The fifth-Gen iPod nano is almost impossibly slim, but somehow the wizards at Apple managed to pack in a video camera. Though you’ll find a few other new features in the fifth-generation Nano, the video camera is the marquee addition. Considering how much space your home-video clips might take up, it's unfortunate that Apple didn't boost the Nano's storage capacity this generation.
The brandnew nano has the same measurements as its predecessor but ofers a larger, 2.2-inch display (up from 2 inches). It comes in a rainbow of colors, encased in slick-looking, polished anodized aluminum. The new finish is attractive, but it is definitely a magnet for smudges and fingerprints. That factor, combined with the positioning of the video camera lens on the back of the device, means you'll definitely want to invest in a case.
Among the Nano's new features are an FM radio tuner (at last!), VoiceOver (which announces song information in a somewhat creepy synthetic voice), and a pedometer. The FM radio is simple to use and has impressive audio quality. You can also pause a station for up to 15 minutes and then play it back, which is handy. Though the FM radio isn’t particularly innovative, the ability to pause and play radio is cool, and it works well. Thanks to its integration with iTunes, the fifth-gen Nano has unbeatable audio and video features. Genius Mixes, one new feature in iTunes 9, generate directly on the Nano when you sync from iTunes. The Genius Mixes group your music according to a common characteristic, such as genre, style, or similar artist. In my hands-on use, Genius did a pretty good job of matching up similar songs.
Audio sounded clean through the included earbuds, but you'll likely want to upgrade to a higher-quality pair; like the previous model's earbuds, this set produced somewhat tinny sound. In our test, the fifth-gen iPod Nano scored similarly to its predecessor and received a rating of Superior.
The new Nano's solid performance as a multimedia player is no surprise, and the new video camera is a positive addition.
The new Nano's solid performance as a multimedia player is no surprise--but how well does it work as a pocket camcorder? Its video performance is a mixed bag, but the video camera is a positive addition. While the video quality might not be as good as that of pocketable video cameras on the market, the Nano gets the job done for casual, short clips shot in bright light. The lens placement, however, is a bit awkward, so filming takes some getting used to. You can record only video, too; the device gives you no option to shoot still images.
To shoot video, you simply select 'Video Recording' from the main menu, and you're ready. You can view your recorded videos by pressing the menu button on the navigation wheel. Recorded videos live in a subfolder of your video collection. The lens placement, however, is a bit awkward, so filming takes some getting used to..It is easier to shoot video in portrait mode if you flip the Nano upside-down so that the lens is on the bottom. The speedy accelerometer automatically adjusts the image to portrait mode, so you can shoot without your fingers ruining your videos. This scenario feels the least aesthetically awkward, for sure. Even so, videos came out a bit shaky as the Nano just felt too small and lightweight. Outdoor video clips we captured looked great, with bright colors and sharp details. But clips which were shot indoors, however, were a different story because the Nano offers no controls for contrast or brightness, they came out fuzzy, dark, and grainy.
The microphone picked up sound adequately, with ample volume and no distortion. Te 640-by-480-pixel VGa footage is compatible with streaming-video Web sites such as YouTube or Facebook, and it works natively in iTunes. Watching video on the nano itself is surprisingly enjoyable, thanks to the expanded screen. The added 0.2 inch actually makes a big difference. Still, watching videos on a device this small takes some getting used to, and the rounded screen attracts quite a bit of glare.
Overall, the new Nano is bound to give stand-alone pocket camcorders a run for the money. Sure, it might not have the same video quality or extra features that dedicated pocket camcorders have, but it won’t deter the YouTube generation.
The 5th generation Nano shoots video and plays FM radio that makes an excellent player a better player.