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Tuesday, September 07, 2010, 08:20 pm PT (11:20 pm ET)

Review roundup: iPod lineup impresses, Ping disappoints

The first reviews of Apple's new iPods and Ping music social network have appeared, with favorable impressions of the iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle, but generally negative responses to Ping.

Reviewers were enthusiastic about the iPod touch, although they took issue with the still photo resolution of the rear camera, the reduced viewing radius and dimmer display than the iPhone 4, and the lack of GPS or camera flash. Although some reviewers were initially skeptical about the iPod nano, in general, they were positive about the drastic redesign of the device. The iPod shuffle for the most part stayed out of the spotlight, but reporters did welcome the reintroduction of physical buttons.

While responses to the new iPod models were favorable across-the-board, Ping failed to live up to expectations. The general consensus was that Ping had potential, but needed work.

The Wall Street Journal's Katherine Boehret:

In her review titled "The Good, The Bad, and the So So," Boehret highlighted the iPod touch as "remarkably thin" with "beautiful" HD video footage and impressive audio. Ping, on the other hand, she found to be "socially awkward."

"One of Ping's biggest downsides is that it doesn't import lists of friends from other established social networks," wrote Boehret.

Boehret found the iPod nano's redesign "surprising," and particularly enjoyed the integration of touch photo viewing.

USA Today's Edward Baig:

Baig welcomed the iPod touch enhancements that brought it closer to the iPhone 4, but missed notable features from the iPhone, such as GPS, LED flash, and the 5-megapixel camera. The iPod touch is "still a winner," though, and Baig is confident it will remain the most popular iPod.

According to Baig, the iPod nano is "awfully cute," but Apple has "given and taken away." The touchscreen, diminutive size, and clip come at the cost of the video camera.

Ping is the only disappointment out of this batch of products, as it just "isn't quite there." Baig finds the general idea behind Ping appealing, but sees it as "incomplete."

Businessweek's Arik Hesseldahl:

Hesseldahl was "generally impressed" with Apple's changes to the iPod line.

At first, using the smaller touchscreen on the iPod nano "seemed ridiculous" to Hesseldahl, but after use, he found it intuitive. He hardly missed the video playback and video camera features of the the previous generation iPod nano, noting that in this case, it was "stripped down for the better."

The iPod touch "kicked up the intensity about a dozen notches" with its "muscular" A4 processor and Retina display. Hesseldahl found the still photos to be just "fine," and the HD video impressive.

For Hesseldahl, Ping is missing a "key point:" seamless integration of a music-sharing experience with existing social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Other reviews

Engadget, Macworld, and Techcrunch have also posted reviews of the new iPod lineup.