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iPhone or iPod Touch?,
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This review is from: Apple iPod touch 32GB (Launched Sept 2009) (Electronics)
I had a dilemma that I guess many are having - picking between the iPhone and the iPod Touch as an every day P.D.A. Both devices can sync seamlessly with the iTunes library, Address Book, Mail, and iCal applications from my MacBook, and as well as a host of other similarities, I soon realised that the more important question was, "What does the iPhone offer for all that extra money?"
I now realise that there is actually very little difference. Aside from the obvious Phone functions, the 3G connection is the only other useful feature missing from the iPod Touch, and I see no reason to pay 'at least' twenty pounds a month, on top of a handset charge (which is far more expensive than this device alone!) for that feature. Dilemma over - as I saw it, this is far better value for the sake of carrying my mobile in a separate pocket.
From the moment you open the, admittedly, tight clam-shell packaging (kudos for Apple's concern for the environment), the Touch feels wonderfully different to any other device you'll buy. The stainless steel backing is a finger-print/scratch magnet from the start, so do invest in a cheap case to protect the unit. In the box, you'll also get the new Apple Headphones, small pamphlets, a USB cable, a charging cradle and the usual Apple stickers.
This iPod Touch features the new Apple Headphones, which offer an in-line microphone (that you can use for Voice Control/Memo's a examples), Volume control and Play/Pause button. These come in handy as the Volume buttons on the Touch itself are quite hard. Another simple addition is the clip that keeps the two ear bud cables together now can be urn-clipped from one cable so you don't even have to pull it all the way up and down. The 8GB iPod Touch does not feature these headphones.
So what about sound quality? First, lets take into consideration that the Apple Headphones are spectacularly average. You're never going to get the full experience (or intended sound) of the music, as they have an almost 'tinny'/flat output, being that they lack plugs to keep the buds in your ear, resulting in that sound leaking out easily. Many people probably won't care as we are not all tuned in (forgive the pun) to the enjoyment of high quality audio, but for the Touch's basic activities, these are headphones are fine.
Once you do connect the Touch to some quality speakers/headphones, it outputs beautifully and rivals my 2 year old Sony Walkman. I have absolutely no arguments with this being, as a stand alone music player, a darn cite better than the majority of other competitors. Accessing your music is easy via the 'Music' app, and the presentation of your music collection can be completely customised with ease. You can even turn the iPod into landscape viewing, and Cover Flow magically appears! Your music can be accessed when using any other App etc, and the Touch even has the ability to act as a 'Remote' for your iTunes library.
The Home Button, typically of Apple, makes the Touch operations dummy-friendly. Press it once to access the 'Home Screen' - your first page of 'Apps' (Applications). Many Apps are already installed ready for you, including things like Mail, Calendar, Photos, Contacts, YouTube, Maps, Weather, Memos... The list continues. From the Apps already installed, you already have a mass of communication and information ready for you to either 'Sync' with your computer, or access on the iPod.
The truth is, the iPod Touch is a very accessible P.D.A, which marketing wise, Apple is reluctant to spread evenly between the iPhone and iPod because the iPhone brings in more bucks...
You can have up to 11 Pages of Apps, which you organise either from the iPod or iTunes. Apps are essentially bite-size looking programs that can be as simple as a game of 'Checkers', as extensive as a 'Collins French Dictionary', or as huge as the popular game 'The Sims'. They don't all cost either - but do bare in mind that, across the 90,000 available, there are just as many poor ones as quality ones. But on the whole, you'll find an App for anything - whether it be Education, Productivity, or Fun ("The Fartulator").
Connectivity is the only area the iPod misses out the iPhone. The Touch only uses a Wi-Fi connection for streaming internet data/information, meaning you 'have' to be in a Wi-Fi zone. The iPhone on the other hand has 3G, meaning you can access the Net anywhere providing your contract allows you to. But more establishments these days have Wi-Fi hotspots, so its not all bad news.
And if you download the Skype App, the unit becomes a very different story. Providing you have your Apple headphones, you basically have a telephone providing you're in a Wi-Fi area, and the other user has Skype in some means.
The Wi-Fi is obviously the icing on the cake for this being a suitable P.D.A. "Maps", one of the pre-installed Apps, lets you plan a route from your current location to a specified destination whilst connected to Wi-Fi. But Maps is brilliant - it remembers your route, so when you drive down the Motorway (in no Wi-Fi zones), all you need to do is follow the steps on screen!
The screen is 'very' sensitive and tracks every minute touch. Using the default QWERTY keyboard is, surprisingly, very easy and only took a couple of minutes to adjust to. The screen supports "Multi Touch Gesture". As quick examples, 'pinch' a webpage, and it zooms out... Spread your thumb and finger out, and it zooms in. The unit also sports an 'accelerometer' - a clever set of components that register the movement of the device as you hold it - like a Nintendo Wii remote.
To complete the sale for me was the 'Video' playback - the iPod Touch lets you watch any kind of .MP4/.MPV movie file on the go, which has been an absolute joy. I've ripped episodes of The Simpsons/Disney films, even home made videos on my MacBook's HDD, and then upload them onto the iPod. Playback is beautiful for such a small device. But be aware that, like other powerful Apps, these features drain the battery. As usual, Apple have been very... 'proud' of their battery life estimates, and as such I find it hard to believe where they get their figures from.
Summing up, why go for this 32GB model? I feel it appears the best value for money and for using the capacity compared to the 8GB and 64GB models. Films are roughly 1GB each, Apps themselves are usually at least 3/5mb, my entire iTunes library of Film, TV and Music is using just under 16GB. Buying the 8GB model for Fifty Pounds less doesn't seem good value, but even worse is that 64GB model, which I highly doubt most people would fill. Also don't forget that the formatting of the memory means you get around 29GB, not 32GB.
If I haven't convinced you enough to buy this wonderful gadget, then just read the other comments. Apple have always been ahead of the game, and the iPod Touch isn't just a product of modernity, its a sign of things to come, as Apple have once again set the standard for technology thats just as beautiful to look at as it is to use.
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Showing 1-10 of 28 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Feb 2010, 20:46:13 GMT
Sir Rodders says:
Tom Cat, this is a really top review, thanks. Lots of detail in here from an actual user that you simply don't get from a technical review.
In reply to an earlier post on 24 Feb 2010, 14:08:58 GMT
Thank you HK - that means a lot. I've been slated a lot recently for 'long' reviews (with some nasty comments), so it makes it worthwhile
Posted on 16 Mar 2010, 11:24:39 GMT
Brilliant review Tom cat, many thanks, I am considering one for my wife's 50th Birthday and it sounds like great fun. Come to think of it...I want one now !
Posted on 26 Mar 2010, 10:07:11 GMT
G. S. Rahi says:
Great review and thank for covering the differences between ipod touch and iphone - that's really helpful. Good recommendation on 32GB.
Posted on 29 Mar 2010, 23:11:35 BST
Ray Tostevin says:
yeah - great review. My daughter is badgering for an iPod Touch, (rather than an iPhone) and your review makes it seem a very attractive gadget.
In reply to an earlier post on 6 Apr 2010, 22:22:49 BST
It's certainly a prospect thats easier on ones wallet!
Posted on 19 Apr 2010, 09:18:24 BST
S. A. Partington says:
Excellent review - many thanks. My son wants one for his 16th birthday and I wasn't very clear on how it works and what model to buy etc. This has helped me so much. Thank you!
Posted on 28 Apr 2010, 18:40:33 BST
I too am dithering over the iphone vs itouch and your review has definitely helped crystallise my view. Thank you for taking the time to give such an in depth review. And the grammar and spelling are perfect - something that drives me nuts when reading other reviews. I wish all were like you.
Posted on 29 Apr 2010, 21:14:01 BST
Ms. U. ZUBAIRU says:
I too came to the same conclusions and opted for the 32GB model.
After owning several Palm PDA devices over the last 12 years, my iPod Touch has now made them obsolete.
With many great Apps to help me stay organised, it was a right choice.
I prefer to have a small, light mobile phone just for calls and texts.
Posted on 2 May 2010, 12:08:52 BST
J. Hazell says:
no GPS on ipod as there is on iphone?