Apple iPod touch (Gen 4) First-Look Review

by Reads (65,512)

PERFORMANCE

The new Apple iPod touch is blazingly fast — everything just works, and works quickly, as soon as you launch an app. This is a noticeable improvement over the earliest models in this series, which can be very slow, depending on the app.

This is also my first experience with the latest version of Apple operating system, and it’s nice that iOS 4.1 is preloaded on the device so that there is no need to download and install it myself. As you can imagine for a hardware and software reviewer, I have a lot of apps. Folders are a great addition, and have really helped me organize the home screen of my device. Multitasking works well too, allowing me to jump from app to app with just a couple of taps.

Apple iPod touchWireless
Wi-Fi wireless networking works great, with excellent signal strength and none of the annoying “incorrect password” issues that show up almost daily on my previous iPod touch. My old touch often gives me errors when using it with my home network, requiring me to type in the password almost every day. Nothing like that occurs with the new model, and I’m quite pleased with its performance.

When it comes to Bluetooth, things went just as well. I had no trouble pairing it with my Apple Wireless Keyboard. It’s ironic, considering that I used a Landware GoType and then a Stowaway Bluetooth folding keyboard with many of my Palm OS Handheld over the years, but being able to use a wireless keyboard with the iPod touch turns it into a real (pocketable) productivity tool.

Productivity and Entertainment
Whether it’s getting things done or having some fun, it’s all about the apps. The new iPod touch comes with Calendar, Contacts, and Notes built in, and you can sync with Outlook, an Exchange Server, or Google’s online services if you like.

You’ll also find Calculator, Clock, and Voice Memo apps, along with Weather and Maps. Photos, Videos, Camera, YouTube, and FaceTime round out the applications included with the device. And if you want to add more music, video, and apps, of course you’ll find the iTunes Store and the App Store.

There are no games preloaded on the iPod touch, but there are plenty to download from the App Store, both free and paid.

Apple iPod touchThe new Game Center makes gaming a much more social experience, with the ability to add friends, earn achievements, and play online with others. This will be tested extensively for the full review.

Camera
I’ve only had the new iPod touch for a couple of days now, and since I’m on the road I haven’t been able to try it out fully as of yet. I have taken a couple of rather hasty shots in my hotel room. Viewed on the screen of the iPod touch, they look OK — good enough to capture something quickly that you might otherwise have missed, but certainly not good enough to replace a standalone digital camera.

I will be testing the camera and its video capture abilities much more extensively in the final review.

Battery Life
It’s too soon for me for me to render a judgment on this model, but I’ve never had any problems with battery life on Apple products, and I believe the same will likely be true with the new iPod touch.

However, I have some slight concerns, because the battery almost completely drained overnight the first day I had it. I have been using it quite a bit since then (the last three days) and the battery meter has barely budged — I haven’t even unpacked my charger yet.

At this point I suspect that was a fluke or an aberration; when I first connected the new touch to my laptop late Friday afternoon, iTunes reported that it was almost fully charged. I of course spent the next little while adding apps and a substantial portion of my music library to the device, and unplugged it shortly thereafter. When I woke up Saturday morning, the battery was almost dead, but I haven’t had to charge it since.



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