Feb 05

Review – 6th Generation Apple Ipod Nano and 1st Generation Ipod Nano Recall

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I got my Apple Ipod Nano (6th Generation) for free as a replacement under the 1st Generation Nano recall.  I was excited to see what I would get as a replacement. I was initially thrilled when I saw a 6th generation Nano.  “A 6th generation Apple Ipod Nano must be at least six times as good as the first generation model”, I thought.

My views have changed.

At first, I was just plain excited.  It is not often that you can send in a six-year old product and get a brand new model as a replacement.  I had no idea what was going to happen; would I get my 1st generation refurbished and sent back to me like new?, would Apple run a limited production of the first generation Nano and send me a brand new one?, would I get some form of later model?   Apple was very quiet on the subject and kept everyone guessing.  My guess is that they wanted to get a sense of the participation rate in the recall before committing to anything.   I found this secrecy to be rather unprofessional (and unnecessary).  I would like to know what I am getting before I commit to sending in something for a replacement (they do sell battery replacement packs for the 1st generation Nano).  Transparency is key to top level customer service in my view.

Why I want an Ipod Nano in the first place

In order to evaluate whether or not the 6th generation is preferable to the first generation, you first have to decide what you want the Ipod Nano to do.  I want it to play my music very nicely – plain and simple.  I don’t really care much for a camera, a pedometer, a calculator, etc.    I want my MP3 player to play music, and to play it well!

The First Generation Ipod Nano

This dinosaur is a thing of beauty.  I love it. Here’s why:

The First Generation Ipod Nano

The Click Wheel

I love the click wheel.  It is easy to navigate whether you are solo or in a car.   The click wheel seems to be intuitively designed for those of use who love to handle things (almost) hands free.  It is simple to reverse and to forward.  It is easy to get to the top menu.  It is easy to scroll through all of the menus.

The Screen Size

The screen size is good enough to read a the name of a track while I am driving or on the bus (or the subway).  Not quite as good as later models with a larger screen, but who cares, I bought this baby with music in mind.


The Ipod Nano Ist Generation is built like a tank.  I have dropped in many times and it keeps on ticking.  The style is great and does not look out of place anywhere (except at a latest-model Apple aficionados party).

Here are a few things I like about the Apple Ipod Nano (6th Generation)

Cross Fade

I love the cross-fade (normally).  Sometimes the cross-fade sounds great, sometimes it doesn’t.  At least Apple has made an effort here.  A pretty simple and cool feature.

Apple Ipod Nano 6th Generation


What I had with my 1st generation Ipod Nano was 2 GB.  I used to think this was great.  Now I see that 8 GB is way better, I believe that storage capacity alone moved the Ipod Nano (6th Generation) up just a wee notch.

Here are a few things I don’t really like:


The Apple 1st Generation Ipod Nano is easy to use and navigate with its clickwheel.  I used to be able to use this baby in my car or while walking with no problems whatsoever.  The Ipod Nano 6th Generation requires that you can see it right in front of you because of its touchscreen.  This is a definite negative in my books.   amusic player should be both visible and easy to navigate under any circumstances.


Who cares?  I want to be able to listen to my music easily and clearly.  The 6th Generation model actually makes it impossible for me to listen to what I want to in my car.  I can only change stuff at a red light 9 (and even then, with great difficulty as the touch screen is so small).  The 1st generation Ipod allowed me to scroll through songs with ease (with its’ click wheel).


The First Generation Ipod Nano was designed to do what it was intended to do (play music) very well.  The Ipod Nano 6th Generation confuses me – is it an Ipod Shuffle  or an Ipod Shuffle on steroids?  An Ipod Shuffel on steroids seems most appropriate.  Why not call this an Ipod Shuffle Extreme?  You have taken many of the features that make this a great music player and have shrink it down to something that is barely useable.  It is too darn small.  The miniscule screen is not cool or ‘ cutting edge’, it is annoying and unusable. Please think about why people buy any Ipod to begin with – to be able to listen to music easily – and design it from there.  The Ipod Nano 6th Generation feel like a shuffle with nothing about what made Nanos popular (as music machines) to offer.


The Apple Ipod Nano 6th Generation is not very good.  I would have preferred receiving a refurbished or a new 1st generation Ipod Nano in return under the Apple 1st generation recall program.  Apple’s 6th generation Ipod model simply makes it more difficult for me to listen to my music all for the sake of a miniscule screen (think Zoolander and the Chiclet cellphone).  Small is NOT cool or desirable when it comes at the price of functionality.  Increase the darn screen size and bring back the click wheel. You owe this to your loyal customers.

Overall, the Ipod Nano 6th Generation gets two out of five stars.


Frugal dad – focusing my money and energy towards happiness and the things that matter most since around 1985.

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