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  • descendency - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Wow. Nice to see someone admit it instead of darting around the clearly inferior device. Lots of people are just giving this ultra high review scores for no good reason.

    Is it a good device? Sure. Is it an iPhone 4 minus the phone like the original iPod touch was to the iPhone at the time? Nope. not even close.

    I'm kind of saddened by a lack of GPS, higher quality screen, more ram (which will impact it down the road in what you can and can't buy out of the marketplace), higher resolution camera, and speaker.

    It really seems like a lower quality device than what could have been produced, which is something I never used to see Apple do. I knew they produced expensive stuff, but I always felt it was top notch. This seems . . . less so.

    I was really really hoping the iPod Touch 2 would look like an iPhone 4. If it did, I would have probably bought one.
  • quiksilvr - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    You do not understand Apple economics. If you thought Apple has never made low quality devices, you clearly have been absent these past 5 years when the iPhone came out.

    When the iPhone came out, it was gimped from the very start. It didn't have copy and paste, no flash support, no memory expansion, no multitasking. Hell, it didn't even have 3G! But it knew it had other selling points (an actual UI, shocking!) and a top-notch touchscreen.

    This allows them to make minimal upgrades every year to the system (now with 3G! ZOMG!), which makes the sheep buy it every single damn year.

    Apple makes products to make their previous generation look bad. But also, they make other current products to make OTHER current products in their lineup to look even better and to give them room for the future so they can make a product that makes your current phone look like a POS.

    The Shuffle doesn't have a screen, but the NANO does! ZOMG lets spend 100 bucks more!

    The Nano got stripped of its bigger screen, video capability, video camera, calendars and games. Why? To make the iPod Touch look good! And hey, the iTouch's got a front facing camera, a faster processor and a crisper screen! Everybody wins right?

    And the iPod Touch is a gimped version of the iPhone 4 yada yada yada.

    So when you are buying a Shuffle, that means you are saving up for the Nano ($100 more and I get a screen!). When you buy the Nano, you will be saving up for the Touch (only $50 more, right?), and when you buy the Touch, you will be saving up for the iPhone 4. And when you have the iPhone 4, you will be saving up for the iPhone 5.
  • Golgatha - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    [q]The Nano got stripped of its bigger screen, video capability, video camera, calendars and games. Why? To make the iPod Touch look good! And hey, the iTouch's got a front facing camera, a faster processor and a crisper screen! Everybody wins right?[/q]

    Wow, I like my 3G and 4G Nanos my wife and I have, but the new Nano definitely does look gimped.
  • Watwatwat - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Inferior to what? A smart phone that costs twice as much when unsubsidized? When subsidized you pay a massive amount more in total anyways, so the comparison is flawed. Appales to apples is unsubsidized cost vs unsubsidized cost. Whats the itouch vs an zune or such. Not vs an iphone.

    I don'tcare if apple produces expensive stuff? Youd care if the touch cost twice as much thats for sure, you wouldn't buy it, even apple can go too far with price. This isn't the mac book air, its already having that higher end market served by the iphone itself. This is the iphone nano or such.

    Comparing it to the iphone to cast it in a bad light is stupid. If you are going to do such a stupid thing, use the ipones unsubsidized price of 500 or 600 dollars to make it fair, then you really understand whats going on. Apples selling an "iphone" touch for less than half the price, so yes, something is not going to be as nice. But don't pretend the haters would spend 600 dollars on an ipod touch.

    Otherwise its mindless bashing.
  • bmurthy - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    I think the comparison is completely fair. Your point only makes sense, if you buy the iphone not to use with AT&T and pay the full price. Why would you?

    I actually think the review is an excellent reality check for people before they put the money down, considering how many people I know that are seriously considering using ipod touch a secondary device to a simpler phone.
  • gkbeer - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    it's sad that it doesn't have all the specs of an iPhone4, it's still a lot better than the previous gen Touch. Reply
  • o0hobart0o - Saturday, September 11, 2010 - link

    First of all, this device is basically the same as an iphone 4 except the cellular service and gps. It may lack a little in memory, but that won't account for much honestly. I think everyone is mad and wants to diss this new ipod touch because, yes, it does come very close to having all the same features. Same high res screen, same high def camera with high def video recording, facetime. All these things were the main reason everyone went out to buy the iphone 4. So it is simple enough to see that everyone is just mad that apple has come out with another device that pretty much does all those things for way cheaper. So cheer up iphone 4 users, apple has been doing this for the last 10 years at aren't the first ones. Reply
  • dmeader - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    Did you read the article? it is not the same as the iphone 4.

    It's the same general shape and formfactor as the iphone. It shares some of the same capabilities. BUT.... NOT the same screen, NOT the same camera, NOT the same memory. Please stop with the endless Apple fanboy defense strategy against anyone who criticizes anything they make.
  • xpose2000 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Great job with this review, definitely makes me not as excited about upgrading my 2nd gen itouch. The speaker is my most disappointing thing to read. I was hoping it would sound more like current gen cell phone speakers.

    I can deal with the rest of the shortcomings, I basically just wanted a camera, mic, faster processor, and wireless N. I got all those things.

    I'd still say its the best option out there and will probably still get it.
  • Watwatwat - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    yea but look at the iphones unsubsidized price.
    500 dollars, or 600 dollars.
    the itouch starts at 2xx dollars.
    this article was poorly written to cast to ipod touch in a negative light based on apples to oranges comparison.
  • coldpower27 - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    I agree to some extent, though it is refreshing to see a review not praise the iPod touch as the second coming again.

    It's the previous generation that is for sure, but not without limitations..

    Using CDN pricing.

    iPod Touch 32GB - $319
    Weak Camera (960x720)
    Lower RAM (256MB)
    no Phone
    Earbuds w/Mic Sold Seperately

    iPhone 4 32GB - $779 (Unlocked)
    Better Contrast, Better Blacks
    Better Viewing Angles
    -RAM 512MB
    -Protective Hardened Glass Back
    -Has Phoning Capabilities
    5.0 MP w/HDR
    HD Video Recording
    Earbuds w/Mic Included
    Phoning Capabilities
    -MUCH more expensive

    Though each is intended for different markets, at least Apple gives us a choice...
  • Watwatwat - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link


    the other issue i have was about the microphone. Sure it only works in quiet environments, on the other hand, its inadvertently a good thing. The last thing we need are more people barking at their phones in public places...add children shouting at ipod touches face time and its just obnoxiousness. i can understand them not including it, its just not something i see myself using much at all in reality.
  • yjagota - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    ...but the question is, is this device enough to switch from the old iPod to this new one? I think there isn't too much difference from the last generation so there is hardly any incentive for upgrading. I am giving this one a miss! Reply
  • coldpower27 - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    Depends on which Gen your coming from.

    iPod Touch Gen 1 (Definitely)
    iPod Touch Gen 2 (Good Upgrade)
    iPod Touch Gen 3 (Not so much..)
  • DLeRium - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Would this then negate the need to rely on the rear mic?

    I do have my own better earbuds (Ultimate Ears with the .vi cord which has a built in mic), so I would probably use that for Facetime. If this means I can just set my iPod on my desk or not worry about that terribly positioned mic, then I will be satisfied.

    Remember the price bump isn't that bad. We're back to the 2nd gen iPod touch price (introduced at 8gb for $229), but let's not forget the iPod Touch 3rd Gen 8gb, while priced cheaper at $199, was really a marked down 2nd gen iPod. While this new iPod is at the same price point as we saw 2 years ago, we get a far faster processor that is 1 generation ahead, double the RAM, a better display, Facetime, and near-iPhone features with two cameras now.

    I think it's sufficient to say that this price bump was necessary. If anything the dropping price of the Touch was hurting the Nano. And now with the Nano losing its camera that it previously gained, I can see why Apple needs to maintain this differentiation between the two lines and keep some sort of price disparity. After all, the iPod Touch is the "elite" device.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Correct, the apple earbuds + mic works fine on the new iPod Touch.

    The pricing makes sense in Apple's stack, but it feels too expensive for what you're getting :)

    Take care,
  • Calin - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I think it's wrong to compare its price versus the iPhone subsidised with a contract. If you compare it with the "no strings attached" price for the iPhone, it's looking much better (even though it might still not look good enough) Reply
  • crimson117 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    If you're going to be limited to wifi, and you're going to be carrying around a phone plus some device, then why not just use a netbook? Other than facetime there are many better apps for a PC than for an iPod Touch. The only reason iPhone has killer apps is because they are usable on the road where you only have a cellular connection. Reply
  • Sanada - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I personally carry a cell phone plus an itouch. Addtionally carrying a laptop/netbook is much less portable and comfortable than carrying an itouch. Itouch is just convenient to get the most basic tasks done since it's small and goes into a pocket. Reply
  • futurepastnow - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Can an external mic be used for audio during video recording? Reply
  • trip1ex - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Don't get where the too expensive analysis comes from. It comes across as off the cuff rather than some research/tested conclusion.

    It comes out of nowhere.

    The iPhone 4 is a $600+ device. Apple surely had to cut corners in order to get to the $229 pricepoint. Remember last gen the $229 pricepoint didn't even equate to a then-current gen Touch. And so cut corners they did. You seem to know this and yet.....

    .... it feels too expensive? IT sounds like the marketing of cellphone companies is working on you. Hey this new smartphone is only $200.

    Anyway if it is too expensive then show us (outside of the normal Apple profit margin that is.)
  • coldpower27 - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    Are there any similar devices that give you similar capacity right off the bat without further add-ons?

    Like Touch Screen 3" or higher PMP?

    Creative Zen X-FI 2 32GB?
    Cowon S9 32GB
    Microsoft Zune HD 32GB
    Sony Walkman X Series 32GB
  • coldpower27 - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    So what device offers the same functionality as the iPod Touch with the same level of capacity?

    vs the iPod Touch 32GB (4G)

    Microsoft Zune HD 32GB
    Cowon S9 32GB
    Creative Zen X-Fi 2 32GB
    Sony Walkman X Series 32GB
    Samsung P3 32GB

    There aren't that many options I think in this class of device.
  • quickbunnie - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link


    Apple always gave me the impression that they didn't cut corners - instead they increased the price. This device feels like it cut corners.

    My breaking point was the screen. Resolution is nice, but I can't handle the horrid contrast ratio. Especially after using a few OLED phones.

    I also was hoping for an "industrial" design a la iphone 4.

    I actually went ahead and bought an iPhone 4 with no contract ($699). They gave me an unactivated microSIM card. I was able to use most of the iPhone without any activation whatsoever, but to use facetime I had to activate the SIM. I did so as a prepaid gophone SIM for free (albeit I had to use a different IMEI, and my balance was $0), and this opened up facetime options. I keep it on airplane mode to save batteries - it seems that to use facetime a SIM must be installed, even though its not used (taking the sim out disables facetime).

    This is a very expensive option. For me, I wanted an upgraded iPod and a new camera. I don't have a camera, so using one with GPS for geotagging and HD video recording options with a decent quality sensor made up the price difference. Had I already had a camera, I would not have paid this much for it.
  • quickbunnie - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Oh, and something to note: WiFI and bluetooth are both still accessible while in airplane mode. Reply
  • reticulate - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    This is an interesting point - I'm not sure if it reflects the wider consumer environment, but Apple effectively upsold you the iPhone 4 by making the Touch not quite good enough for what you want.

    Don't think of it as 'cut corners' as much as a very specifically engineered part of the lineup.
  • reticulate - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    From this review and others I've seen about the interwebs, it's becoming clear Apple designed this to be within a very specific profit margin envelope. You can tell by the lower quality screen, case manufacture and somewhat reduced internal specs that this was designed very carefully to replicate some of the halo qualities of the iPhone while costing a whole bunch less to manufacture. It cleverly prevents cannibalising iPhone sales while also being the most desirable iPod in the lineup by virtue of the iOS ecosystem.

    Not that this isn't par for the course with Apple these days. Say what you want about them, but they sure know how to make a profit.
  • reticulate - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Re-reading this I should point out I'm not a fanboy, but I do get what they're trying to do here. It's way cheaper for them to make while having enough iPhone-like qualities to sell a ton. Consumers will eat this up, and if they're first-timers on iOS might end up buying an iPhone down the track. Those of us who want an iPhone 4-like device will end up buying an iPhone 4, so either way Apple wins.

    Clever and infuriating, but mostly clever.
  • truk007 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    You've helped me make my decision not to buy the 4th gen iPod. I was hoping for a little better video and still photo quality, as well as GPS.

    I guess I'll have to wait for the 5th gen. I guess this also means the next gen iPads will be sporting a camera as well. That would be nice.
  • Mike1111 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Well, my problem with all this disappointment is that the iPod touch is still by far the best PMP with near smartphone-like qualities out there. And I think that the new iPod touch is a clear improvement over the last generation. So I can understand why most of the review scores are so high. If there's nothing better out there and it's actually a pretty good device then it has to get almost automatically a 8 or 9 out of 10.

    But it's just not as close to the iPhone 4 as many people (IMHO unrealistically) have hoped. It just wouldn't make sense for Apple to basically sell a GSM-less iPhone 4 for $299 instead of $699. There's simply no reason to. The new iPod touch is still attractive enough as it is and the small competition that is out there may be cheaper but is worse in almost every other area.

    I also think that much of the frustration about the device is US specific. People really want an iPhone 4 but hate AT&T and they had high hopes that the new iPod touch would get them (almost) there. In other countries where you can get the iPhone 4 on a every carrier and also contract- and netlock-free, people are just not that emotionally invested in the new iPod touch as their "savior".

    One last thing: Anand, are you sure that ALL new iPod touches have only 256MB RAM? Because the 8GB version was always "special" in some way and I haven't seen a teardown or analysis of a 32GB or 64GB version yet.
  • 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
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:

    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,
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Taracta - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Maybe instead of trying to compare a mini Tablet to a cellphone, a comparison to another tablet would be in order even if that tablet is larger?

    Screen issues? Compared to what? That screen is better than anything else other than the iPhone4!

    I would suggest that going against the iPad, the iTouch would compare much more favorable. If you want a iPhone4 without a contract, BUY ONE WITHOUT A CONTRACT!
  • SimKill - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Better in resolution/dpi, but quality? Reply
  • Taracta - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    One in which you can see the individual pixels and one in which you cannot see the individual pixels, which one would you say is the better quality? Aside from that I had to ignore the video testing done because from the outset it obvious that they didn't even attempt to adjust the black level (Brightness)! Give me contrast levels, color saturation , etc. when you don't have the backlight at maximum so that you cannot get even close to black. Do you expect me to assume that iTouch 300DPI panel cannot do black? Or at least a better black than what was measured? Keep in mind that it is still better than that of the iPhone 3GS by their measurments. Reply
  • SadTouchLover - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Way to get off on a technicality, bub. Everyone in the world knows that the ipod touch is meant to mirror the features of an iphone. Buy an iphone without a contract? And pay 400 more dollars for a better camera and screen? You're not making any sense, man! Are you drunk? This ipod touch is a clear case of price gouging. They're hoping that clueless consumers outside of the geek elite will eat this thing up, which will probably definitely be the case. They left the buzzword features and snubbed the "below the surface" quality. BOOOOOOO APPLE BOOOOOOOO Reply
  • anemic - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    What's with all the Apple articles lately? I've heard enough about these disposable toys the last few months to last a lifetime. STOP IT ANAND! JUST STOP IT! Reply
  • B3an - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    Yep Anand, less with the shiny toys and more with the grown up stuff please.
    I know that you review far more hardware these days than you ever have, but theres too much time wasted on junk like this, which just seems to be for more page hits. It's a bit dumbed down as well, get more technical, you could also atleast take this stuff apart and mess with it/see what components are used.
  • manicfreak - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I don't know what to say about Rightmark Audio Analyzer if it gives some of the ratings as "Excellent" for the iPod. *roll eyes* Reply
  • gunblade - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    It is a frequency/spectrum analyzer.
    Human ear is inherently deceiving and human brain is biased, so equipment is developed to help doing measurement, where human bias and prejudice is not part of the equation.
  • kmmatney - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    Since it shows the iPod is a good music player, it has to be a bad test suite, right? *rolls eyes*. Reply
  • Verve - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I like the new iPod Touch since I'm upgrading from 1G (yes, it still lives with diminished battery life). I think the new iPod Touch is much improved in comparison. Besides, I'm not looking for it to be an iPhone substitute -- it just has to be my entertainment gadget that's easy to carry and last a reasonably long time. Reply
  • Brazos - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    My wife only has hearing in one ear so the mono software switch may be enough to get a new nano to replace her 3rd gen nano. I'm sure they could do that with a software upgrade but it will never happen. I'm tired of have to make mono mixes for her :) Reply
  • synaesthetic - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I am very thankful to you for your RMAA of the iPods vs. the Zune HD, and your comment that digital music players are basically equal at this point.

    People still seem to believe that there's a difference in sound quality between well-designed DAPs. This is no longer true. The only SQ difference these days is when there is a demonstrable *problem* with the player--such as a gross bass rolloff caused by substandard filtering capacitors on the output stage, for instance.

    Now if only smartphones could stop hissing horribly when used as an MP3 player...
  • chemist1 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I'm glad you've taken a stab at approaching sound quality (SQ) testing of the Apple ipods in a sophisticated manner. However, I'm afraid that the tests you've done simply aren't sufficient for this purpose. General tests for THD, IMD, noise, and frequency response will catch gross errors. But a device can be fine in these areas, and yet have flawed reproduction for other reasons. More broadly, running a device through the RMAA's battery of tests is only the first step. Then you need to listen, carefully, and identify the flaws in the sound. Then you have to figure out what the source of the flaw might be, and then determine if there is some measurement you can do that could identify and quantify the audible error. This is where years of experience as, say, an audio engineer designing electronics would come in. I.e., what you did ----running it through your RMAA, finding no significant flaws, and then making the pronouncement that "I believe we've hit a ceiling for PMP audio playback quality"----is just as over-simplified as, say, concluding an SSD is fine based on its passing a a single battery of memory benchmarks. It takes years of training, experience, and sophistication to evaluate computer components. Evaluating audio is no different.

    Turning to the ipods themselves: The SQ of the ipods has gone downhill since the gen 5.5 ipod classic, which used a Wolfson DAC chip comparable to those in audiophile-grade CD players ( Their switch to Cirrus Logic was not a good one, and seems to have been accompanied by the introduction of an error into their DAC algorithm. Objective testing (and, I think, much more sophisticated testing than that presented in this article---as I mentioned, SQ is about more than just noise, IMD and THD) reveals this flaw:

    Redwine audio, which does audiophile upgrades to ipods (they upgrade the entire signal path following the output of the DAC, including the coupling capacitors and op amp), will not work on anything later than the 5.5, because they've tried the later models and find the output from the DACs is simply not good enough to enable them to achieve acceptable SQ (

    "Q: Will you ever modify the 6th generation iPods (”iPod Classic”)

    A: No – these use what we have found to be an inferior sounding dac and the sound cannot be improved upon. The sound quality of the 4G, 5G, and 5.5G iMods are far superior. If the newest iPods could be improved and were worth the effort to mod, we would have enjoyed offering an iMod for them and the business this would have created for us." [N.B.: This also applies to the other iPods, including the Touch, which likewise do not use the Wolfson DAC.]
  • chemist1 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    What I should have said was:

    As you know, it takes years of training, experience, and sophistication to evaluate computer components. Evaluating audio is no different. I.e., if you want to get serious about evaluating SQ, you need to find someone who has as much sophistication, training and experience with audio as you do with computers. And that's not going to be easy.

    At the very least, his or her ear must be good enough to be able to distinguish between different CD players in blind testing. I can do this, so I know it can be done.
  • dlinderholm - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    The lack of GPS is the one thing that I really think they missed out on. For me that would be a far better feature than Face Time, but I know I'm probably in the minority there. Ah well. If I could have used it instead of a dedicated GPS I would have picked one up today, issues with display quality notwithstanding (though the incredibly low-resolution primary camera would be a tough pill to swallow). Fortunately for my pocketbook the lack of GPS pretty much kills any interest I had in the device. Reply
  • truk007 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I'm with you on that one. A GPS receiver would have been the selling point for me. Reply
  • OrionAntares - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I'd disagree on the GPS because there are after-market options for adding GPS to the Touch as well as giving it some extra battery power since GPS is a real battery drainer. I don't know how well those options fit the new version with the slimmer design and what adjustments might need to be made for it. The garbage camera they put into the back because of their need to cut off an extra 1/20th of an inch from the depth and keep the edges of the case rounded is what I'm upset with. Reply
  • SadTouchLover - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Hahaha the aftermarket options? You mean like strapping a huge, expensive cradle to it? Yeah that's a great idea. Super functional.

    Also, I agree with you BIG time on the camera. BIG time.
  • OrionAntares - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    I'm extremely disappointed with Apple in this release. I'm not disappointed in the cost cutting measures I was expecting from them such as the RAM, IPS, and GPS but in their "form over function" garbage and how it gimped the rare camera. The rare camera was the one feature I was actually looking forward to for this revision and the blew it. They didn't have to give it the 5MP camera of the iPhone (or 8MP of the Driod X :-O ). But a 3MP camera or even a 2MP camera would have been good as long as it was auto-focus and had a flash. Reply
  • Watwatwat - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    whats an iphone cost unsubsidized? atleast twice as much in many places.
    Sure the screens not as good, but its still got contrast and black levels better than the 3Gs, which was hardly considered horrific. Setting it up against smart phones is setting it up to fail. Its casting it in a poor light on purpose, against its actual competition like the zune and such it does far better.

    Whats the cost of a year of iphone contract?;)
  • SadTouchLover - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Don't do your little winkie face at us, jacko. This is obviously a case of Apple trying to float a subpar product in hopes of the masses being too clueless to care. They absolutely could have put in a camera that wasn't WORTHLESS and a screen that was the same as the iphone and STILL made profit. Just not as gigantic of profit. BOOOOO APPLE. Reply
  • sabot00 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    You should compare the iPod Touch 4G to the 3G too, you haven't compared the 2 at all.
    I want to know is the "weak" speaker is better/worse than the 3G and is the black level on the screen better/worse.
  • grant2 - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Ok Anand, honestly, what multi-function device were you playing MP3s on back in the year 2000? Reply
  • grahamnp - Thursday, September 09, 2010 - link

    Nice to see a review that points out the flaws instead of why they don't matter. Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    I leave a dedicated MP3 player in my car. It makes a lot of sense, since it's always plugged in, it has a dedicated 24hr battery, it holds a ton, and it's easier than messing with your phone.

    The SanDisk Fuze kicks butt. $50-70 gets you a 2-8GB model with an empty microSD slot. So you can have a 10GB player for $63! 24GB for $104! Even expand it up to 40GB. ...versus the iPod Nano 8GB for $149, or 16GB for $179! And you can transfer music like any USB drive.
  • austonia - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    if it had GPS i would be interested in getting a Touch to replace my Evo for tracking the miles i walk while listening to audiobooks. Evo is a bit bulky and heavy but gets the job done. maybe next year. seems like it won't be long before they run out of features to add.

    also not a fan of the shiny metallic case. easy to scratch and then it looks worn out. better if they used extruded aluminum like the nanos, or anything else really.
  • jed22281 - Friday, September 10, 2010 - link

    Compared to the engadget review.....
    Will always come back to you guys for objective/measured reviews.

    You simply are one of the best in the business.
  • SadTouchLover - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Agreed. Reply
  • Pliablemoose - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    I know you got lots of attention for bashing the iPhone 4's reception, but you're off the mark here, you're asking Apple to produce an iPhone 4 for less than 1/2 of the price.

    Will it get you page views? Yes.

    Is it a fair comparison? No.

    If iPhone 4 performance equality is what one wants, buy an off contract iPhone 4 and don't activate it.

    Problem solved.
  • SadTouchLover - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    Uh do you REALLY believe that adding a camera that isn't a dismal 0.7 megapixels and using screen materials that aren't from the bargain bin would make up the $350+ difference between an ipod touch and an unsubsidized iphone? No. This was a calculated move by Apple to get the kiddies to purchase this product and make as much money as possible. They left enough features so Steve Jobs could have his buzzwords at the keynote address and shaved material quality to maximize profits. An Iphone 4 costs less than 200 bucks to make. Apple just doesn't give a hoot about consumers who aren't going to pay them upfront AND month to month. Reply
  • mbf - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    I had deliberately held off getting a 32GB iPod Touch 3G, because I wanted to see what the new 4G would bring to the table. When it was finally introduced I was casually optimistic. Now and especially after reading this article, I'm not really sure if it's worth the asking price "here" compared to the 3G version.

    When I say "here" I mean Denmark, where at the moment the cheapest offer for the 32GB 3G (as long as stocks last) is DKR 1789 (approx. $306) while the 32GB 4G is on preorder for DKR 2289 (approx. $391). Not only do I feel ripped off by the unjust price hike (which in itself isn't anything new), but I seriously question if the 4G is worth this substantial amount of extra cash.

    I can't really see myself using Face Time, although I *was* hoping for the actual iPhone 4 IPS "Retina display" and also the double amount of RAM.

    I'll probably use the iPod Touch more for "serious" apps and also plan to do some development of my own. It probably won't see much use as a media player.

    Any thought or comments?
  • SadTouchLover - Monday, September 13, 2010 - link

    I did the same thing and held off on the 3G. This new touch is just not worth it and frankly I don't want to purchase it and reinforce Apple's deplorable behavior. BAD doggy, Apple, BAD! Reply
  • TheFlyingSquirrel - Sunday, September 12, 2010 - link

    dissapointed in the screen, memory and camera but whatever
    I'll wait to see what microsoft and sony churn out
  • ianmills - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - link

    It looks like the reason Anand is taking so long to post the battery results is because the battery SUCKS on the 4g. Putting it in sleep mode the battery goes from 80% to 20% over night. lame.
  • Hrel - Sunday, October 10, 2010 - link

    I'd probably buy this if: It had the same camera sensor as the iphone. Had an sd expansion slot, an fm tuner you can turn on and off and support for other browsers if it doesn't now. Also $200 should get you 16GB and $300 should get you 32GB (as it does now). I'd like a nicer screen but I'm not willing to pay for it; good enough. Reply
  • Mezinger - Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - link

    I've just shelled out for an unlocked iPhone 4 to replace my first gen iPod touch... it's beautiful but I have to say I don't get the battery life out of it that I would have expected... which left me wondering how it compared to the newest touch? Any news? Should I be suffering from buyers remorse? Thanks. Reply

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