As you may have now seen, the new Nano 3 G was released a few weeks ago. The reviews on the internet concerning the iPod are sometime biased by enthousiastic geeks or early adopters. The following review is 100% objective

Usability

A picture to show how handy the new iPod is
The new Click Wheel is small and to my opinion too sensitive
The new Nano is very small I would say tiny!
The new Cover Flow interface

The new iPod is about 7 cm high and 5.2 cm wide. It’s weight: only 49.2 grams! Although the screen is pretty small it’s a pleasure to watch TV shows or video clips on it. There is no visual difficulty concerning the usage of menus.

But for someone who has big thumbs the usage of the click wheel might be adventurous: you will never know if you are going to select the next/previous track or going to change the volume. I would say the click wheel is very sensitive.

Interface

The main menu on the left side when selecting the video menu
The Klondike game is included with 2 other games (iPod Quiz and Vortex)
Example of the main menu for the calendar option on the left side
Podcast option

The newest feature is the fact that the interface is now “cut” into two parts: on one the right side you have the menus and on the other side you have either a slide show of your album arts or videos, or an icon showing the featured menu.

Concerning the new feature you also have a coverflow view of your album arts. This feature is rather an eye candy than really usable because if your music librairy is really big you will find it very difficult to firstly distinguish the select cover and then to select it.

I found it really stupid that the interface in some case doesn’t show up the necessary elements. When synchronized with your PC/Mac you won’t really be able to know how full your battery is (only in sleep modus). For me this indication is essential.
Concerning the games I can only say that Klondike is the best one of the three ones: why ? Vortex is sometimes difficult to control with the click wheel and iPod Quiz is soooo buggy !!!

Concerning the Photo feature: ok it’s a feature but to be quite frank, it’s just to show your friends your latest pics. Don’t expect too much of this feature (a zooming option would have been great!) but just to display a nice slideshow with music.

Pros and Cons

  • Sometimes when you are switching from Videos to Coverflow view, the covers shown are completely false even showing covers that doesn’t belong to synchronized track lists. I don’t know if this bug is common on iPods, but this a definitively a no-no !

  • When browsing through your librairy with the cover flow effect on, you won’t here any click when an album is supposed to be selected (in the foreground). I qualify this missing feature as a “should be implement in the next update!”

  • Reboot bug in the Game “Music Quest” even after the iPod update (1.0.1). This is not acceptable because it’s sooooo frustrating when you are playing this game and that the display turns black showing up Apple’s logo ( Please refer to the following link if you want more infos concerning this tech issue: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1157006&tstart=45 )
Be careful when buying your AV cable at Apple.com. Always have a look on the iPod compatibility table to see which cable can fit to your Universal Dock.
Please refer to http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=300233 for the complete table
  • If you plan to connect your iPod to your television, you will need to buy a 50€ cable because the cheap iPod 2G Nano AV cables aren’t compatible with this new model. Somewhere it’s really weird to see how far marketing is lead : you want a new device you have to buy all accessories again 🙁

  • While surfing on the Apple Discussion page (http://discussions.apple.com) I found out that some iPod Nano have tilts/pixels that were misworking. Be carefull when buying yours!

The iTunes interface shows up 8 tabs. It’s very easy to use it. You only need to click on the items ( to be more precise, the playlists) you’d like to synchronize with your iPod.

Contacts and iCal data can also be updated through iTunes.
Photos can also be transfered to your iPod via the iTunes interface.

By turning on the option “Use as a hard drive” you can store non-iTunes files such as PDF, doc files etc… you won’t need any other USB keys to store your files!

New firmwares are directly detected via iTunes and can be installed with a one button click.

Conclusion
The new iPod is certainly a very interesting new device. The several minor bugs of the internal firmware will certainly be updated by Apple within the following weeks. Watching videos on a small display isn’t as “annoying” as some would like to believe it and the fine LCD display will give you a real good video and photo quality.
Unfortunately the eye candy feature “Cover Flow” is not that useful and Apple shouldn’t change it’s complete accessories line when releasing new devices, because having to pay now €50 for a previously AV Cable costing €19 (iPod 1G & 2G) is not very customer friendly!
iPod 3G Nano rating: