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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  • gbrayut - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I very much appreciated the objective audio quality review and comparison with Zune HD. Most Apple product reviews are very subjective, so having a hardware level perspective with benchmark numbers is a breath of fresh air.

    Keep up the great work!
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    Bye - Don't let the door hit you on your way out. Reply
  • SadTouchLover - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    What a tool. I read the first paragraph of your "novel" and just stopped. This was exactly the kind of review that you claim to enjoy from AT. They blew the whistle on a consumer product that was being hailed as much more than it actually is. Again, you are a tool.

    "I only like a website that reviews obscure, third party RAM modules and boutique GPU manufacturers." Good riddance you loser.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    The previous Touch was far from the best sounding device (try a Sony Walkman), does this statement mean that the new one has substantially better SQ? Reply
  • watzupken - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I suppose the reviewer did a great job of pointing out the shortcomings of the product. At the end of the day, I think it is still a decent product and improvement over its past gen iPod Touch. Apple is also not likely to make this a better alternative over their iPads by giving it a good screen, and more memory. Although the iPad has a bigger screen, the iPod Touch is still capable of cannibalizing the sales of iPad, especially when it is much cheaper. Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I'd be really interested to see some web benchmarks on this device. We know it uses the Apple A4 chip, but, like the iPhone 4, we don't know the clock speed. Comparing benchmarks may give us an estimate.

    Also note that the iFixit teardown shows that it uses half the RAM the iPhone 4 uses, I'd like to see how that impacts it.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I must be losing my sanity, all of those things were on the front page. Nevermind this here bumbling idiot! Reply
  • anactoraaron - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Yet there is no direct link to this "gagdets" section of the website... a minor oversight... Reply
  • El_Capitan - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Frequent reader, first time poster.

    Usually posting a comment for an Apple product usually incurs a wrath from Apple fanboys, but it just distills to me their ignorance and distain of constructive criticism. I've had an Apple Classic from way back in the day, a Video iPod from 5 years ago, and gave my girlfriend an iPod Touch version 3 a year ago, so I'm not an Apple hater. I also used Macbooks on occasion, but am primarily a PC/Laptop/Server builder/user.

    I've been waiting a while now to update my Video iPod, but haven't decided on what I want. I played with my gf's iPod Touch, and it's nice with all the apps, but then there's the Zune and it's OLED display. Granted, what I'd be using it for is listening to music, watching videos, playing games, and browsing the web when connected to wi-fi, but I have my Blackberry Bold 9800 that can handle all the functions of an iPod Touch minus the touch features and apps, while my Nintendo DSi has a great selection of games. While my Video iPod can still play music and videos, it's not as great for videos.

    For my choices:
    1. Watching videos - Zune HD or PSP Go or iPod Touch
    2. Playing games - Nintendo DSi, PSP Go, or iPod Touch
    3. Listening to music - iPod Touch, Zune HD
    4. Browsing the web - iPod Touch

    Now, while the iPod Touch does all those things, the only thing holding me back is that the display isn't the best. There's fun to be had with all their apps, but there's funner games to be played elsewhere.

    I would have definitely gone in to buy an iPod Touch 4, but they're still lagging behind on the display. Instead, it looks to me that they want to cash in on just upgrading the aesthetic appeal, and hope that being a 4th gen gets people to upgrade, and not the reality of what the real benefits are.

    I was close to purchasing a Zune HD, but so far am faring well with my trio of Blackberry Bold 9800, Video iPod, and Nintendo DSi. I guess with the letdown on the iPod Touch 4, I'll still be waiting until something better comes along.
    Reply
  • gbrayut - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I purchased a 32GB Zune HD and absolutely love it for playing music or watching videos (mostly podcasts). The form factor is about half the size of an iPhone or iPod touch, which makes it easier to use when jogging or working out, and it retails for about $50 cheaper than the iPod touch.

    It definitely has its short comings: the mobile browser is pretty bad, doesn't have very many apps, and no wifi updates for podcasts when outside your home network (suppose to be fixed in Windows Phone 7 and next gen Zune HD). Also while it has the potential to be a great gaming platform using XNA there just aren't a lot of developers working on games right now (again hopefully will change with Windows Phone 7 release).

    I would highly recommend Zune HD as a Personal Media Player, but don't buy one hoping for a good web browser or a ton of games. I do however look forward to the next Zune release and will evaluate Windows Phone 7 when it comes out.
    Reply

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