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Apple iPod Nano Fourth Generation

>> Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Nano 4G feels impossibly light and thin, with a seamless metal construction that prevents it from snapping like a twig. A slightly curved design gives the Nano 4G the essence of an airplane wing, repeating the rounded design themes of Apple's iPhone 3G and second generation iPod Touch. Compared with the short, squarish design of last year's Nano, the long, tapered body of the fourth generation Nano is more comfortable to grasp.

Curved glass now covers the iPod Nano's screen, giving it better resilience against scratches in theory. The curve of the glass screen lies flush with the slight curve of the Nano's body, and although the glass is inherently glossy and reflective, we didn't notice a diminished viewing quality compared with last year's Nano.

The shape may have softened, but the dimensions of the fourth generation Nano are nearly identical to the second generation version, measuring 3.5 inches tall by 1.6 inches wide by 0.25 inch thick at its center the thinnest iPod yet. The Nano's 2 inch screen size remains unchanged from the previous model, as well as its 1 inch wide scroll wheel control.

Headphone and dock connections are located on the bottom of the 4G Nano, and a sliding hold switch makes a reappearance on top of the player (another throwback to the second generation design). Because Apple has flipped the Nano's screen on its side, menus and user interface get a dramatic overhaul from last year's model. Menu text size has increased slightly and album cover art takes up less real estate on the main menu.

In a bid to increase the accessibility of the Nano for people with impaired vision, Apple has included a font size setting on the fourth generation Nano that makes its menus more legible a nice feature even if you have 20/20 vision. The Nano's music playback screen now presents full screen album art by default, and Cover Flow view is zippier than before, offering alphabetization letters below the covers when you quickly flip through your collection.

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