Apple iPod Touch review

Price when reviewed

The similarities between the iPhone and the touch are striking. Both have 3.5in 480 x 320 touchscreens. Both run a touchscreen version of OS X, offering apps such as the Safari web browser and a YouTube video viewer. Both units use flash memory for storage, with the touch available with either 8GB or 16GB.

Apple iPod Touch review

The OS is stunning. You’ll never wish for a stylus, and there’s enough power within the iPod’s slim 8mm frame to keep apps springing into life virtually instantly. It’s beautifully animated – everything spins, fades or slides into view, which not only lets you know precisely how you got to the window you’re at, but also gives a tiny shiver of excitement at the completion of little tasks: not something often said about opening a browser window.

Apple’s Midas touch extends to touchscreen keyboards, with the touch boasting the finest example we’ve yet seen. Touch a key and the letter you’ve pressed pops up, allowing you to drag your finger left or right if you’ve made a mistake. There’s also some clever technology behind it: type “hell” for instance, and the iPod will assume you’re going for “hello” and increases the area around the “o” key, so even if you do make a small mistake you’ll probably end up with the correct result.

Lest anyone forget, the touch plays music, too. Like the classic and nano, it includes iTunes’ Cover Flow, a handy way of browsing albums by cover. And, uniquely, the touch automatically grabs your iTunes account details from your host PC, allowing you to buy songs over a Wi-Fi network when you’re out on the road. In its present version, the service is frustrating: although iTunes allows you to buy videos with its desktop client, you can’t access this through the touch. It’s also annoying that free podcasts are blocked.

To update calendar and contact details, you’ll need to sync your Outlook calendar with the touch via iTunes. It worked seamlessly, but it’s annoying that you can’t add a new appointment directly on the touch. Apple’s also admitted display problems with a “small” number of touches, and our unit was one of them. Dark areas of the screen fade to total black far too quickly; if you’re looking at a photo that isn’t all vibrant colour, darker details are lost. If you suspect problems with your touch, return it to Apple.

The touch doesn’t offer the simplest music-playing experience, so if you want something purely for songs the iPod classic is considerably cheaper and offers much more storage. But when it comes to handheld internet, the touch pulls the rug from under every other device we’ve seen.

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