We’re such busy people at Digit—so busy, we forget to stop munching, and neglect our health. I needed a workout buddy, and fast—a PMP compact enough to pocket while jogging, plus good sound quality… Here’s an account of my first month with the iPod nano 3G.
Unpacked it… Satin black aluminium front, chromed steel rear reminiscent of the first generation nanos. It’s much shorter than previous nanos, and slightly slimmer and lighter. Build quality is exemplary—typical Apple—and the contoured body is stylish. The nano 3G supports video playback on its 2-inch display, with a resolution of 320 x 240.
The click-wheel feels solid; iTunes is still the same—music needs to be dragged from its interface to the nano if you’re being selective, or you can sync the nano. Something new: the nano 3G shows up as a removable drive even without iTunes (although iTunes is needed for all multimedia files). After ejecting the nano, it still charges through USB. iTunes still won’t detect FLAC files—sad.
Apple’s default earbuds leave much to be desired if you’re discerning about quality. Swapping these with my EP630 proves a serious step-up. I used our Bose Intra-Ear earbuds and was even more impressed. The nano offers punchy bass that is low yet tight. Mids are superbly detailed and highs are well-represented—perfectly neutral-sounding.
Paired this with my home setup—a tube amp coupled with my Sennheiser HD650 cans—and played a few favourite tracks (320 kbps). All the depth, clarity and detail was there; audiophiles who want portable source, consider this. I also tried the nano with the HD650s and no amp—there was an immediate loss in detail, though surprisingly, the result wasn’t too bad, considering the output impedance of the nano is 40 ohms, while the HD650 is rated at 300!
Copied a few photos and a video. The screen, while good enough for photos (crisp and bright), isn’t all that great for movies. For one, the viewing angles aren’t good. Besides, I like my videos on a bigger screen. Skip the nano 3G if you’re looking at a video player.
Attempted a firmware flash—the application is now part of the iTunes setup. It’s quirky: the download crossed 100 per cent, but never completed. Reinstalling iTunes with my Net connection active sets the problem right. You can revert to the previous firmware at the click of a button.
The nano allows me to download podcasts from the iTunes Store. Tried a few free audio and video podcasts. Even TV serials are available for purchase from iTunes, and this is where having a video player becomes a major plus. You can also download books from their library—this is where the true power of iTunes is realised: rich and varied multimedia content.
Decided that video playback was not bad—just not much of an experience on such a tiny screen. Album Art while playing MP3s is more fun, courtesy the larger screen—pity it couldn’t get larger.
If you want to cart your entire collection with you, don’t buy this— 4 / 8 GB is all you get. If you want a good movie player, look elsewhere. If you want something fancy, get the iPod Touch. If you want something really compact with amazing music quality, the nano 3G at Rs 6,500 (4 GB) or Rs 8,500 (8 GB) is the only way to go.