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iPod nano 7th generation (2012) Review



  • Slim body
  • Responsive touchscreen
  • Easy to use interface


  • A bit expensive
  • Fairly low screen res
  • Limited features

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £129.00
  • 2.5-inch screen
  • Bluetooth
  • Nike+ support built in
  • Capacitive touchscreen
  • 16GB storage
  • Lightning connector
  • Apple EarPods


Out of all of Apple’s mobile ranges, the iPod nano has featured the most diverse array of incarnations. It was long and thin, then it was squat and cute, it shed the pounds again, became the size of a postage stamp for a bit and now is back to being a long, thin rectangle under its latest guise as the 7th generation, 2012 iPod nano.

The iPod nano may be suffering from a seven-year identity crisis, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic little music player in most respects.

iPod nano 7th Generation Video Review


The preceding sixth-generation iPod nano was the first to feature a touchscreen, and a touchscreen was pretty much all it was. Tiny and able to be worn as a watch, it was a bit of a strange device. The 2012 iPod nano 7th generation, however, reverts to a more traditional nano design.

iPod nano 7

It’s a slender rectangle 76mm high and just 5mm thick. Like the iPod nano 6G, it’s mostly screen, but now there’s an iPhone-like ‘Home’ button underneath the screen, giving the iPod nano 7th Generation a healthy bit of bezel.

Like the new, 2012 iPod touch and iPhone 5, the shell of the iPod nano 7th generation is aluminium. It comes in eight different colours, including dark grey and silver for those who like the sober look. The sole interruption of the iPod nano’s bodywork is a small bit of white plastic on the rear.

iPod nano 10

This is to ensure solid Bluetooth performance, as a full-metal body can cause serious wireless connectivity problems with things like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. You only get Bluetooth here, though. The iPod nano 7th generation is a pretty simple device compared to the iPod touch.

Such simplicity is what lets the nano get as small as it is. It’s dinky enough to hold comfortably while out on a run, and yet has the screen and memory capacity to let it function well as a main MP3 player. However, as there’s no clip, those after a pure exercise music buddy should also consider the iPod shuffle or Sandisk Sansa Clip Zip.

iPod nano 6

The iPod nano 7th generation inhabits a curious middle ground that may make people ask who it’s aimed at. Storage is stuck at 16GB, with no way to expand this, it doesn’t play apps or games and at £129 it’s hardly cheap. It’s a good job, then, that it’s a delight to use.


Unlike the iPhone and iPod touch, the iPod nano 7th generation doesn’t use iOS 6, or indeed any of Apple’s iOS software iterations. It features a similar visual style, but is far more stripped-back.

iPod nano 14

The home screen here is a selection of circular icons that represent the player’s core features, split into two pages you swipe between with flicks of the touchscreen. Running them down tells you pretty much everything the iPod nano 7th generation is capable of.

There’s Music, Videos, Podcasts, Photos, Radio, Clock, Settings and Fitness, which is the app for the iPod nano 7th generation’s Nike support. The beauty of the nano is quite how easy it is to use.

It uses a relatively low-powered NXP ARM processor, but as there’s not much to challenge its operation is superbly quick and smooth. There are neat, snappy animated transitions that tie together each part of the interface, making many cheaper MP3 players like the Sandisk Sansa Clip Zip seem a bit shonky. Let’s not forget, though, that the nano is several times the price.

iPod nano 15

Aside from the home button, all menu navigation is handled with the 2.5-inch touchscreen, which is capacitive and highly responsive. Flick left-to-right and you’ll skip back within the menu system, and the layout of each sub-section of the iPod nano 7th generation is highly intuitive.

Music navigation is executed in standard Apple style. It’s clean, it’s quick, it’s simple and the only visual embellishments are supplied by the album artwork, used throughout.

Video files are arranged in a similar style. As with any Apple mobile product, though, you’ll have to get onboard the iTunes train to load up the new nano with music or video files. There’s no drag ‘n’ drop action here, just iTunes syncing. There’s no wireless synchronisation either, just wired transfers through Apple’s new 8-pin Lightning connector cable.


Within the little plastic coffin that the 2012 iPod nano ships in, you get a Lightning cable and a pair of Apple EarPod headphones. These replace the Apple earphones that have accompanied every Apple player for years, and they have been in development for almost half a decade.

iPod nano 3

They are a significant improvement in terms of sound quality over their longstanding predecessors, but their fit is a bit of an acquired taste. The hard plastic bodies of the new Apple EarPods rest by the entrance to your ear canal, and if you fiddle with them too much they can irritate your ear cartilage. What you miss out on with an iPod nano 7th generation is a power adapter, which only ships with Apple’s smartphones and tablets such as the iPhone 4S and iPad 3.

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