capsule review

iPod nano, third-generation (3G) 4GB

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At a Glance
  • Apple iPod nano, third-generation (3G) 4GB

The forthcoming release of the iPod touch complicates the larger "Which iPod should I buy?" question. But when it comes to traditional iPods, the decision has never been easier.

For those without huge iTunes libraries--or people who don't mind managing which part of their library to take with them--the nano is a clear winner. It's been improved in almost every way, to the point where it's essentially a miniaturized version of the iPod classic available for as little as $149, with all the same features and capabilities including video playback and output. (It also has the same limitations, such as an easily-scratched backside.) The only major compromises for choosing the nano are a smaller screen, a smaller Click Wheel, and less storage capacity, but in return you get smaller physical size, flash memory, and a lower price tag. Apple may call the iPod touch the "best iPod yet," but for many people, that award just may go to this Saltine-cracker-sized player.

--Dan Frakes

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At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Very good sound quality, excellent battery life
    • All the features of the iPod classic—including video playback, video output, and games—in a smaller, less-expensive, and flash-memory-based player
    • Bright, clear screen
    • Improved user interface
    • Includes three new games


    • Incompatible with some existing dock-connector accessories
    • Can’t use previously-purchased games
    • Shiny back surface not as rugged as anodized metal of previous version
    • New visuals-heavy interface slowed by album art
    • Cover Flow performance limited
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