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849 of 933 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RETINA Display Absolutely Rocks! Excellent Media Device and Portable Computer, September 19, 2010
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This review is from: Apple iPod touch 8 GB Black (4th Generation) (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
My original review focused on whether you can successfully use an 8 gb version of this 4th gen iPod Touch in lieu of a more expensive, larger memory version. My conclusion (at the end of this highly revised review) was, and remains, a resounding YES but there is one aspect, that applies to ALL the iPod Touch 4th generation editions (8/32/64 gb), that I now think is MUCH more important:

The quality of the screen display.

Simply put, this device has near-iPad screen quality in a 3.5" device. (960x640 resolution at 326 pixels per inch, vs. 1024x768 resolution at 132 pixels per inch).

That means you can get almost iPad quality video in approximately 3.6 ounces of device vs. 24 ounces of device; in a device that fits a shirt pocket vs. a device you need a separate bag for. In a device you can hold up as a reader vs. a device that tires your arms.

This Touch is VERY practical for reading NYTimes articles or USAToday articles in their reader applications, optimized for this size display (crisp, large type). VERY practical for browsing the regular on-line editions of most newspapers (tap once to fit a column to a screen with nice readable type). GREAT for YouTube since the YouTube app included with the device is optimized for delivering high def YouTube content - if available, HD videos are automatically preferred. GREAT for Netflix and Hulu Plus. GREAT for gmail and ok for Facebook (I am sure FB will make its dedicated app more user-friendly in the future).

Great, for me, for online banking and stock research/trading.

Great for catching up on tech websites in their "mobile" formats.

So-so for Yahoo; I don't like Yahoo Mobile right now and their regular online edition, via the built in Safari browser, doesn't scale up and down as nicely as the online NYTimes does.

And oh yeah, the device can store adequate amounts of your own music library (or stream Slacker or Pandora, customized for you, in free or pay editions) and download iTunes paid video content for later consumption, stream to Apple TV, or you can move your own DVD content to the device via easy conversion programs.

Last year I ventured out on some vacations with an iPod Touch, the last generation, as a "backup" to my netbook. I found myself easily reading emails, but preferring the netbook for replies. I didn't read any books with it until earlier this year, and was surprised by how well book reading worked. I Skyped home.

When this new generation Touch came out, I got it as a matter of reflex, justifying the purchase on the basis of the built-in camera and built-in microphone (which means I don't have to use "inline mics" with ear buds any more). But in reality, the sharpness of the screen is MUCH more important. I have now, simply as a result of this device, switched to e-reading from print reading. On the road, this has largely displaced the netbook (except for reviews like this); most friends communicate in shorter emails these days anyway, and most emails are ads and blurbs, not stuff you need to reply to.

But now at home I find myself ALSO using this new generation iPod Touch a LOT. In the morning to check emails for anything really important, to check NYTimes headlines, before I even roll out of bed. Anytime I want to check emails or Facebook the rest of the day, without firing up the regular desktop computer. At bed to read.

In short, the darn thing is a working computer. Great for CONSUMPTION, patience-testing for INPUT. (Although forcing my input to slow down, say, for Simple Notes entries may be a good thing - forces me to slow down and be a lot more concise.)

***********A word on gaming and pricing. My kids have the 8 gb, 4th gen (this one) model and LOVE it for games. The motion detector is VERY responsive and watching a 3.5 y.o. use "dual thumbs" on the screen blows me away. You will NOT get the same screen responsiveness and motion detection on an Android device. Some developers are even reluctant to develop Android versions because the hardware for Android devices simply has too many variants in the marketplace vs. much smaller overall market share. This can change, but for now Apple dominates the gaming market. This week Apple is offering the Touch in 8 gb mode for slightly over 2 bills but with a 25 gift card. The value for dollar is incredible. Think carefully before you try to find a substitute! (FWIW I love Apple hardware but don't like the "locked down" system it has become - I hate having to use iTunes as "Grand Central Station" for Touch operations. So I am actually inclined to be biased AGAINST Apple, but in the case of the Touch the results are simply too good to ignore.)

***********Best accessory ever: ClassicReader Three-pair Valu-Pac, +3.00 The screen on this new generation of iPod Touches is very, very sharp, but in order to enjoy all that sharpness, you need to bring the screen really close to your eyes (assuming you don't have presbyopia and can focus close) OR simply carry a pair of cheap reading glasses as an "accessory" to these super sharp 4th generation screens. This lets you actually read the tiny type on the NY Times website, actually see the richness of colors and depth of detail on a video. So even if you don't need reading glasses for magazine reading, CONSIDER trying a pair of STRONG reading glasses (1.75, 2.0, 2.25, 2.5, 2.75, or even 3.0) to magnify the 3.5" display screen. Strong reading glasses make high-def YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu Plus videos POP for me.

My original review, edited to be slightly briefer, is below, so you will know where most of the pre-12/20 comments come from:

______________________

Can you get by with an 8gb Touch?

Yep, based on my experience with a 3rd gen 32 gb, and on my recent local purchase of the 4th gen (this current model) in 8 gb capacity.

When using the old 32 gb, I found out that I barely used its greater storage capacity. (I don't haul around a lot of music or videos - I just transfer what I want to listen to/watch for each road trip or listening/viewing cycle using iTunes). Apps, I discovered, don't take up much space, even games and books don't take up much space, unless you want to haul substantially more of your whole collection with you. Amazon's Kindle app is esp. device friendly, since you can archive books you've finished back to Amazon instead of keeping them on the device. iTunes is a great way to manage what content you want to store on your home computer - which becomes a sort of large "docking device" - and what you want top take "to go."

As a netbook substitute, storage isn't even that important. I can check my bank balance, transfer funds and execute orders on a brokerage account, listen to radio on Pandora or Slacker, watch music videos (and a lot more ) on YouTube, Skype, stream Netflix, and do a whole lot of other stuff on the 8 gb just fine.

In fact in hindsight the only real reason for me getting the 32 gb version in the older edition was to get the faster processor. But in the current generation, ALL THE 4th GENERATION HARDWARE IS THE SAME, except only for memory.

Do keep in mind on the 8gb edition you give up about a gig to systems operations, leaving only 7 gb or so for your stuff. And you need to leave from for apps and their space. I probably wouldn't put more than 6 gb of music and videos on the 8gb version. The other editions also give up the same space, but proportionately it is a smaller "hit" to your storage.

The 8gb makes a nice intersection on my personal "cheapness" and "minimalist" curves. The price doesn't get into nose-bleed territory where I start to wonder whether a netbook would makes more sense, and it's inexpensive enough to subject to the toils of daily wear and tear - keeping it handy in an outside day pack pocket, instead of more safely stowed deep inside the pack.
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Comments

Tracked by 8 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 61 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 19, 2010 7:05:49 PM PDT
@A reader: Helpful review, it actually opened my eyes. As the owner of an ipod touch 8gb (gen 2), I have been living so long with its shortcomings (slower engine, no multitasking) that I ordered the 32gb almost instinctively. I just canceled and reordered the 8gb, thanks to your post.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2010 8:57:40 PM PDT
MWebb says:
More memory is always good, but when the unit gets too pricey I tend to treat it as a "closet queen" afraid to lose it, drop it, etc. It's nice to have a price point where the purchase decision can almost be "what the heck" and where you don't live in terror of losing or breaking it.

The darn things are meant to be used, and that means keeping them handy...and occasionally in harm's way.

I love the instant on, ready to go, feature. Not that I would ever use it to check emails in the john....

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2010 8:18:51 AM PDT
Big D says:
I too have an 8gb 3rd gen, and have been trying to get netflix streaming app to no avail. Where did you find yours? Also I just wonder for $40 more you are quadruppling your storage space and have more room to put your video recording on. Any suggestions?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2010 8:31:35 AM PDT
MWebb says:
The price spread seems more like $60 or $70. I got mine for fifteen bucks off from the big blue store by asking them to price match that warehouse store. Discounts on the 32 gb aren't as great...yet. Yeah for $60-$70 it is MUCH better to get the 32 gb. You can never have too much memory...only too little money. I got the 8 gb because, as I said, it is at the neat intersection of my cheapness and minimalist curves. Keep in mind even 32 gb, or 64 gb, isn't much if you have a 500 gb home computer full of videos and music. So you are always going to have to make choices about what to keep on the Touch.

I just thought it would be an interesting challenge to see if, in the modern era, an 8gb can actually suffice and YES it does for my needs. Also by having less $$$ invested in it, I am less afraid to carry it around all the time, in a jacket pocket instead of safely (and inaccessibly) stowed in the depths of my day pack.

Why does the 8gb suffice? I only carry my favorite current favorite albums, which don't take up much storage space, even in the much larger "lossless" file format. I only carry a few videos - since they are instructional sports DVD's I need to watch them repeatedly, so a few hours can take weeks to get through. The rest is a book or two plus streams - Pandora or Slacker, YouTube, Netflix.

The Netflix app is right on the App store - just use the search function and type in Netflix, it should pop right up.

The 8gb is perfect if you are on a budget, or want one for your kid. Of course in 6 months the minimum size offered could well be 16 gb at the same price, but such is progress.

So my suggestion is: unless you are as quirky as I am, or on a tight budget, or plan on handing it down to a 6 y.o., get the 32 gb. But you won't be as crippled as you think, if you just get the 8 gb.

Posted on Sep 21, 2010 8:44:21 AM PDT
MWebb says:
Just an additional note. I don't see any performance difference on the 4th generation model vs. the last generation (32gb or up with faster chip). I am sure the faster chip works better if I multi-task (listen to Pandora via the Safari browser, while reading a book) but for my "one app at a time" approach I see no difference. Also the apparent difference in sharpness is negligible since the type is so small (compared to the iPad). (Of course matching resolution to the iPad should now mean that all iPad apps will work pm tje Touch without conversion, which is REALLY important.) If you had a last generation model with less than 32 gb the "double upgrade" in processor speed will probably be more noticeable. If you had a 32 gb and up 3rd gen you probably won't see a striking difference, what you gain in raw speed you lose in background apps (like Facebook updating). The last gen was noted for being quick already, after all....

The GREATEST single improvement is the addition of a built in microphone so you can use Skype in speakerphone mode if you don't have earphones handy. Also you can now use ANY earphones - you aren't stuck searching for a set with a built in microphone.

The next most important upgrade is the built-in video cameras. Don't know how I got along without these before! A video call is MUCH more than a vanity thing. It adds another dimension to old-fashioned phone calling.

If I had to choose between my older 3rd gen 32 gb and my new 8 gb, I'd choose the 8gb just for these improvements.

Don't underestimate the long term importance of the screen compatibility between the Pad and Touch. Right now developers are doing their best work for the Retina display. The new Touch may have smaller type, but it will be able to play the same games etc.

BTW does anyone know how to get a phone number so I can use this for incoming and outgoing text messages too? Maybe via Google Voice? Or Skype?

Posted on Sep 21, 2010 8:56:59 AM PDT
My situation is similar to "A reader's." I canceled my 32gb order and replaced it with the 8gb simply to save 70 bucks. I have all my tunes on an older ipod classic 160gb that is in the car glove box plugged into the car's audio system. I know I can fit a few favorite albums on the 8gb but I may not do even that. Lately, Pandora provides me my music of choice.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 23, 2010 7:57:02 AM PDT
Big D says:
Thanks, will take this into considration. I don't have a huge HDD on the laptop (160gb) and would like to keep video recordings on the touch if possible. Since I have the slower processor on the 8gb, because they didn't put the new A4 in the "poor mans Ipod touch", I am hoping I notice the difference in speed. Thanks for the info, and am leaning towards the 32.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 23, 2010 3:23:57 PM PDT
MWebb says:
The 8gb DOES have exactly the same processor and RAM as the more expensive versions - at least this time around.

I revisited the screen with my contacts out and reading glasses off. It IS much sharper than the old one - not necessarily apparent on videos, but apparent when I load the NYTimes into Safari.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 26, 2010 12:37:30 PM PDT
IITian says:
I was thinking of ordering 8GB but then decided on 32GB because I plan to download a few videos and audiobooks besides music and while 8GB might be enough for it, I just wanted some room for future expansion. My previous iPod Touch was 8GB and it was good for all my audio needs.

Posted on Oct 1, 2010 1:10:50 PM PDT
Just be aware that the 8GB really only has 6.5 GB available for you to use. The rest is the iOS and formatting.

Personally, I can't get by on 6.5 GB of storage for Apps, videos, and my music. It's too bad Apple doesn't let us use SD cards like most other devices.
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MWebb
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Location: Berkeley, CA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 787