Personal Media Player Review:
7.7mm thick when it was released in 2012, the fifth-generation iPod Touch has received a design tweak, an update rendering to an even slimmer 6.1mm thick. Scheduled for release in American stores on August 24, 2014, this upgrade is 10 percent lighter, yet has been enhanced with a new 4-inch Retina display. It’s bigger, thinner, faster and carries improved cameras on both its front and rear. Better yet, its shape feels good in your palm. Compared to the fourth-generation Touch, which measured 111×58.9×7.2mm, the new iPod is thinner, narrower and taller.
It has a matte aluminum shell available in your choice of six anodized colors. The metal casing is punctuated for numerous sensors, buttons and other expected accouterments. There’s a power/lock toggle on its upper-right, with the volume rocker set to left side. Next to the headphone jack sits the new lightning connector. On the other side of the bottom sit the five tiny holes of the speaker grill.
On the back, the camera portal is now wider in diameter, too, flanked by a tiny microphone opening and a third spot for the LED flash. It’s a 5-megapixel sensor with the same set of lenses found in the iPhone 5. Also, at the top back, there’s a small black plastic patch, where the iPod’s dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n module sends out and receives its data. You’ve got Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and support, and Nike+ connectivity. Unfortunately, Apple has still not added GPS, which seems like a weak cheapskate move on Apple’s part as tracking your movement using fitness apps like Strava would make this a far superior workout buddy.
One useless accouterment is the brushed metal circle that pops out when pushed. You attach the tiny microfiber wrist strap to it, but it’s actually kind of useless. Yet, ultimately, things are more or less the same as they were before. The vertical growth of the iPod Touch is to accommodate Apple’s new 4-inch display that debuted in the iPhone 5. Yes, this is the exact same panel as the iPhone, not a cut-rate version like the last iPod touch received. That means a 326dpi, 1,136×640 IPS LCD screen. It is the best panel on any mobile device I’ve ever used.
The Apple iPod Touch has the same 40-hour musical listening time as the previous generation, while its video playback can go for eight hours, an hour longer than the previous model. I’ve never heard any kind of complaint about the quality or durability of the five generations of the iPod. After playing various kinds of music featuring Eric Alexander, New Order and Yoyo Ma, I set up three sets of headphones, starting with Apple’s own familiar EarPods, Klipsch S4i buds and Sennheiser HD555s. They all sounded good, even if the latter two are three times more expensive at least.
It’s really the two new cameras that show off the most marked difference between this version and the previous Touch. The 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera up front takes nice crisp photographs, although nothing markedly outstanding. The 5-megapixel setup on the back is special, however. It takes exquisitely sharp photos and some nice looking video at 1080p. It may not quite measure up to the iPhone 5, in the sense that it has problems with stability when you try to record on the move. Otherwise you get more than your money’s worth from the likes of Siri. There’s access to the iCloud, Safari and other upgrades, too. I’m only feeling a little bereft for missing a GPS device. You can look for something comparable in price but I don’t think you’ll find it.