The official CNET review of the fifth-generation iPod Nano is up, and I am officially exhausted. Someone please tell Apple to stop adding features to this thing. Remember when all an MP3 player to do was play music? CNET's first iPod review was only 600 words long. These days, you practically have to write a textbook to cover all the features that get crammed into something like the Nano.
Writer's exhaustion aside, the fifth-gen Nano is a pretty fantastic little gadget that's one of the most easy-to-recommend stocking stuffers out there. The thing comes in tons of colors, works with iTunes, helps you lose weight (pedometer), and might even get you to record the world's next completely unnecessary viral YouTube sensation. Sure, the earbuds are still garbage, but Sony seems to be the only manufacturer fighting that battle.
Now, to prevent from boring people to tears, one area of the iPod Nano's performance I didn't go into exhaustive detail over is the video camera's image quality. If you're curious, I ran a few of my own tests over the weekend, shooting indoors and outdoors, and A/B testing the Nano against the Flip UltraHD. Aside from the obvious image quality differences, I also ran up against problems with the Nano's tilt-sensor getting tripped-up on the camera's orientation and capturing videos sideways. Photo programs like iPhoto will often be smart enough to reorient the video according to EXIF data, but the glitch shows just one more way where a dedicated camcorder like the Flip gets things right.
Still, minor complaints aside, the Nano is still an exceptional itty-bitty do-it-all gadget for the price. You really have to take the Nano's camcorder with a grain of salt. It is, after all, an MP3 player. But if video recording tests really float your boat, former CNET-er Tim Moynihan has an comprehensive comparison of pocket camera and iPod Nano video tests. Otherwise, go read my rated review of the 5th-gen Apple iPod Nano by heading on over to CNET Reviews.