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Monday
Aug312015

Review: iPod Touch (2015)

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

This isn't your daddy's iPod Classic. The new iPod Touch looks and feels like the last model released in 2012. It features the same 4-inch Retina Display and coloured aluminium rear casing. What's different is what Apple has managed to change on the inside.

We now have an updated Apple A8 processor which is the same as what the iPhone 6 offers. A new 8 megapixel iSight camera seriously boosts the iPod Touch picture and video taking capability by putting one of the most popular cameras in a new device. Thanks to sensor and processor, iPod Touch users can now shoot slo-mo video as well as burst-mode photos. Also onboard is the M8 motion co-processor which aids in tracking fitness. 

Long known as the 'iPhone without the phone," the new iPod Touch also has three-times faster WiFi for streaming, downloading and Facetime video calls with friends and family.

The new iPod touch starts at $249 for the 16GB model; $299 for 32GB and $369 for 64GB. For the first time, iPod touch is available in a 128GB model for $499. Having a large capacity iPod Touch makes it a viable replacement for the iPod Classic which topped off at 160GB, which is great for folks who love to carry volumes of music wherever they go.


This really transforms the iPod Touch, long considered an ideal device for younger users and teens who don't have data-connected smartphones, into a viable all-around entertainment device for anyone who may have amassed a large music collection or enjoy playing mobile games and using apps, even if they don't have an iPhone.

For many users of streaming services like Apple Music and other competing services like Spotify, Google Play Music, Tidal and others, there's no need for a lot of storage space since streaming doesn't store a lot of data on a device. 

The beauty of the iPod Touch, is that it is a connected music player and can grab tunes from multiple services depending on what the user wants. 

It's no surprise that the 8 megapixel camera on the new iPod Touch is very, very good. Its the same 8 megapixel sensor found on the iPhone 6. Apple didn't scrimp on the iPod Touch, we get an 8MP iSight camera, autofocus, a versatile ƒ/2.4 aperture, a five-element lens, hybrid IR filter, backside illumination, auto image stabilization and one of the best auto HDR features for Photos.

This camera also has improved face detection, exposure control, the ability to shoot panoramas (up to 43 MP), burst mode capability, fast tap to focus capabilities and smart photo geotagging over Wi-Fi plus timer mode. These are all tried and tested technologies which have made the iPhone the biggest smartphone camera in the market and now iPod Touch users can have this creative power at their disposal.

 

I was amazed and delghted at the detail and clarity of the photos I managed to take on this super-thin iPod Touch. For a camera that is so thin and light, it is quite remarkable what this can pull off. Add in all the access to various camera apps, editing apps and sharing apps out there and the iPod Touch becomes a serious, connected and capable stand alone camera with oodles of of onboard storage and a direct pipeline into the Apple ecosystem.

Aside from screen size, this is really the closest that an existing iPod Touch has gotten to an iPhone in specs and features. There are some aspects of the iPod Touch that could have used an upgrade. The biggest of these are the onboard speakers (or speaker). I get that it is an iPod first, designed to be used with Apple EarPods or Beats headphones, but there are times when none of these are around and you just want to listen to music or a podcast. 

The speaker of the iPod Touch isn't bad, specially since it is in such a thin enclosure. It would, however, be great if Apple did something to boost the sound quality and loudness. Serious audiophiles might flinch at the lack of lossless music file support (iPods support AAC, MP3, WAV, AIFF, and Apple Lossless). The good news is that there are a variety of apps that can serve as a workaround and let you listent to your high-resolution lossless files. 

I dig classical music and mid-century jazz music to relax and work and have bought various lossless and FLAC formatted files which aren't natively playable on iTunes or the Music App. This can be solved with third-party software like VLC 2.1 for iOS. It's a workaround, but it is not impossible. These are really the only quibbles I have with the new iPod Touch.

Conclusion

With Apple returning to its musical roots and pushing out Apple Music, the iPod Touch seems to have all the right features and capabilities as a standalone media player. It is much more than that, though. A full-featured pocket computer with Apple's latest processors, technologies and connectivity features, the new iPod Touch can easily fill the void as a WiFi communicator, pocket gaming rig, accomplished still and video camera and basically anything its users want it to be.

 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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