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By Hanleigh Daniels 26 October 2009

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The fifth generation of Apple’s iPod nano sees the addition of a video camera, mic, speaker and larger screen to allow you to capture video and upload it to YouTube or Facebook via a Mac or PC. This represents a big leap forward for the nano range, but is it worth the purchase? 

Video Camera

The new video feature provides you with an ultra portable video camera that’s very easy to operate. It’s quite useful when you just need to capture an event for posterity’s sake and don’t require a device to shoot professional quality video. 

Operating the camera is quite simple and it allows you to choose from a host of shooting modes, including Security Camera, Infrared, Black & White, Film Grain, and Kaleido. This makes for a number of amusing and creative video shoots, but the effects you place on the movies can’t be removed later if you want to view normal footage of what you’ve shot. 

The accelerometer means the screen switches effortlessly and automatically between portrait and landscape depending on how you’re holding your nano, with the same applying when listening to music.

The quality of the video is surprisingly good and the resolution during playback is great for such a little screen. There isn’t a flash for taking videos in lowlight conditions though. You can’t take stills either which is a bit of a let down, as we’re quite sure users are more likely to capture and share images on a regular basis than video. 

Other features

Just like the previous model you can give your nano a shake to shuffle through your music collection. Engaging this feature means your nano changes to any random song, so you can’t limit the shuffling to a particular album, artist or music genre. 

The inclusion of an FM tuner was long overdue on the iPod nano. The FM tuner is however full of great features as you can tag songs that are played on the radio so you can find them on iTunes Store later– as we still don’t have access to the store in SA the feature is rendered rather pointless however. The fact that you can pause live radio is fantastic feature we can use here in SA though. 

We enjoyed the pedometer that tells you how many steps you’ve taken while on your power walk, how long you walked for and the estimated amount of calories that you burned. It stores these on your calendar for review and comparison. 

The nano’s onboard speaker doesn’t play very loudly, but the quality of the sound is okay. It’s more useful to use for podcasts and video than for listening to music because of the average sound quality and low volume. 

Overall the fifth generation iPod nano really impressed us by improving on what already was a good product to start with. The quality that you get shooting videos, the fact that there’s a speaker built into such a petite device and the bigger screen over that of its predecessor all combine to ensure that this sexy little music player stays on top of the heap.

The nano is available in 8 GB and 16 GB versions for R1999 and R2499 respectively.

PROS
Resolution of the screen when watching videos is good. Battery life is very good.
CONS
Can skip songs by itself if the shake shuffle feature is activated while you are walking with it in your pocket.
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