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Apple iPod nano (second generation) Lanyard Headphones

At a Glance
  • Apple iPod nano (second generation) Lanyard Headphones

    Macworld Rating

We reviewed Apple's Lanyard Headphones for the original iPod nano last year; with the introduction of the second-generation (2G) iPod nano, Apple has released a new version of the Lanyard Headphones to match. (Because the distance between the headphone jack and dock-connector port on the bottom of the nano differs between the two nano versions, each requires its own version of the Lanyard Headphones.)

Basically a lanyard for the nano with Apple's new-and-improved earbuds built-in, the Lanyard Headphones are appealing because they let you carry the lightweight 2G nano around your neck, where the iPod is easily accessible and relatively safe, without having to deal with a mess of cables. Just below each ear, a short (8-inch) cable protrudes from the mesh lanyard itself and ends in one of Apple's new earbuds. You just plug the Lanyard Headphones into the bottom of your nano; a plastic-and-metal replica of a dock connector plug connects securely to your iPod's dock-connector port and a headphone plug connects to the iPod's bottom-mounted headphone jack.

As with the original nano Lanyard Headphones, the lanyard is adjustable in length: The left and right lanyard cords actually wrap around the back of your neck to the other side, where the right and left earbud cables, respectively, emerge at clips (one on each side) that determine how long or short the lanyard should be. The design is difficult to explain, but the photo above illustrates it nicely.

As I said when I reviewed the original Lanyard Headphones, I like the design of this accessory: it works as advertised, giving you the convenience of a lanyard carrier without all the cable clutter of a traditional lanyard/headphone setup. However, the same two caveats present with the original prevent me from giving this version a higher rating, as well. The first is that since the headphones are incorporated into the lanyard, you're stuck with those headphones. If you happen to be satisfied with the iPod nano's stock earbuds, then you'll be happy with the performance of the Lanyard Headphones, which use the same earbuds; if, like us, you prefer to listen through better headphones, the convenience of the Lanyard Headphone will be tempered by the fact that you're stuck with Apple's 'buds. The second issue is cost: At $39, the Lanyard Headphones aren't cheap. Sure, you're getting both a quality lanyard and an extra set of earbuds, but given that you've already got a pair of the same earbuds, it feels like you're re-buying them. Both of these criticisms are admittedly a bit unfair, considering that, by design, Apple had to incorporate earbuds into the Lanyard Headphones. However, if the earbuds included in the Lanyard were of higher quality than the iPod's stock earbuds, the Lanyard Headphones would represent a real upgrade for the money.
--Dan Frakes

At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Combination lanyard/earbuds for the second-generation iPod nano.

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