I am in love with this little device. Like so many moms, my goal this year is to get in shape, and the Apple iPod Nano is the perfect companion to help me do it. I find it nearly impossible to have a good run or workout without music, and the iPod Nano not only fulfills all of my music player needs, but takes its job as my exercise companion one step further and actually helps me moderate and track my workouts.
I was thrilled when Apple sent me a 16 GB iPod Nano to review, accompanied by an iTunes Gift Card. My workouts were in dire need of the motivation that music provides, and I was very curious to check out the Fitness Walk + Run support built-in as well as the other nifty features within this gadget. I couldn’t have been more excited when I opened the box.
Inside the clear gift box (very stylish packaging I might add), I found the Nano, earphones, a USB cable, a tiny instruction booklet and a cute Apple sticker. I have to say that Apple has packaged the iPod Nano beautifully as a gift item–I know that I would be thrilled to give or receive one of these. If any of you are looking for a Valentine’s Day gift idea, I think one of these, pre-loaded with your love’s favorite music and pictures of the two of you, would be an absolutely amazing gift!
Great things do come in small packages. One of the best things about the iPod Nano is how small and portable it is. The player measures about an inch and a half in height and width, and about a third of an inch deep. It weighs just three quarters of an ounce. A slim clip is attached to the back of the Nano, which essentially allows you to “wear” it anywhere that you want it–on a pocket, belt, shirt hem, sleeve, jacket, backpack, handbag, baby carrier, etc. For workout purposes especially, having a tiny, lightweight device that clips on anywhere is absolutely ideal.
As a woman, I have to note that I also appreciate how “pretty” the Apple iPod Nanos are. They are offered in a number of attractive colors, and I selected pink (one of my favorite colors). I was happy to find that it’s a very lovely metallic medium-light pink color. I also like that the player is very slim, sleek and discreet, and not at all gaudy like many players I have seen. I can wear it and feel that it is blending in with my wardrobe, which is what I want.
The iPod Nano is very easy to use, for which I am thankful because I am not the most tech-savvy woman out there. I’m happy to report that the device works instantly when you turn it on–no need to charge it, pre-program it, or anything else to get it to just WORK. With the included mini instruction booklet (which has pictures of each step–much appreciated!), I had all the different features figured out within minutes. The touch-screen is quite sensitive and responsive, yet resists scratches remarkably well. I like that you can scroll from page to page with a simple swipe of the finger, and start a song or select a program by tapping the screen. You can also “twist” the screen using two fingers and a swivel motion, which is very handy if you have the iPod Nano clipped on so that it’s facing upside down. A simple motion with your fingers on the screen and it’s facing you again, with no need to unclip the Nano or twist the device itself around to read the screen.
Downloading and setting up iTunes on my laptop was a breeze, and before I knew it I was searching through a universe of music, picking out some of my favorites to listen to during my workouts. The next step was synchronizing the iPod Nano with iTunes on my laptop in order to copy the music to the device. I thought that part would surely be complicated (after all, it sounds a little complicated), but it was simply a matter of plugging the Nano into my laptop, clicking through a couple of buttons on the windows that popped up, and then it was done! The music was on my iPod Nano and I was ready to take it for a spin around the block.
The Apple iPod Nano sports a lot of really neat features for such a tiny gadget. One feature in particular that I have been enjoying is the Fitness Walk + Run support built-in which tracks walk and run workouts. To track my walk, it asked for my height and weight for the initial set-up and then proceeded to track my steps pedometer-style. I tested it out while counting my steps and found it surprisingly accurate. I loved that it also displayed my calories burned, as well as the duration and distance of my walk. Additionally, you can view how many steps you have taken that day, week, month, and the grand total. Also, you can set up your Daily Step Goal and it will show that number on your screen so you can compare and figure out how many steps you still need to take. I do wish the Daily Step Goal number would count down as you take steps, and this would be one feature I hope that Apple can tweak in future models.
Once I had tested out the “Walk” feature, I selected the “Run” option, which takes you to a screen that offers several different ways to moderate and track your run. The first is the Basic Workout, which counts the time and distance of your workout, tracks your calories, and detects your current pace. When you end the workout, it shows a detailed overview of the duration, start time, end time, pace, distance and calories burned during the run. How cool is that? The other 3 running options you can select are run workouts pre-set by Time, Distance, or Calories. If you want to run 2 miles for example, you would choose Distance and then select “2 miles,” choose your music (whether by Playlist, Radio, etc), and you’d be on your way while the Nano plays your selected music until you’ve gone the appropriate distance. At the end of your run, the music will stop and the iPod Nano tells you in an automated voice that your workout is completed, then gives you a complete summary of your workout.
Of course the main function of the iPod Nano is its portable music player capabilities, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the 16 GB Nano can hold approximately 4,000 songs! The included earphones deliver exceptionally crisp sound, and are quite comfortable. I would love them if it weren’t for the fact that they tend to slip out of my ears easily while in motion (running, walking, lifting weights). If I am sitting they stay secure, but since I want to use the Nano mainly for workout purposes, I was disappointed that they kept falling out again and again. It’s not a huge deal however since we have other earphones that stay put, and I have been eying the Soul by Ludacris SL49 Ultra Dynamic In Ear Headphones that Apple offers because I think they would work exceptionally well for this purpose.
Speaking of its audio capabilities, another feature I love about the iPod Nano is that it can receive and play FM radio! In the Radio program, with a simple swipe to the left or the right on the screen, you can easily and quickly dial to your favorite radio station. I found the reception incredibly clear and am very impressed that such a little device can pick up our local radio stations so well. I love this for when I’m working out, or even for when I’m on the computer or cooking dinner. Oh and the Nano can also play audiobooks and podcasts which is pretty cool.
A couple other neat features that the Apple iPod Nano offers are:
A clock with 18 custom clock faces to choose from. You can actually purchase a special watch-band from Apple that attaches to the iPod Nano, so you can use it as a real wrist watch. Clever!
All in all, I think the Apple iPod Nano is a really helpful workout companion, a fantastic music player, and I’m really happy to own one. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to get–or stay–in shape. Now that I’ve tried the iPod Nano, I wouldn’t want to work out without it. I love that it keeps track of everything for me so I can enjoy the music and focus on putting my next step forward to reach my goal.
Visit Apple to check out all of their other great products too!