"Killer" iPod Nano Review



A nice review of the iPod Nano, albeit from an Apple fan’s perspective:

Stress testing

What does it take to destroy an iPod nano, and what’s inside this tiny package? We wanted to answer both questions and strangely enough answering the first allowed us to answer the second. We could take our turns at purposely rendering the iPod nano broken, and then when it had endured more damage than it could handle we’d end its misery with a respectful autopsy. Now, we know that destroying the iPod nano makes some (strange) grown men want to cry. Rest assured, you can still buy one yourself, and the local priest said all iPod nanos go to heaven. Because of our initial apprehension about the breakability of our tiny new friend as well as reading about similar apprehension from many potential iPod nano buyers online, we decided to abuse our precious little nano for the sake of science. We wanted to stress test the nano in various real-life situations where iPod users have proven themselves to be a little less than genius in the past to see how the nano could handle the abuse. To break the nano in the most scientific manner possible, we would need 5 or 6 nanos and a high-tech laboratory built for this purpose. Unfortunately, all we had was a single 2GB black iPod nano and a giant parking lot, so we had to make do. What we get is a great idea of how much abuse this little guy can take.

To simulate everyday accidents that could result in a broken iPod, we came up with a few situations that we felt would ultimately leave the nano lifeless:

[li]Sitting on the iPod nano[/li]> [li]Dropping it while jogging (4-6mph),[/li]> [li]Dropping at various speeds: 8-10mph (slow bicycle), 15-20mph (fast bicycle), 30mph (slow car), and 50mph (fast car)[/li]> [li]Dropping the nano from various heights.[/li]> [/ol]
gotta love the degree of stress testing undertaken by the reviewers… :eek:


Just read it. It sure sounds good for those who were concerned about the build quality of the Nano. I never could do that to such a neat device though.

Btw… it’s a shame they didn’t do a break test. Imagine… it sits in your pocket and you go sit… that will put quite some pressure on the Nano… what will that do?



Our first test consisted of placing the iPod nano on a solid wood chair and sitting on it, as people are prone to do from time to time. As you can guess, this “test” yielded basically zero damage results—so little, in fact, that we didn’t even take pictures.


I wonder if the sitter was more of a Boris Yeltsin or more of a Vladimir Putin. :wink: And I’d imagine that putting it on a soft sofa would be more dangerous because breakage comes not necessarily from the pressure, but more from unevenly distributed pressure, which is what is more likely to occur if there isn’t something solid to support the hapless nano.


How can I explain this. Well… put on a pair of pretty tight jeans. Put your wallet in your front pockets and go sit (on a chair or even on the ground). Now you can feel the pressure on your wallet, right? Well… I wondered what that kind of pressure would do to a Nano.


i figured that’s what you meant after code’s comment above…

it’s a legitimate question considering the form factor of the Nano (tall and thin)…


Exactly…! Had some problems specificating the “issue”.


i have to say the throwing from a car @ 50mph and still playing is impressive…


Not really, it’s very light. Ants can fall from tremendous heights, survive astonishing impacts, because they have very little mass.


falling from a certain height straight down and falling from a swiftly moving vehicle are a little different…

momentum=mass X velocity and being thrown from a car going 50mph most likely has a higher velocity than dropping from a fixed point (since in this case max velocity is probably not reached)…higher momentum at point of impact=greater damage possibilities…


Not really.

Consider it as two components, for the vertical component the difference is none compared to dropping it from a static car window. It’s still going to fall a meter or so before hitting the floor. The only difference is in the horizontal, now assume that the nano was dropped onto a perfectly friction free surface, there would be no deceleration, no bumps, no scratching, no difference to it being dropped while stationary. As it wouldn’t change horizontal speed and as such wouldn’t suffer from any acceleration.

Now the difference is that the surface isn’t smooth, and as the ipod moves along the floor it gets caught, spun, scratched and bumped by the tarmack. However it’s not being stopped imediatly, the deceleration it’s going through isn’t going to be that great. @ 50mph it’s traveling at aprox 22mps, if it took 10meters to come to a stop then it will experience an average deceleration of 2mps^2, or .2g. And since a car takes about 15m to stop at that speed it’s a conservative estimate of the Gforces (or not as that’s the average, and it’d probably get much greater G forces as corners or edges get caught by imperfections in the surface. but hard drives can take tens to hundreds of Gs when deactivated, i’d expect Nand memory to do the same)

If it was fired from a canon at a brick wall at 50mph then you’d see a massive difference, or if it fell from the car window and bounced into a wall you would as the decelleration would be massivly higher. But simply grinding along on the tarmack is effectivly taking a rough piece of sandpaper to it.


@Bob, That is correct. :iagree:

@drpino, And as the overused saying goes, it’s not the fall that kills, it’s the sudden stop. :wink: It’s not the momentum, but the impulse that kills.


my explanation was way oversimplified…thanks for the correction…

my thinking was that “as the ipod moves along the floor it gets caught, spun, scratched and bumped by the tarmack” would be the cause of any significant damage…

oh well, i don’t plan on ever throwing anything i paid over $100 for out a car window :wink:


Oh it’ll destroy the casing, and the LCD would be utterly obliterated by it. My sister managed to break the LCD on her ipod less than a month after getting it (I’ll never forgive her). But these flash based players are pretty damn tough, someone put an ipod suffle in the wash and then tumble dried it afterwards. The controls were melted out of shape slightly but it worked perfectly afterwards.

(And if you were to drop it going 50mph in your car odds are it’d hit something and shatter into a thousand tiny pieces anyway)