Battery Life

Apple rates the new iPod Touch at 7 hours of battery life playing video and 40 hours of audio, this is down from 10 hours on the iPhone 4 (the 4 is still rated at 40 hours of audio playback). I’m still working on battery life tests but I’ll update this section once the results are in :)

Update: At 50% brightness and volume set to 50% I measured 8 hours and 10 minutes of video playback battery life on the iPod Touch. 

Final Words

I was extremely curious about the new iPod Touch simply because of the pretty big leap Apple made with the iPhone 4. I suspect many of you may have had the same questions - whether the new iPod Touch really could be a contractless iPhone 4. While the new Touch is a nice iPod, it’s not an iPhone 4.

The size and dimensions of the new Touch are wonderful. This is one aspect of the iPhone 4 that I don’t miss. I long for the day when we’ll see all smartphones this thin and light.

For what could ultimately be a great FaceTime platform, I am very disappointed that Apple dropped the ball with some obvious shortcomings. Not shipping earbuds with a mic is very unfortunate, and the external speaker is too quiet for a comfortable FaceTime conversation. The rear facing mic worked in my experience but it seems like an odd place to put it.

The new Touch is pricey. In fact, Apple’s entire updated iPod lineup struck me as more expensive than they should be. At $229 for an 8GB player, it actually costs you more up front to get into an iPod Touch than it does to get you into an iPhone 4. If all you need is an MP3 player, you’ll want to look elsewhere. The appeal of the iPod Touch is really the App Store. So if that matters to you, the price is easier to swallow but still noticeably higher than I’d like.

The pricing guarantees Apple is going to continue to have incredible quarters going forward. Apple found sneaky ways to reduce the total BOM (bill of materials) cost on the new iPod Touch. A cheaper chassis compared to the iPhone 4, no GPS, less DRAM on package (256MB vs. 512MB), a cheaper screen and a worse imaging sensor. Granted the iPod Touch is significantly less expensive than the iPhone 4, particularly if you take into account the AT&T contract you need for the latter. At least the new iPod Touch was on par with the iPhone 4 as an MP3 player, which is important given this is an iPod.

The bottom line is that the new iPod Touch is not an iPhone 4 without the phone, it’s more like an updated iPod Touch - maybe even an iPod Touch 3.5. It’s not bad but it's not great either. You have to set your expectations accordingly.

Good Audio Playback Quality, no GPS
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  • Mike1111 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Anand, are you sure about the 960x720 sensor resolution upscaled to 1280x720 video recording resolution? Wouldn't it make more sense the other way around, that the sensor resolution is 1280x720 and pictures are just cropped to 960x720 to be 4:3? Reply
  • gunblade - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    This is what I think too. I couldn't think of any algorithm that could reproduce the extra horizontal field that is not capture from the sensor and not losing the feel and aspect ratio. Reply
  • OBLAMA2009 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    good job to anand flushing out the truth here, but im not prepared to call apple a rip-off artist. first of all the look is similar to the old ipod touch so they arent overtly trying to deceive you into thinking youre getting an iphone 4, which would have been an easy thing to do. second they arent charging anywhere near the noncontract iphone 4 price. $200 isnt very much for what it does--nobody else has a device that does that much and is that size. try getting any smart phone for that price. this is a decent compromise for now with some neat new features like a faster chip and a schitt camera. i went and saw it at the apple store yesterday and it is very thin and yes it does smudge horribly on the back but i liked it and will probably get one. does anyone know where the best place to get it is? what is the costco price on the 32 mb ? Reply
  • wintermute000 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    How about it Apple?

    Theres still a market for those of us who just want a mp3 player with big storage and big touchscreen controls ideal for mounting in a car. hehe
    Reply
  • Stas - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    just another rape-off. rush to the store. Reply
  • Lord 666 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I too had hoped it was just an iPhone 4 in slimmer chassis. Thanks to your completely unbiased review, the honest truth got out. Reply
  • MrPickins - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Same here.

    I had been planning on buying one, but they've downgraded it too much for my liking...
    Reply
  • Sahrin - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Anandtech has reviewed an iPod. You are now officially no longer a hardware website. Welcome to the world of consumer electronics websites - enjoy competing with CNET for the most drive-by impressions. I hope your dignity was not too high a price to pay for the ignorant masses clicking on your website when they search for "iPod player."

    It's honestly really sad to see this happen. Anandtech has definitely lost a lot of its credibility as a hardware site over the years, but nothing was as damaging to this as embracing the Applefication of the hardware world. It would be like the Wall Street Journal beginning to report petty crimes. It is beneath them, because it is anthithetical to their purpose. Sure, they could draw tens of millions of readers by doing so - but that's no who they are.

    Anandtech chose to "change." I can't speak for the business realities of this - and I am sure they exist. I can only say that I hope that the drive-by readers who come in to get Apple rumors will generate as much ad revenue as the serious readers, who pore over the articles and take ads seriously (generating actual revenue for advertisers, as opposed to the all-powerful but completely worthless "impressions").

    Maybe I misunderstand what AT's writers are trying to accomplish. I always thought it was to bring a level of objective understanding and discernment to the computer hardware world. I can tell you with absolute certainty this article doesn't accomplish that. It's a comparison of gasoline brands where neither makes any claims of superiority. It's a comparison of attributes Fuji to Granny Smith Apples - completely subjective and just as pointless.

    The last bastion, the last line to cross is the one that Jon Stokes at Arstechnica (a site that went down the road Anandtech now travels a long time ago) stepped over earlier this year: expressing actual *disdain* for having an understanding of how the hardware that underpins the "neato gadgets" we use today works. "It's so boring, and difficult, and uninteresting."

    Welcome to the "rest of the web" Anandtech. I'm sorry you couldn't understand that what made you valuable was the fact that you were *not* like everyone else, your coverage was not a duplicate of that provided by every other site. I'm sorry that the market dictated that you had to drop technically competent coverage in favor of vapid noise. But mostly - if it's as I fear - I am sorry that your writers are so willing to cash in comprehension for simplicity; to exchange technical knowledge for coolness, marketing schick and mass market appeal. It seems that most fundamental and undignified compromise: exchange underappreciated expertise for overrewarded incompetence.

    I know I will always fondly remember the day when every author at AT aggressively pursued every story, desperately seeking an analytical truth (even if they made mistakes) by questioning, testing, verifying and then synthesizing their work into an appreciable and relevant description of "The Way Things Are." That will always be the only type of journalism which exposes readers to new ideas worth anything - and I hope that, even as the malignant cruft of this kind of story spreads through AT's failing body, there will still be a place for the occasional article of this type, so that I can find a reason to continue to patronage the site. Farewell, old friend.

    We barely knew ye.
    Reply
  • icrf - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Huh? Not a hardware site? Did you miss the Sandy Bridge, Bulldozer, Bobcat, Cortex A9/A15 articles of the last couple weeks?

    Anand, keep up the good work. I enjoyed the hardware-focused review of a consumer electronics device, and everything else you do. I thought a new Touch might be good to pick up, but the lack of memory and cheap screen convinced me otherwise. I'm guessing your average CNET-style CE site doesn't pick up on such things.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    We've actually reviewed quite a few iPods on the site, including the first one reviewed back in 2002 by Matthew Witheiler:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/867

    About 7 years ago I made the conscious decision to start covering Mac hardware. Macs and PCs were headed on a collision course and we started to see convergence in the technology. At the same time, over the past few years we've seen a lot of PC technology make its way into consumer electronics devices. Intel is shipping SoCs for TVs and smartphone SoCs are easily as powerful as the PC hardware we were reviewing a decade ago.

    We still review motherboards, CPUs, SSDs, we talk about overclocking, memory technologies and of course GPUs, but we've added to the list. What constitutes a PC is far broader these days than when we first started the site, and I suspect that expansion will continue. As we've added new categories we've also tried to apply our unique approach to those reviews. I believe our iPod Touch review is the only one on the web that does objective audio quality testing, display quality testing and (later today) battery life testing. While subjective analysis is important, we try to bring objective testing and the scientific method to all of our reviews.

    I'm glad you have fond memories of AT, but if anything I believe our coverage is deeper today than it has ever been. We do more enterprise, SSD and notebook coverage than we've ever done in the past, and our CPU, GPU and motherboard reviews are more thorough than they've ever been. On top of all of that, we actually do a lot of behind the scenes work with manufacturers to make sure that issues with products are discovered and fixed before they are sold to end users.

    I will personally never stop wanting to understand how the hardware works. After over 13 years of running AnandTech I can honestly say that I'm more interested in what I do than I've ever been. I enjoy learning, and there's no better way to learn than to be introduced to new technologies and try to figure out how they work.

    If there's a particular area that you feel we're neglecting I'm more than willing to listen. We're always looking to add more coverage to the site and go deeper in existing areas. You'll see another call for writers by the end of this year that supports that.

    I appreciate your concern for the site and taking the time to post, and more than anything I do appreciate that you having read the site for long enough to care. I know I can't make everyone happy, but I will always try.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply

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