Apple’s new iPod nano is impossibly small. Much like the original, small-at-the-time iPod stood out in a crowd of brick-sized hard disk players, the nano is smaller by an order of magnitude than its full-sized cousin. So much so that it truly needs to be seen to be fully appreciated.
Buckytubes. Molecular Manufacturing. Self-replicating robots. I can see where this nano trend is going, and, grey goo or not, I’ve got to be honest: I like it. I encourage it, even.
I want my electronics to be ever-smaller, ever-less obtrusive. I’m not going to be happy until I have an iPod molar™ implanted directly in my jaw. Heck, I’ll take a whole mouthfull. Forget whitening gels, nothing would gleam like a full frontal row of shining white plastic chompers with a terabyte or so of embedded flash memory hidden away beneath the gum-line.
Okay, sure, so the iPod nano doesn’t actually have anything to do with nanotechnology. Nor is it the smallest player on the market, by a long-shot. It isn’t even the smallest player from Apple, that would be the iPod shuffle. Nor is it even the only nano on the market (Hi, Creative!). From the tiny 0.73 cubic-inch YP-F1Z from Samsung, to the relatively gargantuan (by Lilliputian standards, at least) 3.65 cubic-inch Walkman Bean from Sony, we are awash in super-small flash players capable of holding a few hours worth of our favorite music.
So what does the iPod nano bring to the table? Well, a brilliant color display for starters. There are only a handful of micro-sized flash players, such as Creative’s new MuVo Vidz or Samsung’s YP T8, with full color displays (and those two offer video to boot). That’s followed by 4 GB of storage, the revolutionary oft-copied interface, seamless iTunes integration, and, of course, an unbelievably small form factor. Oh, and now it comes in Bono black.
Yet for all that, there are plenty of similar players out there, both in terms of size and feature sets. Here’s how the iPod nano stacks up against some other popular models.
nano a nano
|Make||Model||Capacity*||Display||Photo display||Size||Cubic Inches||Price|
|Apple||iPod nano||4 GB||Color||Y||3.5 x 1.6 x 0.27||1.51||$249|
|Apple||iPod shuffle||1 GB||None||N||3.3″ x .98″ x .33″||1.07||$129|
|BenQ||Joybee 102R||256 MB||None||N||1.6″ x 1.6″ x 0.3″||0.77||$129|
|Creative||Zen Nano Plus||1 GB||Monochrome||N||1.32″ x 2.58″ x 0.51″||1.74||$149|
|Creative||MuVo Vidz||1 GB||Color||Y||1.26″ x 2.6″ x 0.6″||1.97||Not yet available|
|iRiver||N10||512 MB||Monochrome||N||1.07″ x 1.96″ x .52″||1.09||$249|
|MobiBLU||DAH-1500i||1 GB||Monochrome||N||0.94″ x 0.94″ x 0.94″||0.83||$130|
|Samsung||YP-F1Z||1 GB||Monochrome||N||1.1″ x 1.1″ x 0.6″||0.73||$179|
|Samsung||YP-T8||1GB**||Color||Y||1.47″ x 2.46″ x .58″||2.1||$249|
|Sony||Network Walkman Digital Music Player NW-e505||2 GB||Monochrome||N||3.3″ x 1.13 x 0.55″||2.06||$290|
|Sony||Walkman Bean||1 GB||Monochrome||N||2.7″ x .9″ x 1.5″||3.65||$179|
*When more than one configuration is available, Playlist lists the highest limit for models available in North America. **2 GB model available soon
Mathew Honan is a San Francisco-based writer and photographer. His work has also appeared in Macworld, Wired, Time, and Salon.
For more on the iPod, please visit the iPod Product Guide.