Customer Review

94 of 104 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A joy to use, September 14, 2010
This review is from: Apple iPod touch 32GB Black MC544L/A (4th Generation) (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I wanted an iPhone 4 as soon as it came out; I already had a 2G iPod Touch and loved it. But I can't commit to the contract right now and the full price (outside of contract) version is really beyond my budget. So I made a conscious decision to wait for the iPod Touch, aware that it would probably be a compromise. I pre-ordered it from Apple before it came out in stores. I was expecting to be less happy about some aspects (such as the camera), but knew I'd get used to those, and would probably love the improvements compared to the 2G iPod Touch. I wasn't disappointed. After only a couple of days use I definitely like it a lot.

The screen is glorious. It's so much easier on the eye than the old display. Yes it's not IPS (although this not obvious outside of steep viewing angles). It seems darker than the old display; this is probably because of the higher pixel density. It also has more of a blue tint (a cooler color temperature) but I've heard this is also true of the iPhone. But I got used to these things and it's a joy to look at every time. In spite of the better battery, I think the display sucks more juice, since you have to have it at a brighter setting than before to get the same perceived brightness.

General performance is very smooth. It's definitely faster than previous versions. Things still crash occasionally but that's true of any computer. The bugs from my 2G Touch that appeared after I upgraded to iOS 4.1, that caused Pandora and other audio apps to be unusable, are thankfully gone, as far as I can tell (I since seem to have resolved this issue on the 2G Touch by restoring to factory settings and upgrading to iOS 4.2). Heavy content (such as pdfs and large web pages) can slow it down but this is also true of the iPad.

You have to be careful to get good battery life. The battery has been upgraded so you supposedly get 40 hours of audio rather than 30 h. But if you're new to multitasking, you have to realise that you're going to pay for it in battery life unless you're careful. For example, you can have Skype running in the background and it will receive calls and messages, even if the iPod is locked in your pocket, which is great. However, this makes use of the 'Voice over IP' iOS service, which Skype is constantly running in the background. I think Pandora might do something similar (albeit with a different service). So your battery will drain noticeably (I saw 5-10% drain per hour using iStat with Skype and Pandora backgrounded and the iPod locked). Most apps you see in the multitasking bar do not use these services; Apple calls them 'recently used' apps for a reason; they mostly aren't running.

The volume and power buttons take a bit of getting used to but I ended up preferring them. They feel more solid and have a more definite click to them.

Seriously, for what it is, the back camera is not that bad in spite of the 0.7 MP resolution. In bright daylight it's surprisingly good. It just gets more grainy at night. But they're still quite possible; in a fancier camera you might have to manually increase the exposure time. Don't knock it just because of the pixel count, it's a pretty good camera; my 2 MP camera phone is not that much better. And for taking pics as a record of a fun moment that you can then upload directly to Facebook, I love it, and I use it a lot. That functionality is a big step up from the old iPod Touch, so I'm OK with the low resolution; it's a lot better than no camera at all. And I've managed to get it to read barcodes with apps like the AT&T code scanner. Also, Apple's HDR is not available but I think there are 3rd party apps that will do that.

The speaker is nicer than the old iPod Touch but it could definitely be louder. I tried using it like a phone (with Skype) and it's not really practical; you really need headphones unless there's minimal background noise. But if you're on your own in a room, it's actually fine. Listening to the radio (with ooTunes), it could easily get to a similar level to my clock radio so it was fine.

So, as a pocket computer the 4G Touch rocks. With the retina display and cameras, this feels like a mature product. You might like to wait for possible improvements (such as the camera) in the next version, but as it stands it's still a joy to use. And given you'd have to pay at least another $400 to get the extra features on the iPhone, I think it's a pretty good deal.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 14, 2010 8:04:43 PM PDT
D. Stewart says:
yay! a good write up without negative nancy haters bashing on it! I can't wait to get mine! Good point about the battery life and higher resolution pixel density being a wash. Never thought of it that way but that does make sense. I just wish that all apps supported the retina display. Eventually I think they will but even on the iPhone 4 I noticed right away from the app icons which were retina supported and which ones weren't. Clarity is amazing on the text reading that I honestly didn't think resolution got much better than the previous generations. It's like DVD next to blu ray. dvd is clear but when you pair it next to blu ray it's just incredible. Wondering if the 5th gen iPod Touch will have flash along with a better camera? Probably.

Posted on Sep 14, 2010 11:21:27 PM PDT
Alexandre says:
hey, matthew! seems like you know what you're talking about. when i read your review, i thought to myself - it could've been one of my own! nice, practical and informative. good job! i have a question though. how have you personally dealt with ipod 2g battery life decrease right after the upgrades to ios4.0 & further, up to ios4.1? it's really killing me, to watch my first ipod touch 2g/8gb dying and running out of juice 'cause of those power-sucking updates in a day or two? well yeah, i've disabled all push notifications & local services - didn't help much, still it's not even close to what i've had before, battery life-wise. talking on skype literally drains off my battery down from 100% to 25% easily in 45 min. wth? any advice or suggestion? "that caused pandora and other audio apps to be unusable" as you say, i'm just saying, that's not exactly accurate. pandora app works just fine, even after those upgrades within slightly interface changed. am i wrong? one more thing, since we're both on skype using itouch, my absolutely free recommendations would be: use a Headset Buddy: 2.5mm Phone Headset to 3.5mm Adapter - Convert 2.5mm Headset to 3.5mm iPhone, Blackberry, Palm + Sennheiser PC121 In-Ear Mono-Aural Headset. believe you me, this is the best combination to use it with skype out there, by far!!! check it out!!! very useful!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2010 9:03:17 AM PDT
Thanks for the comments. I didn't notice an effect on battery life upgrading my 2G 16 Gb Touch. With the 'audio apps' bug, I really meant anything that works like Pandora, including Slacker radio and Last.fm. All of them had similar criticisms in the App store, and they all do similar things. I didn't have the same problem with Skype and with ooTunes, which have different functions (ooTunes streams internet radio channels like streams from the BBC, whereas Pandora music is chosen specifically by the listener). The problem only seems to be with older Touch generations that have been upgraded to more than iOS 3.2 (although it might not be a problem for everyone). I think you could solve this by reinstalling an earlier iOS but I've not tried that.

Agreed about the headset. I'd been using a nice little pass-through microphone from Buy.com. I was hoping to not need it any more. And actually trying it at home without background noise, the speaker works fine. The headset is still handy since it allows you to drop the Touch in your pocket during a call.

Your battery might not be too healthy; they all die after a while, of course. But, while the battery is great for general use, some apps drain it really quickly. I know that if I'm playing games like Need for Speed Underground for more than an hour, I'm gonna have to plug it in to the charger to keep going, and I'm used to that. Surprisingly, Skype is also very resource hungry. Even with my old Macbook Pro, the processors and fans are going flat out during a call (particularly with video), within a minute of starting it. I think all the on-the-fly audio and video encoding takes up a lot of processor power.

Are you sure yours is a 2G Touch? The later updates added multitasking, but only to the 3G Touch. I've been multitasking with Skype in the background on my 4G and as soon I started doing that, the battery was noticebly draining, even while it was on standby. It means you can receive Skype messages and calls any time, which is great, but apparently you pay for that in battery life.

If you're sure that the battery life really has suffered in general because of upgrading the iOS, you can always try reinstalling an earlier iOS. I think you can do this by restoring factory settings (backing everything up first, of course). Good luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2010 9:38:44 AM PDT
Alexandre says:
matthew, thanx! i've tried to downgrade it back to ios3.1 - didn't work out! well, i guess i have to live with it. i really hope that new itouch 4g will have better battery life (i haven't gotten mine yet)
p.s. Apple iPod touch 8 GB (2nd Generation--with iPhone OS 3.1 Software Installed) [OLD MODEL] - that's what i have now. i got it in october '09 (less than a year ago)

Posted on Apr 12, 2011 5:46:31 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2011 5:47:12 AM PDT
M. Khan says:
No offence man but sounds like your related to Apple. A review so professionally written it does not have the originality in it of an ordinary person. No matter how good ipod touch becomes. The lack of internet availability whenever needed loses my interest in it. There are a lots of apps that need internet to function. And just relying on WiFi is not a choice I wish to accept. Wish Apple had at least put support for sim based 3G connections.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 12, 2011 7:57:23 AM PDT
Thanks for your comments. Firstly, I have no affiliation to Apple. I do like Apple products in general so at worst I'm a fanboy, but I try to be reasonably unbiased. There's a lot of knocking the iPod Touch for the lo-res camera and I feel like that criticism is unreasonable; it's not intended to be a replacement for a standalone camera, it's meant to give you useful functionality and it doesn't need to be high-resolution to do that. And since I wrote that review, you can now use it for Skype video calling (my family is in another country so I use that a lot), and Google Goggles will scan text from paper copies and things (I recently used this to get the address off a Fedex tag to pick up a package; the app automatically recognised it was an address and offered to map it for me; exactly what I wanted).
I agree that it's very dependent on the internet. I work on a university campus and there's good wi-fi coverage there and I have wi-fi at home. So for me, I'm rarely outside of wi-fi access. I'm in the US temporarily so I couldn't get an iPhone because you're forced into a contract here and I won't be around for long enough to justify it. So the iPod Touch is the best choice for my situation; I'm used to dealing with downloading stuff through wi-fi when I know I'm not going to have access later. A lot of the apps cater to that, but I've also found the 'Print Screen' function (press and hold the home key and press the power key at the same time and it saves an image of the current screen in Photos) very useful for that. I used it to make sure I didn't lose my electronic boarding card for a United flight (they scan my iPod screen at security and at the gate).
But it is a bit more hassle than being connected all the time like the iPhone. If you don't like that, fair enough. There's something called an Apple Peel 520 which connects to the back of an iPod and has a SIM card slot and a battery; allowing you to turn it into a phone. So there are ways round it, but that's not as elegant of course.

In reply to an earlier post on May 1, 2012 10:22:16 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 1, 2012 10:34:51 AM PDT]
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