iPod Nano Hands-On Impressions

The new, thinner and smaller iPod nano really is smaller, thinner, and feels much better in your hand. Brian, our hand model, has small hands, so you can see how relatively small the unit is. The aluminium is slick, but the clickwheel might be slightly too slick, and not as grippy as previous models. The UI though, is fast and responsive—maybe even more so than the previous fat nano generation. The scrolling album art on the main menu is at the bottom, and not on the sides like before.

The accelerometer is as good as on the iPhone or iTouch. Landscape pulls up right away. The album art is gorgeous on the curved screen. Genius is good, and is easily pulled up by holding the middle clickwheel button. Scrolling through music is fast, and pretty much retains all the iPod clickwheel functionality you're used to from previous generations. It does have slight improvements as we noted in the liveblog—holding the middle clickwheel button gets you shortcuts to many functions—but all in all, it's what you'd expect from an iPod nano.

Comparisons vs. previous gen:
The screens are almost exactly the same size if you turn the fat nano sideways. The new nano is as thick at the thickest point as the fat nano, but tapers off to either side to give an overall "more thin" feel. The back is aluminium so MUCH less scratchy (think 2nd gen nanos).

An interview with Apple brought up these facts to the table:
-It's the thinnest iPod ever, and the smallest nano by volume
-Black, a new matte colour that is slightly slate-ish, and Silver, get black clickwheels.
-The Pink is BACK and the Red is project RED.
-First iPod nano that uses USB charging only, so older firewire chargers from docks a few years old will not charge the new nano.
-Shake to shuffle will not activate unless screen is active and hold is off.
-Clickwheel orientation does not shift when you use the accelerometer to switch to landscape mode. Joz says that the menu button is always in the same position, and that's not a problem because in landscape, you're usually scrolling.

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