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Apple iPod touch
- Touch screen operates very well, large screen, wireless connectivity, host of features
- Expensive, not much storage for video files, screen attracts fingerprints
While it may cost a pretty penny, the iPod touch is a brilliant portable media player. The touch screen operates fluidly, and wireless connectivity adds a whole new level of options and features.
Price$ 549.00 (AUD)
We always said it was going to happen and it has been a long time coming, but finally Apple's new touch screen media player, the iPod touch, has arrived and it's arrived in style. Coming in a razor thin body it packs in wireless connectivity and a host of special features such as wireless Internet connectivity, in addition to the more traditional modes for video and audio playback. The price tag may be a deterrent for some purchasers, but anyone willing to spend a little extra will find this is a great device.
Touch screen interfaces have always been a popular concept, simply due to their intuitive nature. There is something so simple (and slightly futuristic) about simply tapping items on a display and having them open before your eyes. Apple's implementation here is quite impressive and despite the relatively small icons being at odds with our relatively large fingers, navigation was a seamless process. Nearly everything is done via the touch screen, with just a single menu button adorning the iPod's face. The display is a bit of a fingerprint magnet, but this will be no surprise for Apple users.
Of course, the touch sensitive interface is also a boon for the display, leaving tons more real estate that was previously occupied by the scroll wheel. The result? A 3.5in LCD that takes up the vast majority of the iPod's face. A screen this size is much more suited to video playback than the display on other iPod models and we found ourselves perfectly content watching films and TV episodes on it. The quality isn't exceptional; there were a few contrast issues and the blacks left something to be desired, but you can't expect miracles from a device such as this and it does the job adequately. Video up to 640x480 is supported at 30 frames per second.
Audio quality was similar; it has a good sound to it, but it doesn't stand out from other media players. Audiophiles may wish to pursue other options as the iPod doesn't quite offer the same rich, detailed sound as some other units.
Aside from the touch screen, the other really nifty thing about the iPod touch is its wireless capabilities. It can connect to any Wi-Fi network and from there hook in to both YouTube and iTunes, as well as browse the Web on the built-in Safari browser. The YouTube application allows you to search for, play back and bookmark your favourite videos, while iTunes lets you sample and download tracks directly on to your player (and they are subsequently synchronised with your iTunes library when you next connect to a PC).
Another cool addition that was also present on the recently released iPod classic is the new jukebox display. Tiling all the albums on the unit across the screen as you'd see them in a jukebox (using the album art if available), you can navigate through them simply by sliding your finger across the screen. If you'd prefer to navigate the old fashioned way, of course that is also present. The menu has undergone a slight makeover, but nothing veteran MP3 player users will be fazed by.
All the usual formats are supported, including AAC, MP3, Audible, WAV, AIFF and Apple Lossless for music, and H.264/MP4 files for video. Of course, you'll need to use iTunes to upload it all. This is one area Apple falls down compared to the competition, but sadly we don't see it changing anytime soon.
Battery life is quite impressive; we got over five hours of video playback on a single charge.
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Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
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