New Apple iPod nano (2010) review

The new nano goes on a diet, gets mutli-touch, but loses video playback

new ipod nano
The new touchscreen iPod nano is radically different from last year's camera-toting model

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new ipod nano touchscreen

Syncing the new nano with iTunes was a pretty typical experience. People tend to either love or hate iTunes, so don't expect anything different here.

One thing we noticed was that while the nano won't play video, it won't stop you syncing and playing the audio from video podcasts.

The battery life is a healthy 24 hours of audio playback and charging is done through the dock connector.

There's no doubt about it – navigating menu items using multi-touch is a lot easier than using a click wheel. The multi-touch display frees you from the constraints of the click wheel and also feels fast and responsive. It's also bright and colourful, meaning photos really stand out.

new ipod nano touchscreen

In typical Apple fashion it even adds a bit of Ken Burns-style magic to your slideshows. It's little touches like this that continually surprise you (in the best way) about the nano.

The nano's minimal approach to physical buttons means that you can't pause or skip a track without actually looking at its tiny screen, which is a big drawback for any exercising endeavour.

As you can imagine, flailing about jabbing at the screen can only bring frustration on a treadmill, or if you simply want to skip a track while walking down the street without bumping into a lamppost.

It comes as something of a relief then to discover that if you plug in a pair of headphones with a clicker on them (like the ones that come with the iPhone) they function perfectly well with the nano, enabling you to pause and skip tracks without having to look at the screen.

new ipod nano touchscreen

Given this, why on earth has Apple only included the bog-standard clicker-less white iPod earphones in the box?

To make matters worse, two features of the new nano actually require headphones with a clicker to work at all! Plug in some earphones with a built-in microphone and a new app called Voice Memos appears, enabling you to record... yes, you guessed it, voice memos.

new ipod nano touchscreen

VoiceOver is also available as an option for visually impaired users who want to be able to navigate the menu system, but it will also tell you the name of the currently playing song if you click and hold on your headphone's in-line clicker button. Without the clicker button this feature simply isn't available.

It's no secret that Apple's earphones are of dubious audio quality, so we'd always recommend investing in a better pair, but make sure you buy some with an in-line clicker, because without it your nano experience will be seriously hampered.

Graham Barlow
Senior Editor, AI

Graham is the Senior Editor for AI at TechRadar. With over 25 years of experience in both online and print journalism, Graham has worked for various market-leading tech brands including Computeractive, PC Pro, iMore, MacFormat, Mac|Life, Maximum PC, and more. He specializes in reporting on everything to do with AI and has appeared on BBC TV shows like BBC One Breakfast and on Radio 4 commenting on the latest trends in tech. Graham has an honors degree in Computer Science and spends his spare time podcasting and blogging.