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There’s no denying that the iPod nano is a very cool device. When Apple launched its super slim and sexy player it took the World by storm. In fact it was so good that even I put my hand in my pocket and bought one. Not only was the nano beautifully designed, but it was also very affordable compared to the competition. In fact the nano carried on Apple’s policy to drive down the cost of its mega-popular music players, but in some respects you do get what you pay for.
Whereas the third generation iPod shipped with absolutely everything you needed in the box – carry case, charger, cradle etc. – the fourth gen didn’t come with a cradle or carry case, while the fifth gen didn’t even have a charger in the box. And the nano shipped with nothing more than a USB cable in the box.
The slim dimensions of the nano also made it difficult to use with the standard Apple iPod dock. Of course you could get a converter so that the nano would fit snugly in the standard dock, but it still looked a little out of place. Eventually Apple produced a nano specific dock, which did suit its svelte lines, but, as always, Apples are not the only fruit.
This nano dock from Marware certainly looks different from the official Apple unit – in fact it arguably looks better, although that’s a matter of taste and how entrenched you are in Apple styling. The sweeping lines of the Marware dock enhance the already sleek design of the nano, and when it’s mounted in the dock the whole bundle looks very, well, cool. Although the stand is fairly light, there are two sponge strips running along the base, which ensure that stand and nano stay put when you’re using the navigation controls.
Rather than a flat brick of plastic like the Apple dock, the Marware stand sweeps up so that the nano perches on, what I assume is meant to look like the crest of a wave. It’s certainly easy to see the screen and access the controls while the nano is residing in the dock, but this brings with it an age old iPod issue. You see, when the nano is connected to your PC, you can’t actually control it or playback music. Of course you can shutdown iTunes and disconnect the nano from Windows, then local control will return, but this also means that your nano isn’t charging anymore.