Hardware & Design: A New Look
When it comes to design, there's no mistaking that this is an Apple product. The slim form and 88-gramme weight make it easy to hold. The finishing is all top-notch, with an anodised aluminium body that comes in a variety of colours (sorry, no chrome-plated aluminium).
Protected by a layer of glass, the screen is taller than the last model, which is good for viewing but doesn't particularly help the handling, as it can be tough to reach your thumb all the way to the top of the display.
The physical buttons are in the same, highly practical locations as before (same as the iPhone). The Lightning port is just below the screen, which avoids having your headphone cable dangle in front of the display.
One of the new features on this year's iPod Touch is the wrist strap, or 'loop', which you can attach to the notch on the bottom-left of the back side (shown below). It's a handy idea, but we have doubts about how well it will hold over time. The loop comes included, and you can buy extra loops in a range of colours.
This is an Apple product, and naturally it's non-expandable memory. So when it comes to storage space, what you buy is what you get. There's a choice of two storage capacities: 32 GB and 64 GB.
Sound & Video Quality: In True iPhone 5 Fashion
The headphone output is identical to the iPhone 5's, which is loud and precise and has better dynamics than any of its competitors, bar none. There isn't the slightest saturation or distortion to speak of.
The iPod Touch unfortunately comes with Apple's new in-ear headphones, the EarPods, which are far from fantastic. They're more of a backup pair than anything—to really make the most of the iPod's Touch's full potential, you'll want to get a better quality headphone to go with it.
There's also a small, built-in speaker that delivers extremely low-quality, low-volume sound that gets muffled out the second there's any ambient noise. The microphone works much better, however, allowing you to use Siri without any trouble.
If you want new music, we recommend installing Deezer or Spotify for streaming, because when it comes to iTunes, nothing's changed, whether it's managing music or reading formats.
We have the same beef as always with the whole file format question on Apple's mobile devices. The iPod Touch doesn't recognise the audio formats WMA, FLAC (it reads AAC, a less effective equivalent of FLAC), OGG or APE, and supporting just MOV (H.264) and MPEG-4 doesn't leave a whole lot of leeway in terms of video formats. So you'd better get used to converting files yourself.
Multimedia: Finally, A Display & Camera Sensor Worthy of the Name
The iPod Touch has a 4-inch Retina display that's taller than the last model, but with the exact same width. Based on our measurements the display is just excellent as the iPhone 5's with nearly 1,000:1 contrast and similar brightness (470 cd/m²), although it takes a bit longer to ghost.
The colours are super-accurate (some of the best on the market), with a Delta E of 2.6.
The resolution is the same as the iPhone 5 (1136 x 640 pixels), which leaves no visible pixels and gives it excellent legibility in all circumstances.
Like the iPhone 5, this year there's nothing revolutionary about the operating system; it's more or less the same (great) interface the company's been using for the past five years.
As for connectivity, the iPod Touch has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Nike+. This allows you to go online, download apps at the App Store, use Siri and FaceTime, read e-mails and send iMessages for free (with other iOS products).
The processor is the same dual-core A5 as found in the iPhone 4S, which means it's lower in performance than the iPhone 5's 1 GHz A6 processor, but it will still run basically any app with bravado.
The camera sensor is similar to the one on the iPhone 4. It focuses well when the flash is off, but struggles when it's on, and the photos have a little noise and appear a bit blurry around the edges. But all in all it's a more-than-adequate camera function, much better than the Sony Xperia T, for example.
The video mode is just as good, with 720p resolution and 30 fps. The only drawback is the image stabiliser, which isn't the best; it's fairly common to see the video shake while filming with the iPod Touch in your hand.