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Review of the iPod Touch (G4) Player

In the box:

  • Player;
  • Earphones;
  • USB cable;
  • User guide.

Time has no power over the iPod Touch. While they are making all kinds of experiments with the Nano, the Touch remains practically untouched. Although the 2010 model has a number of interesting and one can even say crucial changes, it is generally the very same universal gadget, almost a Swiss army knife – i.e. it is hard to describe all of its features as they depend on the software installed, and there is an abundance of it available for the Touch. This article isn't going to be a problem for me, as I don't have to discuss the operating system per se; it has been done already.

iOS 4: review

Some other things need not be covered either, but let's wait till we get there. Also, I would like to refer you to the reviews of the earlier generations of the player – here they are, feel free to look them through.

Review of iPod Touch 2G

Apple iPod Touch, part one: the media player functions

Build and Design

It is still the same Touch: sleek design, polished rear panel (I feel like using some other word for it but there are children among our readers, too), only the location and shape of the buttons are different. The latter probably need to be discussed in the controls section but let's not make a fuss out of it. The buttons are fairly "bulky" and the volume controls are now two separate buttons, which makes them less handy. You need to bend your finger in a certain way, that is, you will have to lose your old habit; new users will not necessarily even notice or feel that, though.

Apple iPod Touch (G4) vs Apple iPhone 4:

Certainly, the polished back cover gets soiled very easily; certainly, it will be covered with scratches after a while; certainly, I can't understand why they don't apply some coating to it. Or do something else for that matter. It's just like with the white cables. Who cares that they turn into grey after a while. They look great. In the pictures below, you can compare the looks of the clean player (ideal conditions) with those of the player that has been in use for one hour. The dimensions are 111 х 58.9 х 7.2 mm, the weight is 101 grams.

Cameras on the front and back as well as the microphone hole near the one on the back are the main improvements. At the bottom of the device, you can find the proprietary port, loudspeaker with grille, and a 3.5 mm audio jack. Unfortunately, you do not get a headset but just a pair of basic earphones as part of the bundle.

Let's talk about FaceTime.


The program icon can be found on the first desktop and you should probably keep it there all the time. To use the service, you need two things: an Apple id (i.e. the e-mail address and password that you use to purchase music and software) and Wi-Fi connection. You can both initiate calls and receive ones using your e-mail address (needs to be specified separately) as a number.

Let me tell you how it is to call someone from the iPod Touch. You pick a contact and tap the FaceTime icon in the left corner of the screen to activate the frontal camera. Due to some reason, the program didn't like numbers in the 8903ХХХХХХХ format. However, it worked just fine with numbers entered as +7903ХХХХХХХ. On the screen of an iPhone 4 (or that of another iPod), you will get an indication that some e-mail address wants to use FaceTime, and its camera will get activated. As you can see, missed calls have the respective e-mail addresses with FaceTime signatures attached to them. You can then use the iPhone 4 to call back at the player.

It's just great. I really feel like putting an emoticon here.

Naturally, you can switch to the rear camera if you wish to show the world around you or something in particular.

In such a simple way, the player has turned into a phone. That could, however, be said already at the moment when Skype for the iPhone OS and Touch with microphone and loudspeaker (no need to say of the ability to use a headset) was released.

In any case, I am very happy to have the feature out of the box. It is a very, very significant advantage of Apple's flagship player, which allows you to use the Touch to call anyone and anywhere. That is not unconditional, though. You must be connected to a WI-Fi network, the other party must have a particular device at their disposal, etc. As of this writing, the following statement is correct: the more iPhone 4 and latest generation iPod Touch units there are, the more valuable FaceTime is.


It is a 3.5-inch Retina display with a resolution of 960 x 640 pixels. Despite the fascinating characteristics, personally I find the iPhone 4 display somewhat more exciting. As one of my friends commented on the screen of the new Touch, "it won't blow you away." That is true indeed. The screen is nice, has very good viewing angles and makes an excellent choice for gaming or browsing. Anyway, let's not get overenthusiastic about it; the device has plenty of other great features.

All in all, it is not the same screen as the one used in the iPhone 4; even the brightness levels are different.


The official specifications are as follows:

  • Video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio; still photos (960 x 720) with back camera;
  • VGA-quality photos and video up to 30 frames per second with the front camera;
  • Tap to control exposure for video or stills;
  • Photo and video geo tagging over Wi-Fi.

You can make your own judgment about the picture and motion video quality by taking a look at the samples below. There is nothing to write home about there. Yet this is a player we are talking about and its capabilities should be more than enough for most users.

Inbuilt Memory

As far as the amount of inbuilt memory is concerned, there exist three variations of the Pod Touch: 8 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. Since the screen is not bad, it makes sense to use the Touch as a portable media center, which renders the 8 GB version practically useless. On the other hand, you should go for that very version if you are looking for an audio player, organizer or a communication device, etc. Even if you throw in some games, 8 GB is more than enough for that.

The test unit had 32 GB onboard, which was okay for me. I just started watching "How I Met Your Mother" and could copy all the seasons to the device to enjoy the show whenever I want. If only I had time.

If you have a lot of music in the ALAC format, then the 8 GB version is not for you either. Where did the intermediate 16 GB model go, I wonder?

Media Formats

No changes there:

  • Audio formats supported: AAC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), HE-AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV;
  • H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats;
  • MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats;
  • Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format;
  • Support for 1024 by 768 pixels with Dock Connector to VGA Adapter; 576p and 480p with Apple Component AV Cable; 576i and 480i with Apple Composite AV Cable (cables sold separately).

The video needs to be converted unfortunately. There seems to be another option available – that is, to stream the signal directly to the iPod Touch using the new Apple TV, but I will talk about that in a separate review of the receiver.

Yes, the review is underway indeed.

Battery Life

Apple claims up to 40 hours of music or up to 7 hours of video playback. I could get about 6 hours of video playback at a fairly high brightness level out of it, which is quite good. In general, I consider the iPod Touch to have a great battery life; the iPhone 4 pales in comparison with it. For many people, that could be another reason to choose the player over the phone.

You can fast charge the device in about 2 hours (80% capacity), or spend about 4 hours to charge it fully via USB.

Sound Quality

If you want to hear the difference, you should replace the earphones immediately. Go for the original headset at least. You should also try to find some ALAC files. Or you could make some on your own, which is quite easy and exciting!

If you follow my advice, the sound will be interesting indeed. Regular MP3s are not bad either. In terms of sound quality, the Touch is somewhat better than the Nano or Shuffle. The comparison with the iPhone 4 is simple: there seems to be no difference between the devices, which is good. However, the maximum volume is not the same, and the iPhone 4 makes a better music box in this respect.


The iPod Touch is offered for as low as USD 229 or as high as USD 399 depending on the amount of inbuilt storage. In my opinion, the price is good. It's a direct hit. As far as the competition is concerned, we are talking about the previous generation iPod Touch first of all. If you don't need a camera and don't care about the display characteristics much, then there is no sense to spend the money on the latest model.

On the other hand, if you have never owned a Touch, it is better to get the latest model from the very beginning.

Let's go through the pros first:

  1. Apple design, traditionally attractive. There exist some strange people who like posting nonsense on the forums. According to them, the only advantage of Apple devices is their looks, while the rest is pure rubbish. In my opinion, an adult person ought to be able to tell truth from lies. The new iPod Touch offers a healthy blend of design and functionality. You can’t argue with that;
  2. Video call functionality out of the box, albeit not without limitations;
  3. Three models varying in the amount of inbuilt storage to choose from;
  4. Excellent display for a player;
  5. Good audio quality if certain conditions are met. For those, who usually don’t bother with such things, it is good out of the box;
  6. Wide selection of software, including free titles, plus all iOS4 capabilities, which is a significant advantage per se. In effect, you can turn the iPod Touch into anything you want – e.g. a gaming console, business organizer;
  7. Good battery life;
  8. Nice packaging.

Now, let's go through the cons:

  1. The looks come at a cost – i.e. the back cover is a scratch and fingerprint magnet. The same is true for the display;
  2. The player requires iTunes, which many users don’t feel like using. Windows users will have to download it from the Apple website (again, not everyone wants to bother with that);
  3. New controls, which some like and some don’t. I don’t. They shouldn’t have touched the volume rocker or the sleep mode button for that matter.

As my experience suggests (not for the first time), it makes no sense to use the Touch together with the iPhone unless you are a journalist. The player makes a good choice for those who don't like the iPhone 4 for some reason. I know that many people avoid it because of the reception issues. It is more of a psychological effect, but it exists and some people go for a Nokia or HTC powered by Android or even a Blackberry. And the Touch becomes their little helper for various scenarios. You can use it to go to Twitter or Facebook, call somebody and so on; you know the rest.

It is a good player. No, it is an ideal player for the year 2010. And that is how it should be remembered. Amen.

P.S. Strangely enough, it seems to be a real problem to find a case for the Touch. I mean, in a retail store, not on the Internet. I have received several messages from our readers asking for help and even had a chance to discover that myself last week.

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion to be known to the author and everybody else.

Sergei Kuzmin (skuzmin@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal

Published — 24 October 2010

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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