Apple iPod Nano 6th-generation Reviewed

Photographs by Alex Chi

Cost $150.00

Purchased at Fry’s Electronics

Memory size 8GB

Platform Windows PC (iTunes download was required for use.)

Having never used an iPod before, I was surprised to learn after buying the nano that it did not come with an off switch.

I found out later this feature was not unique to the 6th-generation nano, but at the time I thought there was some combination of screens, buttons or shuffles that was going to make mine shut off.

The nano did not yield an inch to my bootleg attempts at code decryption, so I went to my place of last resort: the online user’s manual.  According to the website, once you hit the “sleep/wake” button (one of just three buttons the nano comes with-the other two are for volume) the iPod’s screen turns black and it goes into standby mode for up to 36 hours. You hit the same button to light the screen back up and continue using it.

After leaving it in standby mode overnight without any significant battery drain, I was sold on the “sleep/wake” system.

Features (other than playing mp3’s-which it does without a problem.)

FM Radio

The sound quality of the FM radio was crystal clear, with not even a hint of static on stations near the lower end of the frequency spectrum. 

I did briefly run into a problem when I tried to set my favorite radio stations. The radio screen has two navigation bars; a top one composed of a left and right arrow and a bottom one that looks like an FM tuner. I didn’t realize the tuner on the bottom was anything more than window dressing and became dismayed when I couldn’t advance to a new station with the arrows after setting my first favorite. It turned out you could only advance stations with the arrow navigation when you had more than one favorite station set and the bottom tuner was the main navigation bar for scrolling through the radio-more lessons learned by reading the user’s manual.

Touch Screen Sensitivity

The horizontal touch screen menus were easy to navigate through by quickly flicking through them with my finger, but vertical menus- like the one for my songlist- were prone to insensitivity.

To back out of menus you have to flick the screen to the right. Rather than reversing screens when I tried to right-flick out of the song menu, the nano would scroll vertically through the list. I had to press harder on the screen in this menu to finally get out of it.


You can upload photos to your iPod by connecting it to iTunes and then using iTunes to specify a folder from which to take the photos.

I could upload pictures by the folder but not by the file-so it was easiest to create a folder on my computer containing only pictures I wanted to upload.

I would have liked to have been able to use the pictures I uploaded to customize the background of my iPod, however the pre-loaded wallpapers were the only images that could be set as backgrounds.


There is a pedometer function that allows you to measure how many steps you’ve taken, how far you traveled and how long it took-with the option to enter your weight so it can calculate how many calories you have burned. I used my iPod while running, so the number of steps taken function was useless but the distance traveled and workout duration was pretty handy. The pedometer keeps a record of each distance you chose to record so you can set personal bests-and then break them.

Bottom line


While touch screen navigation, sharp colorful graphics and large storage capacity are nothing new- having full functionality of those features in such a small device make the nano worth purchasing.

Points removed for the stubbornness of the touch screen to not move well in certain menus and for not being able to customize the background wallpaper.