Unlike standard iPods, the top edge of the nano is completely barren except for the Hold switch. The headphone socket is actually hiding on the bottom edge of the device, along with the dock connector. The reason for this is that Apple’s lanyard headphones are secured via the dock connector, so the headphone socket therefore had to be next to it. It may seem strange at first that Apple has chosen to hang the nano upside down from your neck, but in reality it makes a lot of sense. With the device hanging upside down, you simply tilt it towards you and navigate as normal – if it was hanging the right way up, tilting it towards you would result in the device being upside down; not the ideal position for navigation.
Thankfully the nano uses exactly the same dock connector as standard iPods, which means you can use your spare cables. Just be aware that the nano won’t sync via FireWire, although you can use your FireWire cable for charging. Of course the nano isn’t going to fit into your docking cradle, but Apple has covered this point by supplying a converter in the box for this purpose. Also in the box you get a USB docking/charging cable and the ubiquitous white Apple ear buds.
When I’m writing an MP3 player review, it’s usually at this point that I tell you to forget about the bundled headphones and invest in a decent set to get the best out of the device. However, with the nano, I have felt compelled to use the supplied Apple ear buds. Why? Well although I still far prefer the sound from my Sennheisers, with a device as small as the nano, it seems ridiculous to be carrying around a set of headphones that are four times the size of the player!
Thankfully the Apple ear buds give a good account of themselves and overall sound quality using them is good. In fact the sound that the nano pumps out is superb, and easily as good as my fourth generation iPod. As long as you’re ripping your music at a decent bit rate, you’ll have no complaints with the audio that the nano pumps out.
Apple quotes a battery life of 14 hours, which is more than adequate for a device that’s obvious purpose is as an exercise companion – if you can manage a workout that lasts more than 14 hours, you’re a much better man than I am.