Apple iPod nano (4th Gen) review

Price when reviewed

The last generation of nanos divided opinion with their short, squat design. For this new range the company has wisely returned to the tall, thin format of earlier models, with a new curved design in a range of summery colours for extra style points.

The new nano keeps the sharp, colourful 320 x 240 screen of its predecessor, but due to the new shape it’s had to be rotated through 90. That means if you want to watch videos, you have to turn the Nano on its side. It feels perfectly comfortable, though – arguably more so than clutching the old 3G Nano upright.

Apple has also borrowed some accelerometers from its iPhone and iPod touch assembly lines, meaning the new nano knows which way up it is. Tilt it on its side while you’re browsing a menu and the “coverflow” album browser instantly leaps to the fore.

Unfortunately, this can’t be turned off or configured at all, so it could be an irritation if – for example – you like to browse songs while lying in bed.

Another new feature is the ability to shuffle your playlist simply by shaking the nano. It’s a gimmick, but a cute one.

One last substantial update is the addition of a voice recorder – but you might not find it at first. The menu option only appears when you plug in a pair of Apple headphones with an inline microphone, such as is bundled with the iPhone but not the nano itself.

If don’t mind shelling out £16 plus VAT for a pair, you can record notes to your heart’s content, and pause and restart the recording using the inline click-control. It’s a niche feature, though, and we don’t like Apple headphones at the best of times – they lack bass, and have a tendency to fall out of our ears.

The fourth-generation iPod nano is a fairly minor upgrade, but it’s good to have the hi-res screen in a more ergonomic package.


Unsurprisingly, though, it still suffers from the two big iPod downsides – iTunes lock-in and very limited video support. The Creative Zen X-Fi is a more versatile player, offering an FM radio, an SD slot, wireless streaming and a built-in speaker for the same price.

Still, if you like the iPod way of doing things, the nano is a very usable little package. And the fact that it looks gorgeous doesn’t hurt either.

Basic specifications

Media player storage typeFlash memory

Other features

Resolution240 x 320


Dimensions39 x 91 x 8mm (WDH)

Audio codec support

MP3 supportyes
AAC supportyes
WAV supportyes
AIFF supportyes

Video codec support

H.264 supportyes
MP4 supportyes

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