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NanoHiFi PNH-2200 Features

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What you'll want to know before you order a NanoHiFi unit is how you plan to connect to it. Oddly, NanoHiFi went with a 30-pin connector for their dock for your iDevices that predate the iPhone5's lightning connector. Yes, that's two iGenerations ago. While there are still many people out there running around with iPhones and iPods with the 30-pin connector, it seems like NanoHiFi is coming out the gate with ancient technology - not the best message to send to consumers. As a person with a number of iDevices in my home, all of which have the 30-pin connector, I have to say that I was just fine with the 30-pin connection. I have an iPod Touch (4th generation), iPad (first gen), and an iPod shuffle (who knows what generation but it has a 30-pin connector). As such, I had plenty of options.

nano_dock

For people that want to upgrade their sound but not their phone

All of the NanoHiFi units have a front USB port for portable music. There is a 3.5mm port on the back for piping in music from your portable device as well a 3.5mm jack for outputting music. There are a few other ports (all 3.5mm) labeled Y/Pb/Pr, coax, and sub. The Y/Pb/Pr is for outputting component video to your display (a pretty cool thing especially since NanoHiFi included a cable), the coax is for composite video and stereo audio (also cable included), and the subwoofer is for adding a sub. This gives the NanoHiFi the ability to stretch beyond a "boombox" or desktop system and become the mini-hub for a secondary system. It's a secondary system powered off your portable device but, honestly, sometimes that is all you need. Adding a sub is a huge advantage especially for those of use that just happen to have older subs lying around waiting for a use.

nano_cd

Headphone and USB port conveniently located on the front

You know they ones. The sub you thought was a "great deal" based on the glowing reviews on Amazon. The hard lesson is that $100 subs, no matter how great they are for the money, often are substandard for home theater. But in an office or small bedroom, connected to the NanoHiFi they can find new life.

All the NanoHiFis have an FM radio receiver but no AM. As you step up you can get a CD player and Bluetooth (one and then both but not just Bluetooth). I know that the base unit is $350 and the high end unit is $480 but we don't have pricing on the CD but no Bluetooth unit. We're guessing around $400-$425.

NanoHiFi Remote and Interface

nano_remoteThe remote for the NanoHiFi is about as basic as it gets. It is white, plastic, rectangular with uniform (for the most part) buttons labeled with text so small you'll have to squint. One pet peeve of mine is a lack of discrete input buttons. On smaller remotes (those credit card sized ones), I can almost forgive it. But on a remote with this many buttons, I have to believe they had room for specific inputs and not forcing the user to scroll through the different inputs by pressing the "Mode" button). While there is nothing inherently wrong with the NanoHiFi remote, it isn't intuitive, the layout is barely acceptable, and there are buttons that don't seem to do anything. Case in point - the Rec/Rip button. That seems pretty self-explanatory. But when I inserted a USB key or a blank CD-R, all I got was a "Not Supported" error message. I imagine this feature is supported in other countries.

The LED screen on the front of the NanoHiFi is sparse but gives you the information you need. While it will let you know what track you are on, it didn't display any meta-data, something I'm used to seeing. There is a clock included with the NanoHiFi but you have to set it manually, there is no battery to remember the time when the power goes out, and there is no alarm (something I was hoping to find). The really irksome thing about the NanoHiFi clock was that it was nearly impossible to display the time. The only way I could reliably do it was to press "Go To" and then "Timer" on the remote. It would display for a few seconds and then go back to the input-specific information. There was also a lack of volume knob. While I'm not such a stickler for volume pots, they are awful convenient when you need to turn the volume down quickly.

nano_buttons

Simple layout but not very intuitive

There were other oddities with the remote and interface which I chalk up to trying to OEM a remote (like having both "Settings" and "Menu" buttons - only Setting worked). In the settings, you can turn on/off the sub (enabling a crossover I hope), turn on/off bass boost (called Bazzoke), set the timer (this has a button on the remote as well), and set the EQ. There are a number of EQ settings including Flat, Jazz, Rock, and more. The most interesting was User which allowed you to adjust up or down 12dB at 80Hz, 300Hz, 1kHz, 3kHz, and 8kHz. This should give you an idea of what the low-end output of the NanoHiFi is (around 80Hz). I put in a test disc and found that I was getting usable output down to the low 70Hz, high 60Hz region. That's pretty impressive for a desktop system.

NanoHiFi Bluetooth and CD

If you bump up to the highest cost NanoHiFi, the PNH-2200, you're doing so because of Bluetooth. Since the difference in price is pretty significant, you'll want to make sure your money is well spent. I found the NanoHiFi's implementation of Bluetooth to be problematic. While it connected without a problem the first time, if you lost that connection, I would often have to cycle on and off my phone and the NanoHiFi multiple times to get it to reconnect. I'd get all sorts of errors from the NanoHiFi not showing up to cryptic "Can't communicate with device" messages. If you've used Bluetooth in the past, you'll be familiar with this experience.

nano_together

Glossy and pretty - plus it sounds great

The thing that I found confusing is that the NanoHiFi wouldn't remember your connection when you switched inputs. So if you were streaming from your phone and wanted to check the local radio station to hear the weather, you'd lose your Bluetooth pairing. This would make for at least five to ten minutes of messing with it to get it to re-pair. Similarly, when you were listening to a CD, if you switched off the CD it wouldn't remember your place and would restart the CD from the beginning when you switched back. The same was true when you powered the unit on and off. I can't remember the last time I experienced a CD player that behaved in this manner.

 

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