Apple iPod nano -- Stunning
I'm not a mindless cheer-leader for all things Apple, but the new iPod nano makes me sound like one...
The iPod nano really is a stunning device -- beautiful in the subdued colors, light but not fly-away, small but still easy to handle. And the new larger 2" color display works great for watching video clips, especially widescreen. As I've shown it around, it's clear that even people who are not gadget lovers can't resist it!
The display is bright, with a strong backlight, with 320 x 240 resolution (same as the video iPod and new iPod classic). It's still smaller than the iPod classic display (2" vs. 2.5"). The width works well with menus, as well as widescreen video - and the built-in games like Klondike solitaire. Plus the nano uses Apple's new Cover Flow interface to scroll through your music collection by the album cover artwork.
The nano is easy to handle -- fitting well in your palm (2.75 x 2.06 x 0.26 in.), solid but still light (1.74 oz.), with the colorful anodized aluminum front and polished stainless steel back. It's just barely thick enough to fit in the audio jack, dock connector, and hold switch along the bottom.
The nano is available in silver with 4 GB of flash memory for $149 (holds some 1,000 songs), or 8 GB for $199, in silver, black, blue, green, and red (2,000 songs). It syncs well with iTunes, of course (update required), for music, movies, TV shows, podcasts (audio and video), audiobooks, and games. It also syncs as a handheld organizer, with calendar, contacts, and notes.
Oh, and the iPod shuffle now comes in similar colors -- silver, blue, green, purple, and red, with 1 GB of flash memory for $79. That's enough storage for some 240 songs, easily hidden in a pocket or clipped to your belt.
(It's actually not clear that the shuffle would make sense with more storage -- as you add thousands of songs onto a player, you'd really want some kind of display to help you search and find specific music that you want to listen to, instead of randomly shuffling though it all.)
See my updated Portable Media Players Gallery for details on these new products, with comparisons to previous generations and competitive products.