The new Nanos return to the vertical design from a couple years ago and have several updated features. The coolest of these is an accelerometer similar to the what the iPhone or Wii controller has, allowing the Nano to detect whether it's being held vertically or horizontally. Just like the iPhone, when you turn it on its side, the Nano switches to coverflow, allowing for super easy scrolling through various albums. Other new features include the ability to play games and create Genius playlists.
As far as size and shape, I think this new Nano definitely gets it right. It is almost impossibly thin and the new tapered sides make it very easy to hold. The aluminum body and glass screen also make it feel strong and solid, which is important for something so thin.
The accelerometer is incredibly cool. When I heard about it, I expected it to be more of a novelty than a useful feature, but it's awesome. Shelsy and I both turn it horizontally immediately when looking for a new album to play. The shake-to-shuffle feature is also pretty nice. It allows for immediate shuffling without bringing up a menu. Another unexpected benefit of the accelerometer is in gaming. The Nano ships with three games, one of which is a marble maze type game. You actually play by holding the Nano flat and tilting it around to move the marble. Pretty slick, says I.
Up until now, I've been a bit anti iTunes/iPods in general, but I have to say, I'm begining to convert. I still don't like iTunes' DRMed songs or the fact that you're forced to use iTunes, but it's not as bad as I expected it to be. We'll see how I feel after using it for a while. :-)
Overall, the new Nano is a surprisingly small, very cool little device. Shelsy loves it and I can honestly recommend it to anyone wanting a tiny, cool, brightly colored MP3 player. :-)
Read more reviews of the new Nano: Engadget, Gizmodo, CNet, Pocket Lint, PCMag.
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