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6th Gen Nano: Not a small wonder

The 6th Gen Nano, possibly the tiniest touchscreen device in the market, fails to offer the iPod experience. Read on to know more about this latest gadget.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2010 18:52 IST
Siddharth Basrur
Siddharth Basrur
Hindustan Times

Take the new sixth generation Nano out of its box, and you can’t help but admire its tiny size. In fact, it is hard to imagine it has a touch screen interface!

The new iPod Nano has three buttons on the top; two for volume and one for the sleep/ awake function. There’s the standard Apple dock connection and a 3.5 mm earphones input jack at the bottom. It is around four cm square and 0.8 cm deep, and has a spring-loaded metal clip that lets you clip it on the move.

The multi-touch function is so smooth that you barely have to touch the screen for the Nano to respond. The smooth LCD displays colours beautifully with its 240x240 pixel resolution. It can be likened to the iPhone/ iPod Touch display, and even the user interface is quite similar.

While Apple has definitely upped the ante by adding multi-touch to the Nano, it has also taken away too much. For instance, there’s no more a video camera, video playback, games, an alarm and the calendar. Some might justify that by saying the screen is too tiny to watch movies on, but that is debatable. Games such as Klondike shall be sorely missed.

AppleTo make up for what isn’t there, Apple has put in some nifty features. There are apps that fitness freaks will love, and there’s also support for the optional Nike + iPod system which you can sync online through iTunes. Apart from that, Apple has managed to squeeze in a stopwatch, pedometer, Genius Mixes, podcasts, audio books, photo gallery, clock, and an FM radio which you can pause and even rewind up to 15 minutes.

However, even with all these features, one still wonders what a touchscreen has to do with all these functions. You’re left with a feeling that something should be added to lend the multi-touch function some more value. Apple should have added more apps and maybe even some games to make this little package more attractive.

As usual, the bundled earphones give back very bad sound, so buying a new pair is recommended. However, with a good earset, the highs sound crisp, the bass wellrounded and the mids sharp. However, the maximum volume could have been louder.

As far as functionality goes, the sixth gen Nano is pretty easy to use, but has its fair share of flaws. Although the touch screen is super-responsive, it takes a little bit of getting used to, especially when navigating through contents. Users who are accustomed to the click wheel will need to concentrate on the screen to figure out how the UI works.

For instance, I almost tripped over a chair while walking around and trying to figure it out. Now that wouldn’t have happened with my old Nano, as using the click wheel was like second nature and I didn’t have to stop everything I was doing just to go to the next song. But I’ll also admit that it gets easier the more you use it.

Let’s move on to the battery life, which is strictly OK. Apple claims that the battery lasts for 24 hours on full charge, but unfortunately, this didn’t ring true when I tested it. Even with the display off most of the time, the Nano didn’t last more than 13 hours. And like any other touch screen device, the more you play around with it, the more it drains the battery. Nuff said.

The sixth-gen iPod Nano looks cool and trendy, and can also be worn as a watch. But sadly, its limited functionality threatens to effectively ruin the iPod experience. It no longer feels like a Portable Media Player, but like an MP3 player with added functions. On the one hand, you could argue that Apple has made the Nano a whole lot simpler. But in this process, Apple has lost out on whatever they’ve added to the Nano such as the cool video camera in the fifth generation version.

Of course, this is only the first of such tiny devices that Apple has rolled out, so there’s always room for improvement. Hopefully Apple will stuff a whole lot more into the next one.

If you are a fitness freak, it has some great applications that will prove useful. But in the end, it feels like this is more of a cool accessory to have rather than an MP3 player. Although the sound quality is great, at an MRP of Rs 12,700, I’d rather go in for a PMP that does much more.

What we like
Sound quality
Trendy looks
Smooth interface

What we don’t
Lack of features
No video capabilities
Too expensive

The new iPod nano is available at suggested retail prices of Rs 10,700 for the 8 GB model and Rs 12,700 for the 16 GB model. Both models are available in silver, graphite, blue, green, orange and pink through Apple resellers. Although it might seem cool to have a touchscreen device that is so tiny, points have been deducted for lack of features and a slightly complicated user interface.

Rating- ***

First Published: Nov 09, 2010 12:52 IST