Last week, Apple launched the new Apple iPods family loaded with slew of different and interesting features. Among these iPod line-up, the iPod Touch 4th Generation did not bring much cosmetic change but upped the hardware specs that is almost in par with the iPhone 4 specs. Here is our take on the latest PMP that looks more like an iPhone without a phone.
There are three outstanding features that set apart the new iPod Touch from the previous generations.
First is the screen which has the same resolution ( 960 x 640 pixels) aka retina display as the one on the iPhone. Though, Apple did not reveal whether the panel on both the devices ( iPod Touch 6G and iPhone 4) are the same or not, it is abig leap from the older iPod generation. Comparing to the iPhone 4 display, you see no pixels when looking at text on the iPod Touch 4G screen - images are very clean and you can make the display very bright. However, the iPhone 4's display offers better off-angle viewing. When you tilt the iPod touch to approximately a 45 degree angle, it's more difficult to view than an iPhone's display at the same angle.
The next big addition is the inclusion of the camera at the front and at the back. Even though we were quite excited about the HD video ( 1280 x 720p) recording feature offered by the rear-facing camera, the still image recording is limited to only 960 x720 pixels which is way disappointing and further there is no flash. The camera also used a fixed focus lens just like the one on iPhone original and 3G. The front camera also is a VGA ( 640 x 480) camera with a fixed-focus lens.
When you compare the HD video of the same scene shot with that of the iPhone 4 , differences are apparent. To begin with, the iPod touch’s videos appear to be zoomed out slightly as compared to videos taken with the iPhone 4. Shoot both cameras side by side and the iPod touch captures more of what’s in front of it. Also, the iPod’s rear-facing camera is more likely to produce washed-out results in bright conditions than the iPhone 4’s camera. Still, while its results aren’t as good as those produced by the iPhone 4 or one of the better HD pocket camcorders, the iPod touch takes reasonable-looking videos under well-lit conditions. In under-lit conditions you more clearly see the difference between the two devices’ cameras. The iPod touch’s video is grainier and shows less detail.
Given the lower resolution and lack of a flash, it shouldn’t be surprising that the 4G iPod touch’s still pictures don’t measure up to the iPhone 4’s. The images it produces are far less detailed and the camera’s more susceptible to being blown out when capturing bright images—vibrant yellows, pinks, and reds, for example. Inside, in under-lit conditions, the iPod touch’s camera pushes very hard to get the image, but in the process can produce grainy and washed out results. Unless you’re shooting under ideal conditions or you don’t have a better camera at hand, this is not the camera you want to use to create prints.
New Processor but no GPS
Inside, the 4G iPod touch has Apple’s A4 processor—the same kind of chip found in the iPhone 4 and iPad. While comparing the performance of a new 32GB iPod touch with that of a 32GB third-generation model and, quite honestly, there was very little performance difference. The 4G iPod touch booted two seconds more quickly (26 seconds versus 28 seconds), but apps launched equally as fast on the two iPods and the two performed nearly identically in a variety of applications. The 4G iPod touch was, however, noticeably more responsive than my first- and second-generation iPod touches.
As with previous iPod touches this one has no GPS hardware—it uses Wi-Fi location data only to determine its coordinates. (And yes, by default, that location information is embedded in pictures snapped with the iPod touch’s cameras.) Like the iPhone 4, however, it does have a gyroscope. That gyroscope makes for a richer gaming experience with apps that take advantage of the gyroscope’s ability to sense roll, yaw, and pitch.
And thanks to iOS 4.1, the 4G iPod touch provides better support for AVRCP (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile)—a Bluetooth profile that lets you control playback functions with A2DP devices such as headphones and speakers. In practical terms this means that the iPod touch and iPhone 4 will now respond not only to play/pause and volume commands from A2DP devices, but also next and previous track commands. I tested this with a Plantronics P590 stereo headset and the iPod touch responded to each of these commands. (iOS 4.1 also brings better AVRCP support to the iPhone 4.)
Overall, there are many improved features on this new iPod Touch over the previous generation models. Wait for our verdict though, as we are expecting this power-packed PMP to hit our lab soon.