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iPod nano 7th generation (2012) review

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



Our Score:



The iPod nano's middleweight stature also shows up in its display. It's a 2.5-inch 240 x 432 pixel jobbie, a bit like a slimmer version of a phone screen from 2008. Pixel density is respectable, making text reasonably sharp, but it doesn't come close to the Retina displays of the 2012 iPod touch and iPhone 5.

Display quality isn't quite top-notch, either. The iPod nano uses a TN panel, which suffers from contrast shift when tilted the wrong way. It's not a disaster, but coming from one of the pioneers of high pixel density screens, it's disappointing to see a fully redesigned product end up with something second-rate.

iPod nano 17

The small, relatively low-res screen makes the 7th generation iPod nano of limited use for video. It's too dinky to watch anything longer than a few minutes on, and as there's no way to access quick fix video resources like YouTube here.


The new iPod nano does have one feature you don't get in Apple's other devices, though, an FM radio. It uses the headphone cable as an antenna, and lets you pause stations by using the internal memory as a buffer. Few media players offer this function.

Nike integration is the other key non-musical addition. Used in tandem with a £15 sensor, available separately, the iPod nano can monitor runs, calculating how far you've run or walked, supplying you with tunes on the way.

iPod nano 16

The clock function may come in handy too, but crucially there's no alarm clock here as the iPod nano doesn't have an internal speaker or a vibration motor. There is a countdown timer and stopwatch, though.

Other than these little extras, the iPod nano 7th generation is all about playing music - and podcasts/audiobooks, if that's your bag.

Sound Quality

As with Apple's other products, sound quality in the 7th generation Apple iPod nano is respectable but not particularly note-worthy. Output is clean and has enough power to drive smaller headphones, but for mammoth high-impedance pairs you may need to use an amp.

There's the usual basic selection of EQ modes on tap too, with 22 on offer. Apple seems to have improved the quality of these in recent times, with a non-distorting bass boost, but the fidelity of control needed to please audio fans isn't really here. All the presets fiddle with the sound a bit too much, and you're best off leaving it on "flat" or "off" if you use remotely decent headphones.

iPod nano 8

The iPod nano 7th generation offers a volume limit - handy if you're looking to buy a nano for a child - and there's a sound check mode that normalises volume levels across tracks.

Unlike Sony branded players such as the Sony Walkman A845, Apple doesn't have any quirky features that automatically create mood-based playlists on the fly, but it does support Apple's Genius Mixes, created by iTunes.


Given the relative paucity of features and the many much lower-cost alternatives that are available, the iPod nano 7th generation does not seem particularly great value. However, to an extent it's a symptom of the stagnancy of the media player market.

iPod nano 13

Cowon keeps on trundling out models that feel as though they should have been released four years ago. Sony's players are at times barely indistinguishable from their predecessors. A change in design hasn't led to anything particularly note-worthy in the 7th generation iPod nano, but that doesn't change the truth that this is one of the nicest small players to use. The weakness of the word "nice" is telling, but then maybe not all of Apple's products need to be "magical".


The 2012 iPod nano 7th generation doesn't have the chops to make the same impact as a new iPod touch or iPhone 5. Its screen isn't great in some respects, it's a bit expensive and it doesn't do all that much. However, it's so much of a joy to use on a day-to-day basis that we can learn to accept most of its limitations. Strong design and Apple's excellent UI are enough to mitigate this partly underwhelming redesign.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 7
  • Sound Quality 8
  • Usability 10
  • Value 7


October 23, 2012, 11:31 am

I'd be keen to know what the battery life is like please.

I think there is still a market for stand-alone music players. I don't like using my phone for music as it ends up being connected to speakers and therefore not in my pocket - I then walk away and miss calls. There is also the issue of GSM interference spoiling the music.

I don't think this player justifies the cost over the sansa clip. My ideal player would be an oversize clip with a bigger battery. We should be able to get a weeks worth of music by now. No need for "video" screens either!


October 23, 2012, 5:20 pm

@sengstaken>> I'd be keen to know what the battery life is like please.

30 hrs. Should be good for a week at about 4 hours a day.

The Sansa Clip seems to be about 11 hrs.

All things been equal, I think the extra £60 for this doesn't seem too bad.


February 6, 2013, 7:20 pm

I find battery life playing music not the greatest. I have yet to see close to 10 hrs. But 7 or 8 is pretty good. I use Hesh 2 Skullcandy headphones which require a healthy volume setting. So earbuds might get you better results. I find the volume output is marginally if you like loud music. Is this a design or simply a lacking headphone amp? What I really hate is the new power connector.

Akoto Mirasol

February 16, 2013, 5:20 pm

does this have voice recorders?


March 19, 2013, 11:06 pm

I have a 2nd generation iPod Nano that I use primarily in my truck connected to a Pioneer AVIC-Z2 head unit with the iPod adapter (30-pin) but, wanted to increase storage capacity to load up more iTunes songs so, I bought the 7th generation iPod Nano. First off, the lightning connector required me to buy the 30-pin adapter which isn't cheap at $30 to interface with my Pioneer system. Unfortunately, with the adapter the 7th gen iPod will play but not charge like my 2nd gen. So, I thought wouldn't be a big deal because my older iPod Nano can run for about 2 weeks without a charge using it around 2 hours a day for my daily commute. The new iPod lasted about 5 hours until the battery exhausted. I charged it again to 100% thinking it may not have been fully charged the first outing. To my dismay, it ran out around 5 hours again. I only used it for playing MP3 and none of the other features like Bluetooth were enabled. I don't like the lightning-to-30 pin adapter due to its awkward connectivity and additional space it requires for use with a compact MP3 player.

I returned both the iPod Nano and adapter and plan to buy a used 2nd gen. iPod Nano with 8GB capacity that works with my Pioneer system and has longer battery life.

My opinion is Apple made a bad design choice to go with the lightning connector. Requires buying an expensive adapter to use with iPod 30-pin interfaces. 7th gen. iPod Nano battery life is terrible and for those that just want an MP3 player to play iTunes, the additional features of FM radio, Nike app., podcasts, Videos, & Bluetooth will only consume more battery.

Trick Step

April 10, 2013, 4:12 pm

I have it and it's extremely easy to use battery life up to 30 hours of music , 10 hours of video and you cannot install apps , but you can sync from itunes music , videos , podcasts , etc. But on the 2nd page where is clock and settings , you can sync ITunes U and Audiobook those two will appear on the second page or the 3rd page , or what page you select them to be . What is new for this ipod nano , as it says on the video , it has bluetooth wich allows you to connect to your car , your wireless headset and you can connect to the other devices from Apple. And exteremely rare for this ipod , if you keep charging your ipod , you will increase your ipod's battery life !!! I'm not joking because i have one of my own and i have done that and i increse my ipod's battery life , up to 38 hours of music and and 18 hours of videos !!!And now about photos you can now pinch to zoom and picture , wich the previous ipod nano , dosen't do that ! Only at videos you can sync movies only mp4 and you can double tap on the screan and voila ! The video's bigger it can support 1000 charges , and if you leave it 7 days at charging you can activate bluetooth , you can keep the screen on and the battery will not respond till the next charging , i mean it frozez . You know if you leave your ipod ( 7th gen) 30 seconds at charge the battery will increase "a quarter" of battery. I think is the best mp3 , mp4 , ipod from Apple looking at the increased battery life ! ( MY OPPINION )

Trick Step

April 10, 2013, 4:19 pm

yes , but not with the included earpods , only with earphones with microphone


August 17, 2013, 5:06 pm

I'm so disappointed in my Nano because it has no alarm. I need an alarm to wake me (yes, with ear buds.) Such a waste of money for me. :(


August 19, 2013, 8:15 pm

can you watch movies?


September 14, 2013, 7:31 am

why does it have photos if there is no camera?


September 14, 2013, 7:31 am

then sell it.

Decder Diamond

October 3, 2013, 6:54 pm

Does it have an internal speaker?

Peter riffin

October 5, 2013, 3:23 pm

To get games and apps on it insert the I pod into the computer and click on my computer then go onto your name I pod than make a folder and have happy gaming! I managed to get Gta vice city and Gta 3 on my 7G ipod Nano.

Eric Dalzell

November 8, 2013, 12:42 pm

Gone through two in less than a year. First one wouldn't charge after a few months. Apple replaced it. Second one now has no sound after two months. Nice that Apple replaces them but getting to be annoying.


January 5, 2014, 7:58 pm

How do you download the game after making the folder?


February 1, 2014, 1:31 pm

I am on my 4th 7th generation Nano and now heading back to
get the Apples store as this one (will
be my 5th device in less than year) has also broke and shown same fault issue
as the others that failed. Screen started flickering and jumping then end ups going
white and then fails and goes black. Typically
i can normally see in ITunes but device
screen just not working at all... If you leave hooked up via usb port it starts
to go white around top edge of screen. Has anybody experience any issues like

I typically use this for gym and running where this is when
it has failed

Gabriel Anthony Ramirez

December 26, 2016, 12:38 pm

i miss my old school 80g iPod when I it finally died, so I had to buy the nano 7th gen and i been using it for 1 year and I think it sucks! bad battery life so I bought one of those portable charging things. yes I know its the headphones over ear Sony MDR-x10 ones that go in ear to uncomfortable, then they say it can hold up to 4,000 something songs witch is a bunch of bull mine only held 183 and it is telling me I cant ad more songs memory is full. then I find out its how you import the songs and format and more crap I have to read up on to know what the heck wave, aa bla bla, and now I need to go back and convert the songs already on the iPod. they should make an iPod for us older guys that does nothing but play music I don't need podcast, don't need to know how many steps I taken take out movies to dam thing is way to small to see it anyways same with photos I have a big screen tv for that and LG phone for on the go.


January 6, 2017, 3:07 pm

Can anyone confirm this.
I use a headphone amp and currently play my iPod nano 5 gen via the 30 pin into the jack socket input to the amp.
I tried an iPod touch with the lightning output plugged in to the micro USB input of the amp, a Shure SHA900, and it plays fine. I then tried an iPod nano 7 gen with the same connector, lightning to micro USB, and it's totally quiet.
Is the nano 7 lightning output different to the iPod touch lightning output. I think it may be a different OS.
Anybody know if there's a short, about eight cm, connector with a lightning plug to go into the iPod seven on one end and a headphone jack PLUG to go into the amplifiers line in jack socket on the other end.

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