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Apple iPod nano 8GB (3rd gen)
Try as hard as you like, you cannot deny that Apple has an uncanny ability to keep on making great products. Every time you think it's impossible to make improvements to their iPod music players, along comes another revamp that raises the bar yet again.
And with the design and desirability of the latest batch, it has excelled itself once again, especially with the new nano. Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past week or so, you'll know roughly what it looks like. In order to accommodate the bigger screen, it's both shorter and wider than the previous nano - 52 x 70 x 6.5mm (WxHxD) to be precise.
But you don't appreciate how nice a piece of design this really is until you're holding it in your hand. It's also a lot more curvaceous than the previous nano. The corners are rounded, and its edges fade gently away to a sharp edge before the brushed-finish aluminium gives way to a shiny chrome backplate. In fact, it now looks much more like a miniature version of the iPod Classic and that has to be a good thing. The edges are unadorned save for the standard Apple connector (no mini-USB still), hold switch and 3.5mm audio socket on the base.
In terms of cutting edge features Apple has been behind the game for some time now. The past year has seen virtually every single other major manufacturer build in some form of video capability into their premium flash memory based players, so it's good to see that this third generation nano has finally caught up.
It now plays video, and on a bigger, brighter screen than before. Apple is claiming in typically bullish fashion that the new 2in screen is 65 per cent brighter than the previous generation's screen and I wouldn't be at all surprised to discover this assertion to be accurate; it's a truly lovely thing to look at. Photos look vibrant and videos are crisp, punchy and detailed. How long you'll want to spend watching a screen this small is debatable and it's worth noting that widescreen footage on the 4:3 screen is eye-squintingly difficult to watch, but the nano makes up for this with its ability to play back footage at up to 30fps, which is easily enough for smooth, judder-free viewing.
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