4th Gen. iPod Touch: The Good, Bad & Ugly (But Mostly Good)

4th Gen. iPod touch
image credit: Apple Inc.

The 4th Generation iPod touch includes many of the features introduced on the iPhone 4, and this version of the touch invites comparison with the iPhone. In some ways, it's not a flattering comparison—the iPhone's cameras are better, for instance—but the choice for most people probably isn’t between the iPod Touch and the iPhone; it's between the iPod touch and another media player or mobile game device.

Viewed that way, the 4th generation iPod touch is, like its predecessors, a winner.

The Good

  • High-quality Retina Display screen
  • Two cameras and FaceTime support
  • Roomy storage up to 64GB
  • Thinner and lighter than the previous model

The Bad

  • Cameras are low-quality compared to iPhone 4
  • 8 GB model costs more than 16 GB iPhone 4
  • Poor-quality headphones

Improved Visuals

The most apparent and extensive changes to the iPod touch are its exterior compared to previous generations.

The device sports Apple's high-resolution Retina Display screen, which makes text and images extremely crisp. You won’t see any pixels or rough curves/corners. There’s no other device in the touch's category that offers text this appealing and easy to read.

The touch has one camera on the back and another facing the user. Though this is the same set up as the iPhone, these are not the same cameras. The iPhone 4's best camera takes 5-megapixel pictures, while the touch's camera under 1 megapixel.

The lower-quality cameras are the result of the touch's tiny enclosure (a svelte 0.28 inches thick). To take higher-quality images, the device would have to be thicker to accommodate a bigger camera sensor.

The touch's cameras lack zoom and flash, but both can record video. The back camera records 720p HD video at 30 frames/second.

It's nice to be able to snap photos with the touch, but it probably won't make you throw away your digital camera.

With the two cameras, iPod touch owners can use Apple's FaceTime video conferencing technology. 

A Win and Some Losses

The 4th generation touch packs features and power other contemporary portable media players don't offer.​

As far as storage capacity, the iPod touch offers up to 64 GB of storage for storing music, movies, and apps.

When it comes to some details, the 4th generation iPod touch is a bit lacking. The touch doesn't include the AC adapter that does come with the iPhone (you'll have to pay extra for that), and its earphones are inferior and do not include an inline remote control. 

The Bottom Line

Though there have been other MP3 players or portable game devices, the iPod touch offers top-of-the-line design and construction, strong media features, top-notch internet experience, and vast library of apps. Compared with previous iPod generations, and against other competing media devices of its time in the non-smartphone category, the iPod touch 4th generation is the pack leader.  

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