"Apple iPod Nano (fifth-generation) Editor's Take"
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CNET First Look
CNET First Look
Apple iPod Nano (fifth-generation) Editor's Take
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>> Hey, I'm Donald Bell, Senior Editor for Digital, Audio, and MP3, and I'm here to show you the fifth generation Apple iPod Nano. At first glance, not much has changed compared the Nano we saw the year before. Even the price remains about the same, with an eight-gigabyte model running $149.00, and a 16-gigabyte going for $179.00. Color options still include red, orange, pink, black, silver, yellow, green, purple, and blue varieties, only now they're all glossed up, which some people might like, but to me it looks a little bit like someone dipped these in some sort of tacky, glittery nail polish. Still, you have an insanely thin design made from a single cut of surprisingly sturdy aluminum. The shape is curved like a wing all the way around, including the piece of glass covering the screen. The screen is larger now. It's 2.2 inches instead of 2 inches, which may not sound like much, but it does a better job showing off vides that have a wider aspect ratio. On the bottom, you can see that Apple flipped around the placement of the headphone jack and the dock connector, which may mean that you'll need to use the dock adaptor Apple provided in order to get the Nano to fit correctly in any existing speakers or accessories you have. But the biggest change by far is on the back of the Nano. You now have video camera that can capture decent 640 by 480 resolution video at 30 frames per second. There's also a little pinhole microphone next to the lens for capturing sound. Overall, the video quality is about equal to what you get from a modern cell phone. It can't compare to the image quality of something like the $200.00 Flip ultra HD, but then the Flip is about four times as thick and doesn't include the dozens of other features found on the Nano. So you'll have to pick your battles. Another cute little extra built into the Nano's camera are a handful of special effects, which are fun, but a little gimmicky. Overall, the camera is nice extra on the Nano, but I have to admit, the awkward placement of the lens will tend to make most of your videos start out with a close-up of your fingers. Also, it's a little disappointing that you can't just snap a still photo. But hey, for $149.00, a killer MP3 player with a video camera isn't a bad deal. But Apple didn't just stop there. Aside from the photo viewer, podcast integration, games, notes, calendar, stopwatch, voice recorder, and alarm clock that are all carryovers from the previous generation, Apple also threw in an FM radio and a pedometer. Now, we've been complaining about the lack of an FM tuner in the iPod since the first model came out in 2001. I have no idea why Apple finally relented, but we should all be glad they did since the radio here is one of the best you'll find. Aside from the fact that the interface is slick and supports RDS broadcast data, such as station call letters or song info, you can also tag songs off of the radio to look up later in iTunes. Of course, the Microsoft Zune HD will also give you RDS data and song tagging, as well as HD radio support, but Apple has one more trick up its sleeve that Microsoft doesn't, a pause button. That's right. The Nano will let you pause live radio and pick up where you left off. You can only pause for up to 15 minutes before the temporary memory cache fills up, but it comes in handy if you're listening to your favorite radio show and get interrupted with a phone call. Then there's the pedometer. Usually, I wouldn't make a big deal out of something like this, especially with all the other features packed into the Nano, but it's worth showing off considering the Nano's appeal to the fitness crowd. After entering in your current weight, the Nano offers a basic calorie and step counter. When you connect the Nano up to your computer, iTunes will ask if you want the pedometer data to be uploaded to the Nike Plus iPod website, where you can keep track of your progress. So that about covers all the new and notable features of the fifth generation iPod Nano. It's a pretty amazing product, given how slim and light it is, and with all of the features that Apple's thrown in, there's bound to be something you'll enjoy. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell.
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