Apple iPod touch 5G and iPod nano 7G Multimedia Players Page 2

nano: Yes-Yes!
Less frilly, less expensive and more portable is the Apple iPod nano, which is now in its seventh generation. The nano, created to offer a subset of the latest features in an impressively sleek form factor, has undergone some drastic changes over the years. It did not gain video playback until its third generation but lost it again in Gen-6, a situation that did not change from 2010 to 2011. Video is back and better than ever on a 2.5-inch (diagonal) 16:9 multi-touch LCD screen—the largest ever for a nano. The device is tall and skinny again, trading the clickwheel last seen in Gen-5 for a home button. The result? A tiny video player that is predominantly screen on one side, housed in a wafer-thin aluminum unibody that weighs barely more than an ounce.

iTunes automatically detects the capabilities of a connected player and passes along the highest-quality content, so once again this iPod scales video for optimum display on its 240x432 display—the highest resolution nano screen to date. While not as striking as its big brother, nano is still tremendously enjoyable, and unbeatable for convenience and "wow" factor. My standard-definition files were loaded up by default here, which might be for the better, since nano arrives with 16 gigabytes of storage as its only option.

Nano is not Wi-Fi-enabled, which means no AirPlay, no onboard iTunes Store and no App Store, which is fine because the nano doesn’t support many apps. Out of the box you get a clock/stopwatch/timer, Nike fitness monitor integration and a photo viewer. Unlike the touch, the nano includes an FM radio with metadata and a live pause function. The headphone cable serves as the antenna, and the interface and reception are first-rate. Like the touch, nano offers Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity for use with wireless speakers or headphones but skips the internal speaker.

Despite a familiar video control interface that appears/disappears with a tap of the multi-touch LCD, you cannot zoom in and out of a movie or TV show; rather, nano automatically zooms in to fill the screen without any letterboxing or pillarboxing (black bars on the sides). While the original aspect ratio will be compromised in some cases, the tradeoff is a versatile 16:9 screen that makes the most of its two-and-a-half inches. The primary video tweak in the settings is to adjust the brightness.

Whether you are looking for a feature-packed powerhouse with "HD," wireless connectivity and lots of apps, or a more affordable, lean yet capable multimedia device, Apple has you covered with these new players. Evolved over years of continuing refinement, both offer the quality—and, yes, fun—we've come to expect. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to find out what happens to the crew of The Orca….

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