"LOTS of added features, but still lacking in SQ"3.0 starson by make_or_break
Pros: Great UI, tons of features. Cover Flow is excellent to use. Video is easy and straightforward to use. Amazingly lightweight, especially compared to the competition.
Cons: Converse to its lightness, the nano has a rather unsubstantial feel to it. Color (purple) doesn't come close to matching the image on Apple's website, or the TV ads. VERY mediocre sound quality out-of-the-box; is Apple EVER going to improve on this?
Summary: We ordered a 16GB 5G unit direct from Apple for one in our household to replace her filled 3G 'stubby' nano; the local Apple Store still hadn't received their initial batch at the time. The intended one chose purple as her color of chose based on the images on Apple's website; was disappointed when the unit arrived. Color was far darker than advertised, though to my eyes was still rich and lush with the new gloss coating (but then I'm easier to please).
Despite the similarly sized click wheel to the 3G nano, the 5G's is easier to operate, I think because of the 5G's long body. Response is fluid and seemless, with no hesitation or jerkiness that the 3G sometimes would exhibit. Menu orientation is standard Apple (e.g., easy-to-use and logical in its presentation). This thing does tons of things, and most exceeding well. That said, the accelerometer seems 'sticky' at times. The hold switch on the top of the unit is rather dainty; with the DLO 5G clear shell on it pays to have small fingers to get access to it.
Video looks good to great on the player, but the display washes out severely in bright ambient light; not a convincing OLED competitor here. The 5G is incredibly lightweight; I compare it against my old 2G nano and I'm really surprised at the difference. That said, I feel that there's also a loss in the 'feel' of the player as a result; there's not feeling of solidity with the 5G, a "substantialness" and confidence in the build-quality that a certain amount of weight brings, despite the aluminum housing that the 5G comes in.
Pack-ins are standard fare these days; less-than-enthusiastic toss-in ear buds, a dock insert, proprietary 30-pin iPod USB cable, all in a clear plastic case that is the same size if not identical as the one my 2G nano came in (when compared side-to-side).
The video camera and mic are neat, though CNET is right: the video quality isn't going to set the world ablaze. That said, it IS a neat feature that I know is going to make someone in our household quite pleased, even if the one on her camera does video recording better. The FM tuner is really nice; FINALLY Apple has addressed this particular oversight and built-in an FM tuner rather than trying quite unconvincingly to burden users with the extra-hassle, extra-cost extension cable tuner. I've had one of those and I rarely ever bothered to pull it out to use on my old iPods, instead reaching for my Zune or X-Fi instead when I wanted radio. The 5G nano's FM section is easily a match to the one on my Zune 8 and 80 units; simply put, it's simple, straightforward and a pleasure to use.
Many of the extra features seem quite nice; I'm sure the Nike+iPod will get a thorough working out (no pun intended), as will the pedometer and perhaps the stopwatch. Games, at least to me, are less-than-convincing...mostly because the click wheel wasn't the best gaming all-around interface from my past experiences on my old 80GB 5.5G iPod. While the calendar and contacts function is nice, I doubt that they'll ever be used since it doubles up on functions already being used on the cellphone. The built-in speaker is rather pathetic-sounding, but I suppose some might find it appealing in a pinch.
But I saved the worst for last: the biggest gripe I have with this latest generation nano is one that I have with almost all iPods in general: middling at best audio sound quality. This iPod doesn't go any way AT ALL at improving the breed, even if the 'random play' shake is oh-so-cute, cross-fading is nice, and the player does have some usable functions, like its ability to show how much storage is available. Compared to the new 16GB Sony Walkman S545 that my wife recently bought, Apple frankly should be put off by the obvious discrepancy in audio quality, particularly keen for a player that my wife a little over $100 for during the Sony Style store's recent Labor Day promotion. Sure the Sony S has its own issues, but for over $75 less most of those can be dealt with and certainly great-sounding audio is not one of those she'll be concerning herself with. As for iTunes 9...well it works on my old XP media machine. So far nothing has broken (fingers crossed), like the early versions of 7 and 8 did. My 2G Touch seems to work fine with it, as does a couple of earlier iPods I've tried (such as the previously mentioned 3G nano, for instance).
I'm sure that there are plenty of other niceties that I've overlooked (like voice recording, for instance); this nano does pack plenty of functions in for the money. But for me, it's ALWAYS been about the music itself; the lackluster audio quality that Apple too often seems so oblivious to is THE one aspect that will for ever make me question my own 'next purchase' for any future PMP/DAP device. As much as I like the functionality of my Touch, I rarely use it for music so it seldom goes anywhere with me. Other brands may have other issues, but where it counts I invariably will go elsewhere.
3 stars, due of the SQ flaws.