A Quick Review – The iPod Nano’s Fifth Generation

You might have seen some commercials lately for the latest release of the iPod Nano.

It's an interesting new product with a different look than previous Nanos, and a few added features are certainly eyebrow-raising.

The Nano now shoots video; but how good is it really, and is it much of an improvement over previous incarnations of the iPod Nano?  Let's take a look.

Users of the old Nano will be quick to notice some striking differences in this generation:  namely, the audio/visual attachments.  Yes, the Nano shoots video, but it also comes with an FM radio, records your voice, and includes a larger screen (2.2 inches to be precise).  In short, while this is called a Nano, it's actually quite a leap from the old versions.

The good news?  Quite simply, this is all good news, since the iPod Nano is not Apple's most ambitious iPod, but it still packs in features that would have given techno-geeks from the early 90's heart attacks.  It's also reasonably priced at around $150, meaning you can have all of the song-playing features in addition the screen, the FM radio, and the audio/video recording.

The bad news?  It shouldn't surprise anyone that the Nano is not a video recorder first; it's an MP3 Player first and a video recorder second.  That means that the video quality is not especially high, so you probably won't want to make it your primary video shooting gadget.  It can certainly work great in a pinch if you need to upload something you see onto YouTube.

That's not horrible news.  As CNET notes, the current incarnation of the Nano is the best.  The larger screen is a nice upgrade, though still not at the level of the Zune HD.

Familiar Nano users should be pleased, as much of the format itself hasn't changed.  The famous Apple "clickwheel" is still on the front, and it will still guide your experience.  The Nano package also contains what CNET calls a "dock fitting" for this product, which means you won't have to buy new iPod docks to accommodate the new shape.

Overall impressions?  The Nano is a successful product, the kind we've grown to expect from Apple.  The video upgrade is a nice feature, but won't necessarily knock your socks off.