Apple iPod Nano (2nd generation) review: Apple iPod Nano (2nd generation)

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The Good The second-generation Apple iPod Nano takes on a new scratch-resistant aluminum body, which is available in a variety of bright and shiny colors; it's still superslender but more durable, thanks to a seamless construction. It supports photos (with thumbnail grid) and album art and has great sound quality.

The Bad The iPod Nano still doesn't play video, not that you'd want to watch it on the small screen, and there's no built-in FM tuner or recording capability; not all color options are available for all memory sizes.

The Bottom Line The second-generation Apple iPod Nano is like the successful offspring of an iPod Mini and a first-generation iPod Nano. It's small, stylish, user-friendly, and competitively priced--a great player all around and suitable for a variety of users.

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8.3 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
Just about a year after Steve Jobs first wowed the tech press (and much of the general public) with the ultrathin sleekness of the first iPod Nano, Apple has unleashed /4531-10921_7-6637141.html?tag=blog">Nano number two into the world. Aside from a drastically different, iPod Mini-like casing and much-improved battery life, the new Nano isn't much altered from its predecessor. Apple has done away with the 1GB version in favor of a $249 8GB model and adjusted the pricing on the 2GB and 4GB capacities down to $149 and $199, respectively. With prices like these, SanDisk--maker of the video-playing, 8GB e280 ($250)--had better watch its back.

The 2G Nano gets cozy with its predecessor, along with a couple of competitors: the Creative Zen V Plus and the iRiver Clix.

The second-generation (2G) Nano shuns simple white and steps out in a metallic color parade, with shiny silver available in the 2GB and 4GB flavors; bright pink, green, and blue offered in 4GB; and somber black taking the 8GB version. The body casing itself is rather like a minified Mini shell: it's seamless anodized aluminum, which means the 2G Nano is not only less scratch-prone than its predecessor, but also more durable in general. As with the old Nano, the 2G features the much praised iPod Clickwheel, which serves as the player's only controls (other than the hold switch on the top). Above the Clickwheel is the rather small (1.5-inch) color display, which is 40 percent brighter than that of its predecessor, and the bottom edge of the player houses the headphone jack and proprietary dock connector. A larger screen would have been a welcome improvement, but the benefit is the uniformity of screen size and overall dimensions (the 2G is just a hair thinner and taller than the previous Nano: 3.56 by 1.6 by 0.26 inches): all the made-for-Nano accessories should work fine with the new model.

The new Nano plays nice with Altec Lansing's inMotion iM500 speakers.

As with other iPods, the 2G Nano is a snap to navigate, though the Clickwheel may take a little getting used to for first-time users, especially those used to other MP3 player controls. The Main Menu includes selections for Music, Photos, Extras, Settings, and Shuffle Songs--this last is particularly handy. Music is conveniently sorted by Playlists, Artists, Albums, and so on. And if you can't remember who a particular song or album falls under, you can use the new Search function (found in the Music submenu).