Multitasking 4th-Gen iPod Touch Is Finger-Swiping
There's a joke widely told among tech nerds ending with a punch line that goes something like, "I loved my first gen iPod Touch when it could make calls and was called an iPhone."
The iPod Touch may constitute 40 percent of iOS sales, but the general consensus among gadget hounds is why? Why would you shell out for a device that looks like an iPhone, operates like an iPhone, but doesn't make calls? (It might be argued that the iPhone doesn't really make calls either.)
For its 4th generation iPod Touch, Apple has done much to answer this question and labored hard to set the gadget apart from the iPhone. First off, it does not co-opt the iPhone 4G's aluminum and glass ice-cream sandwich design. Instead, the Touch retains a trapezoidal shape with a flat glass front and a smudge-attracting chrome back plate. It's also extraordinarily thin at 4.4 x 2.3 x 0.28 inches, weighs just 3.6 ounces and flaunts a vibrant 960 x 640, 3.5-inch screen. When compared side-by-side, the iPhone 4G looks rather like a behemoth next to the Touch. But aside from outward appearances, the two devices do share some important similarities.
Like the processor! Using Apple's A4 CPU (same chip in the iPhone 4G and iPad) the Touch runs supremely quickly. Scrolling through the OS is swift and simple. Multitasking is also effortless—we ran the music player while engaging in some heavy app usage. If you've never FatBoothed a friend while listening to Thunderstruck, then, well I don't think you've truly lived yet.
Overall the VGA quality cam takes some decent images but is not quite as sharp as ones taken with the iPhone 4G. Colors are a bit more washed out and there is some distinct noise. Check out the difference below.
The rear-facing video cam records at 720p and 30 FPS. The footage is ... meh. But it's also just good enough to stay competitive with video recorders like the Flip. The front-facing cam, designed to work with apps like FaceTime, only operates at VGA resolution but still has 30 FPS.
Speaking of apps, FaceTime is a hoot. The app allows you to video chat with anyone who has iOS 4.1, is easy to set up and conversations are passable but the audio is slightly muddled. Gaming, which is rapidly becoming the iPod touch's raison d'être, is baked into the software of the Touch. Called GameCenter, it wasn't active when we received our review unit. We'll be sure to update the review when this feature becomes active.
And what about media playback? You know, the thing the Touch was designed to do in the first place? Video is smoother than a freshly oiled veal cutlet, while scrolling through the music library is a breeze. Audio playback is sparkling—especially in Apple lossless. As always, it's wise to steer clear of the garbage earbuds packaged with this thing and upgrade to a grown-up set of headphones.
So this brings us back to the question at hand: Why get the Touch over say a new iPhone? Good question. When you look at the sum of its parts, the Touch is actually a lot of single-serving devices rolled into one. Its video camera makes it competitive with the Flip, its gaming abilities (while not on par with a Gameboy or PSP) are decent for casual users, and video playback is better than just about any dedicated device available out there. So if you want to trade all of those gadgets in for an all-in-one device, you could do a lot worse than the Touch. It may not make phone calls, but hey, we hear your iPhone doesn't either.
WIRED Feels impossibly thin—we literally lost the Touch in our own pockets. Looks so sharp you could nearly shave with it. Runner? You're in luck. Touch supports Nike plus. 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi support. The display is beautiful, brilliant and mesmerizing. All glory to the hypno-screen!
TIRED Metallic finish collects more fingerprints than the NSA. Higher-end models are fairly costly. No flash on the browser or the camera. Video recording and still-image capture could be a touch (ha!) better.
- Style: Combo, Touchscreen , Video
- Storage: Flash
- Manufacturer: Apple
- Price: $400 (64-GB model)