET Lab battery test. Can you say that about your phone?

You can use the headphones that come with it, or a wireless Bluetooth pair of headphones.

Josh Miller/CNET

Unfortunately, there are three notable problems. Firstly: your smartphone already does all of this stuff; the Nano doesn't bring anything new or exciting to the table, except featherweight portability. Secondly, that 2.5-inch screen is downright microscopic, and it's so pixelated that any tween born with a rose gold iPhone in their hands would scoff at it in disgust.

But the biggest problem with the Nano (and its screenless sibling, the iPhone Shuffle) is that you're still forced to use iTunes on your Mac or PC to get any content onto it. Songs, podcasts, videos, photos -- you'll need to tether the player to your computer and initiate that interminable syncing process. Every. Time.

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