Whoa shiny gadget!

Apple’s newest (4th generation) iPod touch gets quite possibly the biggest update in its three-year history with an impressive screen and video recording.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2010 14:55 IST
Nikhil Hemrajani
Nikhil Hemrajani
Hindustan Times

The iPhone 4 isn’t available in the country yet but you can get your hands on something that’s just as good, except that it won’t let you make phone calls. Apple’s newest (4th generation) iPod touch gets quite possibly the biggest update in its three-year history.

Slice of life
You’ll be very pleasantly surprised with this iPod’s visuals. No marketing buzzwords like Retina Display can do justice to the beautiful 960x640-pixel 3.5-inch screen. Just hold a previous generation iPod touch or iPhone side by side and see the difference Photos and videos appear sharper and a lot more vivid. Even text is much simpler to read regardless of whether you’re checking email or surfing the web. Once you’ve gotten used to the superb clarity of the new screen, you simply can’t go back.

There is something as ‘too slim’ and this iPod is a case in point. At 7.4 mm, it’s rather waif-like and slippery so be very careful when you unbox it for the first time. Try and pick up a silicone cover or case at the soonest to keep it away from harm’s reach. Button placement hasn’t changed too much, except for the power button that is now on the top right. Also, the extreme slimness makes accessing the two volume buttons on the left quite a bother — more so if you’re left-handed.

A bit above the screen in the centre is the tiny front-camera for video-chatting via Apple’s new software called FaceTime. To start it, simply click on the green-coloured app on the homescreen. FaceTime lets you have video chats over Wi-Fi with other supported devices such as the iPhone 4 and new iPod touch.

You can also video-chat with any Mac that has an iSight camera and runs Snow Leopard. FaceTime works like a charm and adjusts itself according to your internet connection. In our tests, video always remained smooth and clear, but we recommend a 512 KBps connection for a seamless experience.

Located at the rear is the video camera that can shoot video at 1280x720p at 30 fps with audio, and still images at 960x640. Videos taken in good lighting are very decent, even if you view them on a 40-inch television. However, don’t try shooting at night because you won’t be happy with the results. While there’s no tap-to-focus feature like in the iPhone 4, you can tap anywhere on the screen to adjust the exposure. It’s pretty useful if you’re shooting landscapes and nature.

Unfortunately, photos are plain rubbish even if you’ve shot them in broad daylight. A two-year-old iPhone 3G can take better photos than the iPod touch — Apple really has to get its act together here.

Also on offer
Other additions include a 3-axis gyroscope to make the iPod more aware of its movements. This in tandem with the accelerometer ensures more realistic and better motion-control in games and other apps. Features such as Nike+iPod, Bluetooth 2.1 and the 8 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB memory options remain unchanged.

Thanks to the lightning-fast A4 processor, the startup is really quick — you’ll be at the new homescreen in all its new glory in about 30 seconds. Multi-tasking is also enabled and the iPod can handle tonnes of apps running in the background without breaking a sweat.

What we like
High-res screen
Zippy performance
FaceTime video
HD video recording

What we don’t
Terrible still images
Precariously slim

The new iPod touch is a hit any way you look at it. The screen is a force to be reckoned with, the new processor provides plenty of zest and HD video recording is rightly fun. Finally, FaceTime with its cross-platform compatibility makes the iPod touch the best in its class.

Rating- ****1/2

First Published: Nov 16, 2010 12:37 IST