Combining the touch-screen interface coolness factor of the iPhone with the simplicity and convenience of the iPod Shuffle, the Apple iPod Touch gives you a dynamic combination in a mobile device -- a music player that can surf the Internet using a standard WiFi connection.
The 8GB Apple iPod Touch retails for $299 and ships with standard Apple ear buds and USB power and data transfer cable. As with all Apple music players, you'll need to set up an iTunes account to transfer music to the Touch. The Touch continues the iPod tradition by reproducing excellent sound quality in a small device with a dynamic range that ignores its slight stature.
However, the standout feature of the Touch is the video and touch-screen interface. The LCD in the Touch is larger than the iPod Video Nano and maintains a standard widescreen ratio making it great for viewing movies. The screen resolution is large enough that you can comfortably view a full length movie and not be distracted by the size of the device.
Using the built-in WiFi, the Touch also makes a great on-the-go Web browser. The Safari Web browser is optimized for the Touch and mobile viewing of standard Web pages. The Safari software gives the user special controls over the Web page display, including the ability to pan and resize on the fly. This is where Apple's design engineers really shine -- other mobile devices strip out graphics and simplify a Web page, while Safari allows the Touch to embrace a Web page as is and present it to the user in a readable format.
That is not to say Web surfing on the iPod Touch is perfect. There are many places on the Internet where the Safari Web browser is just not adequate. And I am still suspicious of the Touch when it comes to its usefulness for paying bills online or other serious Web interactions.
Beyond the touch-screen interface and Web browsing, the Apple music manage software does an adequate job of keeping your music library organized and accessible. The Touch is organized by album, which means that extended listening will require you to create playlists.
The battery life varies depending on what you are doing. Watching a full-length movie for example, will come close to completely draining the battery on the Touch. However, you can get six to eight hours of battery life if you reserve your activity to playing music.
Bottom lineThe Apple iPod Touch continues to up the ante on personal music players. With a bright, crisp video screen and high-quality audio reproduction, the Touch is a top-of-the-line device. Aside from a few Web-site rendering quirks, the 8GB Apple iPod Touch is an excellent personal music player and Web surfing device. Geek Gift Score (out of 5)
- Fun Factor: 4
- Geek Factor: 5
- Value: 3
- Overall: 4