Apple iPod Nano Review (Sixth Generation)

Apple strips features from the iPod Nano in favor of a smaller size for its sixth generation, but a slick touch interface helps negate the lost frills.
Apple strips features from the iPod Nano in favor of a smaller size for its sixth generation, but a slick touch interface helps negate the lost frills.
Apple strips features from the iPod Nano in favor of a smaller size for its sixth generation, but a slick touch interface helps negate the lost frills.


  • Almost impossibly tiny
  • Ultra-intuitive touch interface
  • FM radio, photo browsing and pedometer
  • Sleek, solid design
  • Long battery life


  • Missing camera, video playback, notes, games, etc.
  • Touch controls limit ‘blind’ operation
  • Expensive

apple ipod nano review sixth generationIntroduction

Grey is the new black, and Apple’s refreshed iPod Nano is… the new iPod Shuffle. OK, maybe that’s oversimplifying a bit, but there’s no denying the overwhelming resemblance of the new Nano to its much cheaper sibling, the Shuffle. A dramatic revamp of the iPod Nano leaves it without video playback, a larger screen and becomes pretty much an iPod Shuffle with a touch screen, and more storage. Has Apple watered down its own Kool-Aid too much this time around?

apple ipod nano review sixth generationFeatures

While last year’s update to the Nano saw Apple challenging the likes of Flip video recorders by recasting the Nano as an impromptu camcorder, Apple has pulled a complete u-turn for 2010. In the interest of shrinking the Nano to proportions fitting of its name (roughly an inch and half square and a third of an inch thick), the Nano shed both its video playback, notes, games, calendars and contacts, picking up a 1.54-inch LCD touch screen along the way. Other vitals remained the same: the Nano comes in either 8GB or 16GB capacities, and it still includes an FM radio, photo browsing, and a pedometer.

Size and Portability

The Nano has now reached the same clip-me-on-a-shirt size as the Shuffle, which, in case you’re keeping notes, has a few fractions of an inch on the Shuffle in terms of footprint, and 8.6 grams on the scale (21.1 on the Nano vs. 12.5 for the Shuffle). But Kate Moss and Paris Hilton might as well be scrapping it out: They’re both small to the point of absurdity and the difference is moot.


Quite unlike their emaciated celebrity doppelgangers, neither iPod really suffers in the looks department at the expense of its ethereal dimensions. In fact, the Nano is gorgeous. Apple has spared no expense on the solid aluminum body, precisely milled buttons, or sturdy clip, which never made us think twice before snapping the $150 player on a jacket and going for a run. A power button and two volume buttons sit up top, while a standard Apple dock connector and 3.5mm headphone jack all but fill the bottom. The truth is, if Apple built this thing any smaller… well, you would have the gimped Shuffle of last year, which sacrificed so much functionality for style that Apple had to puff it back out to fill size for this year.

apple ipod nano review sixth generationControls

Anyone who has ever used an iPod Touch or iPhone – which should be pretty much be everyone at this point – will immediately feel familiar with the touch interface on the iPod Nano. It’s as if Apple chipped a corner off an iPod Touch and built a player around it, complete with app-style icons for every function, grids of four to a page, and the ability to rearrange them as you see fit. Without the “home button” found on the iPod Touch and iPhone, users simply swipe left from any screen to go back, or press and hold. You can even twist two fingers on the screen to rotate the view 90 degrees.

Apple has distilled the touch screen experience down to a sugary sweet, intuitive perfection, but like all of today’s button-less wonders, you can’t operate it from a pocket or without looking. That will diminish a lot of the Nano’s utility for runners, bikers and other active users, who will suddenly find that reaching down to click a button when a dud of a song comes on suddenly involves looking down, turning the screen on and carefully tapping next, or worse, unclipping the player to even see it. The tradeoff, perhaps, comes from the fact that it has a clip at all, eliminating all the goofy elastic contraptions that you formerly needed to take a Nano out on a workout.

Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Smart Home

Google Home Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot: Which is better?

We put the two most popular smart home speakers -- the Google Home Mini and the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot -- together and tested them on appearance, audio, and abilities. So which should you buy? Find out how they did in our showdown.
Product Review

Nikon’s D7200 is a strong successor to its famous father, but no heir apparent

Nikon’s D7200 is an upgrade to one of our favorite DSLRs -- and even though it's now been replaced, it's still a viable option at a lower price. It shoots excellent stills and performs well. But lack of features hold it back.

iOS 12.0.1 fixes iPhone XS charging issue, Wi-Fi bugs, and more

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.
Emerging Tech

New ‘parkour’ video shows Boston Dynamics robot training to overthrow humanity

Robots doing backflips? That's so 2017! In its latest jaw-dropping YouTube video, Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot pulls off some frankly astonishing parkour stunts for our viewing pleasure.
Emerging Tech

With VR dinosaurs and ‘Minecraft,’ one hospital is making medicine less scary

From augmented reality rabbits on the wards to a Minecraft recreation of the hospital for kids to explore, one of the world's most renowned children's hospitals just got a major tech overhaul.
Emerging Tech

Will we ever fly supersonic again? Unraveling the concorde’s complex legacy

In a new book, Last Days of the Concorde, journalist and author Samme Chittum delves into the mindset that inspired engineers to design this marvel, the series of events that led to its fatal crash, and the possibility that commercial SSTs…
Emerging Tech

Check out the British Army’s beefy new bomb-disposal robot

The British Army is about to get an impressive new explosive ordnance disposal robot that is able to climb stairs, negotiate slopes, cut wires, and … oh, yes, dispose of bombs, too.
Emerging Tech

Kill it before it lays eggs! Crazy 32-leg robot moves like a cyborg sea urchin

We’ve seen one-legged, two-legged, four-legged and even six-legged robots, but researchers from Japan have gone way, way further with their latest project: A 32-legged robot. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

Leafy greens are grown by machines at new, automated Silicon Valley farm

Farming hasn't changed too much for hundreds of years. Now a new startup called Iron Ox has opened its first automated hydroponics farm, producing a variety of leafy greens tended by machines.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

As deaf gamers speak up, game studios are finally listening to those who can’t

Using social media, personal blogs and Twitch, a small group of deaf and hard-of-hearing players have been working to make their voices heard and improve accessibility in the gaming industry.
Emerging Tech

From flying for fun to pro filmmaking, these are the best drones you can buy

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

Get your head in the clouds with the best vaporizers for flower and concentrates

Why combust dead plant matter when you could vaporize the good stuff and leave the leaves behind? Here's a rundown of the best vaporizers money can buy, no matter what your style is.