Apple iPod nano 5th Gen 16GB review

Does the world's most popular iPod really need an FM radio and a video camera?

apple ipod nano 5G
The iPod nano 5th Gen is the first iPod to come with a video camera

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video camera

Its fair to say that shooting video on the iPod nano is a challenge. Tucking the tiny lens and microphone into the bottom left corner of the iPod nano's back ensures that there are few ways you can hold the nano without your hand sausages straying over the front of the lens or mic.

Various hand-contortions follow, until you discover that the best way is to either hold the iPod nano very gingerly by its edges (when shooting in landscape mode) or in the bottom left corner in portrait (when the screen is facing you).

The ideal place to stick the video camera, of course, would be at the top left or top right of the iPod nano's back – presumably Apple hasn't been able to do this because of the colour LCD display, and it won't stick the lens in the centre of the iPod nano's back because, presumably, you wouldn't then be able to place the Apple logo there.

Apple's decision to stick a video camera on there then is at best a kludge and at worst a collective design disaster.

You can't even upload the grainy, low-res videos you do shoot directly onto YouTube or whatever – you have to hook the iPod nano up to your Mac or PC first. There's an obvious solution to all these shortcomings: it's called the iPod touch.

Radio daze

The other strange, headline-drawing feature is the inclusion of an FM radio.

fm radio

Apple's experimented with this before, with an add-on FM radio, but this seems like a belated response to a feature implemented better elsewhere: the old US-only Zunes had one, and many mobile phones do too.

Phones from the likes of Sony Ericsson also include RDS data so can see which radio stations you're tuning into. Frustratingly, the iPod nano presents you with the unadorned numbers (98.6, or whatever).

The combination of an analogue-style tuning dial and the iPod nano's scrollwheel – while great in theory – isn't a great combination either.

You have to be very precise with the scrollwheel to tune into the stations you want (not easy) and the analogue dial isn't finely graded enough. What the iPod nano sorely needs is DAB, or digital tuning at least.

The only thing we really like about the radio is that it includes a handy buffer that enables you to 'rewind' or 'live pause' the station you're listening to.