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Review of the Apple iPod Touch 4th Generation

with 3 comments

I went out and bought a new 4’th Generation 64GB Apple iPod Touch to replace my older 2’nd Generation 8GB iPod Touch.  So what’s the difference?

Some highlights

  1. High Definition video plus still camera (add’s built-in mic and 2 cameras)
  2. FaceTime video/audio conversations (when in a WiFi hotspot)
  3. Voice Command (speech recognition)
  4. Higher resolution screen
  5. Bluetoothconnectivity (was also available in older iPod’s with OS upgrade)

The most notable difference in the Apple iPod Touch 4’th Generation is the addition of the cameras and built-in microphone.  The iPod Touch now has a front and back-facing cameras which provides the capability for recording High Definition video, taking still pictures, and using FaceTime for face-to-face conversations (if you are near a WiFi hotspot).

I have to say that one of the reasons I bought the iPod Touch 4’th generation is to get this capability.  I can also say that I was disappointed with the quality of the video and still pictures.  I think it surprised many people that the iPod Touch was designed with a much lower resolution camera than what was in the iPhone.  It used to be said that the iPod Touch was, “An iPhone without the phone”.  If one now considers the difference in the resolution of the cameras – this is no longer true.

The addition of the built-in microphone now provides the capability for a small set of voice commands.  For example, you can talk to the iPod Touch and ask it to play an artist, playlist, or a song.  No training is needed for the iPod Touch to recognize your voice.  You can ask it what time it is, and it will tell you.  You can ask it what song is playing and it will tell you.  You can also navigate songs in an album or playlist (“next song”, ‘previous song” plus a few more basic voice commands.

Of minor note is that I was able to get Bluetooth to work with my PC (Lenovo ThinkPad).  Both my PC and the iPod have Bluetooth capability.  The iPod and PC discovered each other and the iPod saw the PC as a headset.  So, if you have a decent set of speakers set up on your PC then what this gets you is the capability to play music on the iPod through your PC speaker system wirelessly via Bluetooth.

The Take

I already had an 8GB Apple iPod Touch 2’nd generation.  At the time I bought this iPod the max memory size was 8GB – which I thought was a lot at the time.  But hundreds of audio books later, and lots of music, I can say that 8GB was not enough – even when shuffling media between iTunes and the iPod Touch.  (Side note: my local library lends audio books over the Internet which can be transferred directly to the iPod Touch.  So, “reading” lots of audio books for free is now nearly effortless; an unabridged audio book is about 600MB)

In addition to the 8x storage capacity (8GB vs 64GB) the capability to record video, take still pictures, and do FaceTime were more reasons I bought the 4’th generation iPod Touch.

What is the best camera?  The best camera is the one you have with you.  I have a Nikon Digital SLR and a Sony Cyber-Shot.  The Digital SLR is big and bulky and one would most likely carry it in a case if you were traveling and wanted to take some decent pictures.  The Sony Cyber-Shot I can carry in my shirt pocket – but you have to remember to take it and plan ahead.  The best camera is the one you have with you and for some people a smart device (camera-enabled phone or iPod) is what they have with them much of the time.  For me, that’s the iPod Touch as my very compact on-line link to the Internet and Cloud storage of my personal media.  So, it comes down to having no video and no picture versus getting the video or picture with less than ideal resolution of the iPod Touch.

The Apple iPod Touch is one of those devices where I have gotten the most use and most bang for the buck.  I use it for listening to Internet Radio, reading/sending e-mail, social media, checking weather and business news, listening to music and audio books, and in a pinch using Safari to browse the Internet.  It’s all there in one very small compact globally-connected device. At home it its in a dock with decent speakers; on the road it’s in my pocket.

Now with the 4’th Generation I can record video, take still pictures, and have 8 times the storage capacity of my older 2’nd generation device.

Not only that, but with a Apple Mac computer all this works seamlessly with iPhoto and iMovie (included free with new Mac’s).  It all “just works”

(Side note: When I took some sample video and was learning how to use Apple iMovie I checked the Internet to see if there was some sample movies.  One of the links I found was to a grammar school website.  Using iMovie the 8’th grade class created a video yearbook.  Only a few decades ago, the ability to shoot and edit video was both price and technically beyond the reach of most people.  Now, some kids in grammar school are making movies with equipment provided by the school that costs probably less than $1,000.  Making movies is no longer a technical or price hurdle.  Technology has advanced to the point that those people with creativity can express themselves – and those without talent can do likewise.  (See YouTube for examples of the former and the latter.)  I think more significantly, a bunch of kids making movies in grammar school alongside the high dropout rates we see in some high schools is certainly a clear demonstration of the Digital Divide.)

Apple iPod Touch 4’th Generation and seamless integration with Apple Mac iTunes, iPhoto, and iMovie.  A++.

Resources

Tech Specs for iPod Touch
http://www.apple.com/ipodtouch/specs.html

Public Libraries now lend audio books over the Internet – perfect for iPod’s and MP3 players in general
http://emedialibrary.lib.overdrive.com

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Written by frrl

July 3, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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3 Responses

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  1. My wife and I have the 3rd generation iPod Touch and are very happy with them. The one thing that I have been missing/wanting is having a built in camera. I recently saw the photos taken by a friend’s iPhone and was blown away by how good they were. Almost all reviews have said the iPhone built in 5MP camera is excellent. Like many others I watched Steve Jobs present the new iPod line today and was very excited to hear that it had all the features I was looking for. Retina display – awesome. Front and rear cameras – yes! Finally.

    I was all set to order 2 from Amazon the minute Amazon had them listed. But .. while looking thru the Apple website I came across the specs for the rear facing camera. It is only .7 megapixels. Less than 1 megapixel. What? I thought that can’t be right. I contacted Apple and the rep, who had gotten many such calls it seemed, confirmed that the iPod touch has a very different camera (.7 MP vs the iPhone’s 5 MP) . Bummer. I looked around and found a hands on review of it …. and they said the sensor itself, besides being lower MP, is also not nearly as good as the one in the iPhone. Not terrible but certainly not good and no where in the same league as the one in the iPhone.

    The camera was one of the 2 main things people asked for. The other being the Retina display. My assumption is that Apple didn’t want to affect iPhone sales and purposely dummied down the camera. Shame on them. They want us to pay $240 to $400 for an iPod with a terrible camera.

    I first predicted that w/ the Retina display and the camera that this would be a smashing success, a huge seller coming into the holiday season. I suspect when people get them and see how bad the photos are, they’ll be returning them to Apple. Or like myself, not upgrading.

    I realize this review should be for a product I own, but I felt it was important for people to know about the camera before they ordered it. If photos aren’t a big deal, and you’ll only email them or post them on facebook, then .7 MP is probably fine. If you want to print any of the photos you take, or even have room to crop the photo, you won’t get enough resolution to do that.

    That being said, the Retina display does look awesome, but is it worth the extra dollars over the price of the 3G model? Only you can decide that.

    I hope this helps all of you make a wise decision about your purchase.

    08 Sept 2010 Update
    Hello everyone. First, I am glad that my raising the above issues helped many of you. Second, for those who lashed out at me, perhaps you should take a look at why you get so angry at a stranger who simply encouraged you to look and think before you buy.

    Here’s an update.[…] has posted a hands on review of the new iPod Touch. You may want to google it or go to their site to read it.

    In summary:
    1. Retina display is darker and not nearly as good as the one in the iPhone. “Definitely not an iPhone w/o the contract”.
    2. HD Video is actually pretty good
    3. Size is a lot smaller than the 3g, bad if you have normal or large hands, ok for teens and those w/ small hands.
    4. Photo quality is much worse than the iPhone. And their posted photos show how much worse. Forget trying to print them and I’d argue not even good for the web based on their samples. No focus or zoom capability either, you can only adjust brightness.

    There you go. We are staying w/ our 3g models, there isn’t enough here to justify taking a huge loss selling them and buying these new models. And given that the camera and retina display aren’t nearly the quality of the iPhone, this is certainly a release we’ll sit out.

    I hope this has helped.

    J. Austin

    August 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm

  2. My wife and I have the 3rd generation iPod Touch and are very happy with them. The one thing that I have been missing/wanting is having a built in camera. I recently saw the photos taken by a friend’s iPhone and was blown away by how good they were. Almost all reviews have said the iPhone built in 5MP camera is excellent. Like many others I watched Steve Jobs present the…

    Joe

    August 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm

  3. I got a 64G Touch for my birthday and so far I’m loving every moment I spend with it.

    I had a first generation Touch and I am amazed beyond my mind by how far the Touch has evolved. Some noticeable difference from the 1st with 4th include: 2 volume control button on the side (up and down), taller screen on 4th, power button being on the right (4th), slimmer design (4th), a 4.1 OS (4th), and obviously a camera (4th).

    Let’s start with the camera. Based on reviews I’ve read so far, I felt that people bought the Touch with expectations that it can do the job that a Canon EOS Rebel or a Nikon D40 can do. This is obviously not true because if it did, although I would be amazed even more, the price of the Touch would skyrocket. Also, it’s the first time they’re trying this on an iPod. You have to give them a break. Sure I agree that they could’ve done better than “less than 1 MP” camera but they probably wanted to find ways to make this as cheap as they can, price wise; after all, holidays seasons are coming. The quality of the pictures is something you can live with in my opinion, since you’re more likely than not going to be taking pictures of your friends, yourself, or even stupid or funny things that you may come across. If that’s not what you want, I’d get an actual camera.

    Video Recording is something else, however. The HD is more than I could ask for in this little thing. The quality of the sound you get and the video itself of course, it’s very good. I would go to Youtube and type in iPod Touch camera test or something like that for previews.

    The speaker itself is another interesting quality. The Touch has a built-in speaker that lets you listen if you lost your earphones or you just don’t want to use it for any reason. The quality of the speaker is truly above average. It’s almost as if I don’t even need headphones anymore, although headphones do yield a better quality. But however you want to listen is up to you.

    The multitasking feature works like a charm as well. For those who don’t know how to do it, just press the exit button twice in a row. The multitasking lets me go from one app to the other with no additional loading time and whatnot. It’s not entirely necessary to me, but it’s a true convenience!

    I would review more on this but I don’t want to make you guys fall asleep reading. But I WILL say that there’s always room for improvements here and there. But for now, this is truly a device that does magic.

    Brian H. Kim

    August 7, 2011 at 3:45 am


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