This Month Highlight – November 2012 (Part 1)

12/1/2012 3:25:31 PM

The much-loved miniature iPod looks like it’s back to its old self

Price: $193.5

Manufacturer: Apple Inc.


Description: iPod nano

Memory 16GB Display 2.5-inch 240x432 Connectivity Bluetooth 4.0, Lightning connector Features FM Radio with 15 seconds Live  accelerometer, video playback Battery life 30 hours audio, 35 hours video Includes EarPods

Apple seems to reinvent the iPod nano yearly, almost on a whim. This new seventh edition brings back video playback (a feature that was dropped in the last version), but not the ability to record video (seen in the fifth generation). The physical shape has been changed back to a more familiar form factor, so that it can no longer be worn as a watch. This version also uses the new Lightning connector, so all your old accessories will require a $37.5 adapter to work. You control the nano with a 2.5- inch multi-touch screen, which includes pinch and zoom gestures for photos. It also comes in eight colours including black and silver.

At 5.4mm thick the new Nano feels almost impossibly thin and small in your hand, but it’s not flimsy. It easily stows away in a pocket, and is so light you hardly know it’s there, The nano comes with a few apps, like Photos, Fitness (Nike + support and pedometer built-in) and Radio (there’s an FM tuner) but its home screen looks rather empty and you can’t Install third-party apps. However, a big plus is the addition of Bluetooth so you can use it with wireless headphones.

We still like the Nano, especially since its 30-hour music playback time means it takes ages for the battery to run out. Video playback s a nice addition, but the screen just isn’t big enough to watch a movie comfortably.

Belkin @TV Plus

Stream the video 110m your home set-top box to your iPhone or iPad

Price: $232.5

Manufacturer: BeIkin International, Inc,


Description: For starters it doesn’t have an HDMI connection, so the one-cable convenience we’re all used to is out of the window.

Works with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad Dimensions 200x200x38mm

AV in/out Composite video, component video, stereo audio

Network connections Ethernet, Wi-Fi Belkin’s @TV is designed to stream video from your set-top box to your computer, iPhone or iPad. And although it’s perfectly competent at what it does, we can’t really recommend it. But it’s more a case of concept than execution; it just feels out of place to us.

For starters it doesn’t have an HDMI connection, so the one-cable convenience we’re all used to is out of the window. It’s literally an analogue box trying to step up to a digital world, and the result seems like too much hassle. You can already watch TV online through TVCatchup. Sky Player and the like, and you don’t have to buy an extra box to do it. The Belkin doesn’t put up enough of a case that we should be using it instead.

There are some positives: it’s easy to set up, the video quality is good and it offers some handy features, such as a pause button for if you get distracted. But it has problems too, such as not always having complete remote control options for set-top boxes, and taking an incredibly long time for presses on the virtual remotes to register on the video feed. The iPhone app also costs $19.5, while the iPad one is free (though it’s still far cheaper than the apps for the competing Slingbox).

If you really want something to stream the output from your set-top box, it’s a decent choice. But we’re just not sure why you’d want to.

Pure Contour 200i Air

$300 sounds like a lot, but for an AirPlay speaker, that’s ‘budget’...

Price: $249

Manufacturer: Imagination Technologies Limited


Dimensions 370x229x175mm Output power 36W

Network connections Wi-Fi. Apple dock connector, AUX-in. Ethernet

Description: $300 sounds like a lot, but for an AirPlay speaker, that’s ‘budget’...

The pure contour 200i Air lacks the screen and radio features enjoyed by other Contour models, but replaces them with AirPlay, so it’s a reasonable trade-off As well as playing your music from your Mac or OS device wirelessly using Apple’s AirPlay protocol it also has a built-in 30-pin dock connector for iPods, iPhone or iPad.

AirPlay set up is gloriously simple. and allows volume control on both speaker and Apple devices, but it’s a shame the dock can’t be retracted when not in use. Other Contours have this feature, and its omission here is odd since you’re likely to use the 2001 Air wirelessly most of the time. There are few controls on the 200i Air itself; Just power, volume and (handily) a mute button.

The Contour 200i Air has an impressive sound that’s full and crisp, and really natural. It’s not quite perfect: while the treb4e offers clarity and substance, it can feel a little unrestrained, getting just a tad on the shrill side at volume. Similarly, the bass is punchy and clear, but it lacks depth and resonance.

But although high-end AirPlay units do a better job, the Pure easily out performs most models in its price bracket. If you want wireless audio for under $300, we thoroughly recommend it.

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