iPod touch fifth-generation (2012) review

Posted by: Brett

If for a moment you thought Apple had forgotten about the iPod touch, their announcement of the fifth-generation model should have disproved that. The fifth-generation iPod touch is Apple’s most ambitious release in the iPod touch line and it’s got a bevy of features which blow away that of the 4th-generation model. It’s a huge upgrade, so I’ll break it down in my full review.

Hardware

You can really tell Apple spent a lot of time perfecting the iPod touch because it looks just as good as the iPhone 5. It’s got that same anodized aluminum back casing as the iPhone 5, the same chamfered edges, and the same drilled speaker holes. The entire device is overall really clean looking and feels really high quality. Also on the back is a plastic strip which serves as an RF window for transmitting WiFi signal and more. The iPod touch has slimmed down a bit to just 6.1 mm, and it’s so thin, the camera had to stick out of the back slightly. Keep in mind, this is a full millimeter and a half thinner than the iPhone 5 which you’ll notice at first but will later get use to. It’s also a mere 88 g which is 13 g less than the previous generation. You’ve also got the new Lightning port on the bottom.

Apple also included an entirely new hardware feature which is located on the back bottom left of the iPod touch called “the Loop”. It’s a shiny silver circle which, when pressed in, pops out and allows for you to attach a small colored lanyard included in the packaging of the iPod touch. The Loop comes in the color of the iPod touch you got. You can the put your wrist through the Loop (can be tightened or loosened) which will reduce the chances of dropping it.

Internally, the 5th-generation iPod touch is no slouch. In fact it’s got practically the same internals as the iPhone 4S. It has the same dual-core A5 chip, albeit likely one that’s more power efficient, and 512MB of RAM. There’s definitely a noticeable increase in speed over the 4th-generation model which had the single-core A4 chip for the past two years.

Following in the footsteps of the iPhone 5, the iPod touch fifth-generation now also has the 16:9 4-inch Retina display. It has the same 640 by 1136 resolution and is also an IPS display for the first time, giving it great viewing angles. The display makes games look great just as on the iPhone 5. As a side-note, Apple confirmed that there is no ambient light sensor in the new iPod touch for auto-brightness due to the device being too thin for it.

Cameras

The iPod touch received all new camera optics this go-around. On the back, there’s a 5 megapixel camera which you’ll notice protrudes slightly from the back, as mentioned before, due to the device’s thinness and a microphone. While it’s not the iPhone 5’s 8 megapixel camera, it’s still got better optics than the iPhone 4’s 5 megapixel camera. The 1080p video recording is sub-par, but again, the optics are slightly different than the iPhone 5. With iOS 6, the iPod touch has panorama mode allowing you to take panoramic images. The front sports a 1.2 megapixel FaceTime HD camera which, as the name suggests, shoots in 720p HD. This is also the first iPod touch to include a flash.

Overall, both cameras are a huge improvement over the 4th-generation touch’s cameras, but the iPod touch is still not good enough to replace a point-and-shoot.

Miscellaneous

The iPod touch runs iOS 6 out of the box and provides essentially the same experience as the iPhone 5 (right down to Siri) due to their identical display sizes. If you want a look at what’s included in iOS 6, check out my overview here. The iPod touch comes in new colors for the first time. Aside from black / slate and white / silver, you can get one in pink, yellow, blue, and Product (Red). If you get any model but the black, you’ll get a white front glass with the color on the back (with the black, you’ll get a black front and back). Inside the box, you’ll get the Lightning connector, the new Apple EarPods, the color-specific Loop, and the iPod touch itself. It comes in 32GB and 64GB variants (no 16GB model) for $299 and $399 respectively.

Conclusion

Overall, the new iPod touch is hands-down the best mobile entertainment device out there. The hardware and software coupled with all the apps and games in the App Store and music in the iTunes Store cannot be be beat by any other device. This is a great device for kids and for anyone to use on the go. I say if you’re looking for a portable device that will last you awhile and offers a great experience all around and you don’t have an issue spending $299 or $399, you should definitely look into purchasing one of these. If not, you may want to look at the $199 8GB or $250 32GB iPod touch 4th generation, although you won’t get the same compelling features as the new model.

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