Apple iPod Touch review

With upgrades to its power and display quality, the iPod Touch is still the most versatile media player around

30 Oct 2012
Our Rating 
5/5
Price when reviewed 
249
inc VAT

Page 1 of 3Apple iPod Touch review

Apple's iPod Touch media player has reached its 5th incarnation, with more power and a wider range of features than ever before. One of the first things we noticed was the Touch's new, slimmer design. It looks great and makes for an easier fit into jeans pockets.

There's also the new proprietary Lightning connector, which is smaller and less fiddly to use than the previous version - as you can you plug in the connector either way around. It does mean you'll need an adaptor to use old 30-pin iPod docks - and these currently cost an eye-watering £25 from Apple.

iPod Touch

Connecting the Touch to a wireless network is optional; you can still just connect it to a PC without requiring an internet connection, but if you don’t connect to Wi-Fi during initial setup, you'll have to wait until later to set up some of its internet-dependent features, such as its connection to Apple's iCloud and the Find my iPod Touch service, which can help you locate a misplaced iPod on a map or have it play a sound to help you work out which pocket you left it in. The service also includes anti-theft features such as screen locking, remote wiping and the ability to display a message for anyone who might find your missing device.

We've already taken a close look at iOS 6 and all its features. As the iPod Touch doesn't have built-in GPS capabilities, the poor quality of Apple's new Maps won't have as big an impact on its users as it has on iPhone users. The Touch's Apple A5 processor provides plenty of power to run all the apps that have made the iPod Touch as much a tool for gaming and productivity as it is for music and video.

Apple has finally changed the atrocious earbuds that came with previous editions of its products for a new design that looks like a cross between a bud and ear-canal style earphone. Nothing is actually inserted into your ear canal, but the sound is instead focussed in that direction by a speaker in a moulded plastic housing.

Audio quality isn't too bad by the standards of free bundled headphones, although their heavy bass emphasis makes for a muddy and muffle listening experience at lower volumes. At around two-thirds volume, our music sounded pretty good, we couldn't hear the sound of our office and the earphones didn't leak, although we still found the bass a little uncomfortable. Approaching full volume, the tinny sound from our earphones began to irritate our colleagues and the bass because almost unbearable.

Apple iPod Touch

Although they’re an improvement on the last version, but we still strongly encourage you to replace the iPod headphones with a decent pair as soon as possible. Our current reasonably-priced recommendation are the Soundmagic E10 earbuds. Their flat, balanced sound is a great test of the raw quality of any device's audio hardware. Apple's choice of audio processor has come a long way since the bass distortion issues suffered by earlier models of iPod. The Touch uses the same Cirrus Logic audio hardware as the latest iPhone.

It's really hard to find a digital audio device that doesn't sound good these days and the iPod certainly doesn't suffer from any problems in terms of quality. It's a little bassier than the sound produced by our reference USB audio devices and by Cowon's media players, which use Wolfson DACs, but the audio quality is nonetheless excellent and the slight bassiness is more likely to win the Touch fans than lose them.

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