2010 iPod touch Review


by Steve Hildreth

The 2010 iPod touch introduces a number of new features for Apple's popular media player. In addition to a slight slimming of the case, the new iPod touch features Apple's retina display, front and rear facing cameras with FaceTime, a new 3-axis gyroscope, and Apple's A4 chip. With the introduction of iOS 4.2, the new touch includes Apple's Game Center app, which allows you to play games online with your friends, further enhancing the iPod touch as a solid portable gaming platform.

The retina display is the most striking new feature of the iPod touch. With 960x640 resolution at 326 pixels per inch, images on the sreen are smooth and bright. No pixelation is evident. The display is large enough to make most tasks easy to the eye, with the exception of web browsing. Although mitigated by zooming in, web pages look pretty small to this editor, especially after spending time with the iPad, but the touch still offers the best browsing experience of any handheld media device.

Video recording is HD capable (720p), while the rear-mounted camera can take still photos at 960x720 resolution. Videos are surprisingly good, with good image and sound quality. View a short, 30 second, clip from the 2010 iPod touch:

Still photos don't fare as well. With only limited resolution and no flash, the pictures I took on a cloudy, dreary day look like something from a mid-1990s budget digital camera. Images were not very sharp, nor did colors seem very balanced (not that there was much color to start with on this drab day):

(click for full size image)

To compare the quality of the photos from the touch with a digital camera, I took a semi-closeup picture using the touch and then using an older 3.34MP Nikon CoolPix 990. The cameras were about 18 inches away from the nano box at the time of each picture:

(click for full size image)

As you can see, the CoolPix handily trounced the touch. Moral of the story is do not expect the iPod touch to replace your digital camera, or even the camera on the iPhone 4.

However, with the exception of the still camera, the 2010 iPod touch piles excellence on top of excellence, making an exceptional media player even more desireable. Apple offers the base 8GB iPod touch for $229, the 32GB model for $299, and the 64GB touch for $399. Which one should you get? Media takes up space, so if you intend to load thouands of pictures or lots of video, then go with the 32GB or 64GB models. The same is true for apps - some will take up lots of space, so if you intend of downloading and using hundreds of apps, then you'll want lots of space.

We give the 2010 iPod touch 4.5 out of 5 stars. Beef up the still camera, Apple, and it would be a 5 star device.

View a short video walk-through of the iPod touch:

Click for full-size image: