It’s a handheld gaming system. A portable media player. A point-and-shoot camera. A key to Apple’s excellent App Store and eco-system. In fact, pretty much the only thing the iPod Touch can’t do is make phone calls.
Of course, the iPod Touch is a much tougher sell for people with smartphones with ready access to apps. The new iPod Touch starts at $299 for 32GBs, or $399 for 64GB. You can still pick up a 4th-gen for $199 or $249 (16 and 32GB, respectively), but the new iPod Touch is so much better than its predecessor, we don’t recommend it.
If you’re looking for more space for your media or you’re just ready to invest in a gadget that does everything, could the fifth generation iPod Touch be worth your money?
The fifth-generation iPod Touch has gone through a serious redesign. It now has more rounded edges, ditches the scuff-prone stainless steel in favor of a handful of stylish aluminum colors, and went on a serious diet. The new iPod Touch is alarmingly thin, insanely light, and thanks to its new form factor – feels surprisingly sturdy as well.
The new Touch’s camera isn’t flush against the back of the device.
My first thought on holding the iPod Touch was “I can’t wait for the iPhone to feel like this.” That sentiment was echoed by just about everyone who held the device.
But all the cosmetic changes are secondary to the iPod Touch’s most obvious new feature – the 16:9, 4″ Retina Display. It’s the same display found in Apple’s iPhone 5, and the new aspect ratio and size is similarly improved for media viewing and gaming.
The iPod Touch speaker can pump out some impressively loud audio.
Like the iPhone 5, the iPod Touch ditched the 30-pin dock connector in favor of its smaller, reversible Lightning Cable. If you have tons of 30-pin docks or connectors, you may want to pick up Apple’s $30 adapter so the new Touch can work without hitch.
In the past, the cameras on iPod Touches have been less than stellar, but this year things look different. Apple seems poised to position the iPod Touch against point-and-shoots – and possibly even the new crop of Android-based cameras. The new Touch has a 5MP iSight camera with an f2.4 aperture, which is capable of 1080p video as well as a 1.2MP front-facing camera.
The Touch’s camera is about on par with the iPhone 4S’s camera, and this means Touch owners will have no reluctance sharing their images across Instagram, Facebook, and the like. But is it really enough to replace a point-and-shoot? Possibly. The Touch still suffers from bad low-light scenes, digital zoom is a joke, and image color pops a lot less than similar photos taken with an iPhone 5.
However, this is still a huge improvement over last year’s Touch, and in terms of image quality falls somewhere between iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Convenience could very well make this your primary point-and-shoot.
There are a few oddities about the Touch’s overall favorable redesign, however, and these are both due to that new camera.
Apple has added a small push button on the back of the Touch which allows you to tether a wrist strap to the device. Doubtless, this was a move to facilitate the Touch’s blossoming photography, but the button feels weirdly out of place on the Touch. The iPod Touch Loop feels and looks cheap, and the button on the back feels as if it could break or bend with extended use.
Our second major beef with the design is that the camera is not at all flush to the iPod’s body. This allows the iPod to be as thin as it is, but it all feels weird and looks unseemly. Still, we’d rather have a good camera, even with the design issues, and some, especially clumsy photographers, will certainly appreciate the wrist loop.
While the iPod Touch has become significantly more powerful this year, its A5 dual-core processor and 512MBs of RAM are still much less powerful than the iPhone 5 or the new iPad. The iPod Touch scored about 622 on Geekbench, which is about the same power as the iPhone 4S (the iPhone 5 consistently blows both out of the water, at around 1600.)
Then again, this is still the most powerful iPod of all time, and anyone but spec hounds are liable to care. The iPod Touch still chugs through loading screens and cutscenes without much stutter and can play even the most graphically intensive games in the App Store. That being said, we won’t pretend we haven’t become spoiled by more powerful phones.
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