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iPod touch Review (5th Generation 2012)

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iPod touch
  • iPod touch
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Product by: Apple
  • Version: 5th Generation/ 2012 model
  • Price: $299
  • Reviewed by:
  • On 11/19/2012
  • Last modified:11/19/2012

Review Summary:

The iPod touch is an excellent gaming and multimedia device. It is essentially an iPhone 5 without the phone, with plenty to offer for those who don't have a smartphone.

The new iPod touch is the best iPod Apple’s ever built, emulating the iPhone 5 in several areas. Its $299 starting price will be a turn off for some users, but it’s still the cheapest way to get the full iOS 6 experience in your pocket.

The new iPod touch (5th generation, 2012) is miles ahead of last year’s model, which was a minor update to the 2010 iPod touch. The new iPod touch features the same Retina display as the iPhone 5, a faster processor and a slimmer design. The hardware combined with the wide selection of games, apps and media from iTunes and the App Store make the iPod touch the best pocketable media player on the market, earning it a Gotta Be Mobile Editors’ Choice Award.

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The 32 GB ($299) and 64GB ($399) iPod touch models are priced the same as the iPhone 5 models with the same capacity. However, iPod touch buyers don’t have to sign up for an expensive two-year wireless plan, which makes up the bulk of the iPhone’s total cost of ownership. There’s no 16 GB option for the new iPod touch this time around, but Apple is still offering the last year’s iPod touch (4th Generation, 2011) with 16 GB for $199.

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The iPod touch is just $30 cheaper than the iPad mini, which may give some users pause. The only reason reason to buy the iPod touch rather than the iPad mini is portability. If you plan to sit on the couch with an iOS device you’re going to get more out of the iPad mini, even though it doesn’t have a Retina display. The iPod touch is the way to go if you need a device you can throw in a small pocket.

iPod touch
  • iPod touch
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Product by: Apple
  • Version: 5th Generation/ 2012 model
  • Price: $299
  • Reviewed by:
  • On 11/19/2012
  • Last modified:11/19/2012

Review Summary:

The iPod touch is an excellent gaming and multimedia device. It is essentially an iPhone 5 without the phone, with plenty to offer for those who don't have a smartphone.

iPod touch Design and Overview

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The new iPod touch is taller than the old model and features a 4″ Retina display. It is extremely thin, measuring just 6.1mm thick and weighing in at 88 grams (3.1 ounces). That’s 20% thinner and 21% lighter than the iPhone 5. The device feels very light and is easy to handle. It has excellent fit and finish, which should be expected of a $299 to $399 pocketable device.

Like the rest of Apple’s latest mobile devices, the iPod touch has the new Lightning port. The new connector is smaller than the old 30-pin connector and is easier to use since it can be inserted with either side up, but it isn’t compatible with older accessories unless you fork over $29 for an adapter. The adapter isn’t compatible with all accessories, so you may have to trade in your favorite speakers and docks. Of course iOS users will need to make the transition at some point, but the iPod and iPhone accessory market is in flux with the new Lightning connector and there aren’t many compatible docks, speakers or charging solutions available at this point.

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iPhone 5 (left) and iPod touch (right) Retina displays are indistinguishable

The display looks fantastic with bright colors and crisp shapes and text. The 16:9 screen ratio means users won’t be bothered by black bars above and below most movies. In the above photo you can see that the iPod touch’s Retina display (right) is every bit as good as the iPhone 5′s (left). The sharpness is especially important for those who plan to read a lot of Web content, eBooks or email on the iPod touch.

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iPod touch in Yellow

The iPod touch is now available in six colors, including black, grey, pink, blue, yellow and red. The black iPod touch has a black bezel,while the others have white bezels around the display. The iPod touch has a small popup button to attach a matching wrist strap.

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iPod touch Strap in Use

The strap helps protect the iPod touch from accidental drops, which are more likely to happen when using the device as a camera and when playing motion-controlled games. The strap is a fantastic idea considering parents often trust the iPod touch in small hands.

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The back of the iPod touch does have a couple of oddities. The camera sticks out a bit and there’s a black plastic strip in the top-right corner. The plastic strip is a sort of window to allow Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals through.

iPod touch Camera

Picture quality is more than adequate for posting snapshots on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, but we don’t recommend using the iPod touch as a primary camera. The rear-facing 5 MP iSight camera is a huge improvement over those found on older models, but it does not rival point-and-shoot cameras as Apple claims.

The iPod touch shoots decent 1080p video in bright settings, but it has trouble in dimly lit rooms and at night. In dim situations, such as the above video in Disney’s Cars Land, the iPod touch produces grainy video and has trouble focusing.

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iPod touch photo sample

Photos from the iPod touch are a little better than those that come out of the iPhone 4. While the iPod touch camera app does have niceties like HDR  and Panorama modes, the camera isn’t very usable in dim settings or with fast-moving objects. The LED flash isn’t very powerful and it casts an unnatural light isn’t very flattering. The above and below photos samples look like they’re taken with a mediocre cell phone camera rather than a point-and-shoot camera.

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Disneyland’s It’s a Small World show with the iPod touch

The iPod touch’s pictures (sample above) aren’t as clear as the iPhone 5′s (sample below). You can click to enlarge these sample photos for comparison.

iPhone sample photo for iPod touch review

Disneyland’s It’s a Small World show with the iPhone 5

The front-facing 1.2MP Facetime camera takes mediocre self portraits, but is perfectly acceptable for placing FaceTime video calls.

iPod Touch EarPods

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iPod touch EarPods Sound Good, but Don’t Come with Mic or Volume Controls

The iPod touch comes with Apple’s new EarPods, which are contoured to stick in ears better than the round earbuds Apple offered for years. The EarPods sound much better than the older earbuds, especially when it comes to mid and low tones. Music enthusiasts will still want to buy third-party headphones to get the best audio quality.

While the EarPods sound just as good as the set that ships with the iPhone 5, the iPod touch version doesn’t come with the inline microphone or audio control buttons. This means users can’t adjust the volume, activate Siri, pause music or skip tracks using the headset like they can with the iPhone 5′s headset. Sure, the iPod touch isn’t a phone, but Apple really should include a microphone since the iPod touch features Siri and FaceTime.

iPod touch Apps and Performance

ipod-touch-review-geekbenchThe iPod touch has plenty of power for all of its built-in apps and most anything you’ll download from the App Store. Some games won’t run as quickly on the iPod touch as on the iPhone 5, but that won’t matter to a lot of users. Graphics-intensive games like Need for Speed Most Wanted run perfectly fine on the iPod touch.The new iPod touch runs on an A5 processor, which is significantly slower than the iPhone 5′s A6 processor. The iPod touch scored 629 on Geekbench 2, a benchmarking app that’s available in Apple’s App Store. That’s identical to our Geekbench results on the iPhone 4S and just a little behind the iPad 3 (722) and iPad mini (752).  The iPhone 5 blows all of those devices out of the water with its faster processor, clocking in a Geekbench score of 1,642.

The new iPod touch is the first iPod to feature Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant. Siri generally works well as long as you know how to phrase questions and phrases to its liking. Apple provides several example queries within the Siri app to help users get up to speed. Siri is still far from perfect  however, returning with no results on occasion, presumably because Apple’s servers aren’t responding or are overloaded.

Apple still offers the most robust app and media shopping experience of any mobile device. Almost anything that can run on the iPhone will run on the iPod touch. One issue with the new iPod touch is that many developers haven’t gotten around to updating their apps to accomodate the taller screen, which means you’ll have to put up with black bars above and below some apps in portrait mode for the time being.

The iPod touch doesn’t come with a GPS module, which means you can’t load it up with an offline maps app and use it to navigate. It also means apps won’t necessarily be able to pinpoint your exact location and will instead have to rely on geo-location by Wi-Fi, which isn’t as accurate.

Apple claims the iPod touch will run on a single charge for up to 40 hours while playing music and up to 10 hours while playing videos. The battery does indeed seem to run forever and we went two to three days between charges with moderate use. Watching 4 hours and 10 minutes of movies and videos brought the iPod touch’s battery meter down from full to just 63%, a rate that’s slightly ahead of Apple’s claim.

iPod touch Review Conclusion

The new iPod touch is an excellent mobile device, though its price tag exceeds those of some small Android tablets and is just $30 shy of the iPad mini. Its new Retina display and performance that’s on par with some of Apple’s more expensive devices make it very attractive. While it does have a few shortcomings, the iPod touch is the best iPod or personal media player we’ve seen to date and highly recommend the device. We only wish Apple would offer a slightly more affordable 16GB iPod touch as an entry point for the full iOS 6 experience.

Xavier Lanier is the publisher of Gotta Be Mobile and a photographer. He uses too many devices to count, but his current favorites are the iPhone 5s, HTC One, Nikon D800 and Sony RX 100M II. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.

39 Comments

  1. Joe Smith

    11/19/2012 at 11:33 am

    Didn’t you mean 4th generation, or did I miss a generation recently!

    • Kritzell Valenzuela

      11/26/2012 at 11:59 am

      No. It the 5th generation. ;D
      You probably did miss a generation.

  2. zodbuster

    11/21/2012 at 5:43 am

    Too pricey for our family.. would have bought a couple 16 g for 199 tho…too bad.. just Apple being greedy I guess..

    • Jordan Brandt

      12/26/2012 at 1:18 pm

      Depending on where you buy, the prices vary. Amazon sells these for 5% off.

    • Jeff

      03/01/2013 at 6:31 pm

      Your wrong with the new screen and bugger camera and the ipod being a gaming device 16 GB would be being greedy youd run out of room in a day…then youd go buy a new one.

    • zodbusterbastard

      05/07/2013 at 9:37 pm

      ndasmu zodbuster asu dipshitkontol matio

  3. Christian Rene Friborg

    11/21/2012 at 10:52 pm

    I’d rather buy the new iPad than this one.

  4. Greshawn

    11/23/2012 at 1:24 pm

    You all are crazy for not noticing the amazing iPod that was ever to hit the market you should be thankful for it even if it’s

  5. Georgia Mark

    11/25/2012 at 5:39 am

    I purchased the new iPod Touch 5th Generation on Black Friday and it is great. I also have the iPad2. To the person who stated they would prefer to have the newer iPad vs. this one. Size is important too. The iPod Touch is great for being compact. it is a present from me to me for Xmas….
    The new ear pod is great too. I always had trouble keeping the previous ear plugs in my ears. Thx to Apple for creating a great product. I am an Apple fan. I have the iMac desktop which is amazing. The monitor is larger than my previous old Sony TV. And it is so chic. Everything that Apple produces is amazing. So if you have not bought it yet. Would recommend this to anyone.

  6. Rilke

    12/04/2012 at 7:20 am

    I’m not sure that I always agree with random “they’re greedy” posts. Can you imagine how expensive it is to staff a large number of top tier designers to create brilliant products? Imagine you’re good or service having its price slashed….simply because someone blogged that you’re…too greedy.

    • johnny

      12/09/2012 at 9:15 pm

      theyre still greedy

      • Bob Black

        12/13/2012 at 5:42 am

        Greedy…. simple and factual

        • j appleseed

          01/27/2013 at 5:12 pm

          OMG they are not greedy do you have any idea what they have to pay to make these products!!!JUST BE GLAD THERE EVEN IS AN APPLE!!! yuou have no idea what your talking about

  7. Micah

    12/26/2012 at 5:39 am

    I got the black one and its the best electronic I’ve ever had in my life :)

  8. john

    01/21/2013 at 1:23 pm

    just ordered the 32gig one. Can’t wait for it :)

  9. PG Mark

    01/21/2013 at 2:02 pm

    I bought the 32 GB too. Then for xmas bought myself the iPhone 5. I know – the 5th Generation is the same except with no phone, but my phone was dying – so I got the iPhone 5. Still loving Apple. Techie gal or what! (lol)

  10. tiaa

    01/28/2013 at 7:35 pm

    its shit my friend bought it and it hasnt been 2 weeks and it always freezes

    • PG Mark

      01/29/2013 at 7:53 am

      To Tia it is probably your provider. If you are still having problems return it to Apple. They will give you a new one. I have never had any problems with any of my Apple products and I have quite a few. A happy consumer, and no,
      this is not my third “amazing” word, so I am not kicked out yet. (Lol)

    • Jeff

      03/01/2013 at 6:33 pm

      LOL Your dumb…your friends mus be a piece fo crap fake or a defect this thing never lags…lag=ipod touch 4g lol that thing lags….like crazy….sigle core…800MHz….256MB ram…ugh

  11. ivanes enid

    02/22/2013 at 2:06 pm

    i want one :(

  12. Chis Mom

    03/24/2013 at 9:58 am

    I really love the I pod touch! It is really cool and never freezes up its pretty good. They should lower the price though. Its fine though.

  13. Grace

    03/26/2013 at 2:07 am

    I think it is much better than an iPad it is much quicker than the iPad 1,2,3

  14. DMill

    03/30/2013 at 7:43 am

    Just wondering guys how is the camera doing with the new flash in dark places

    • papadoman

      04/05/2013 at 12:43 am

      The camera flash is not as good as you would expect. I will agree with Mr. Lanier and say that the flash looks a bit unnatural but this is not a big problem if you just care about pointing out objects in the photo. If anyone else has a question, I bought the 32gb version, so just go ahead and ask!

      • A1005

        04/06/2013 at 8:50 pm

        With the LED flash, how would you rate it in certain photos? Like taking a picture at night with some friends, or just taking a picture of an object, Also about the “new” maps app because I heard they took out Google maps and placed this new one?
        And can you please rate: Performance, Camera, Video, Design, and anything annoying or things that might bother people (like pricing)?
        Sorry for all the questions, just want to make sure i get my money’s worth. Plus what recommended stores should i buy it from (apple, bestbuy, etc)?

        • papadoman

          04/07/2013 at 1:25 am

          I can’t give very detailed answers, because my English are not that good. So, let’s begin. 1. When taking a picture with some friends, when they are too far away from the camera (when posing in front of a monument for example) the LED flash doesnt prove that useful. When taking pictures of an object on the other hand, the LED flash becomes almost mandatory. It’s easier to take photos of an object, mainly because humans are more complex when it comes to colours (skin, eyes, mouth, clothes). 2. The “new” maps app is not very different. Of course it’s not Google, but the general layout is pretty much the same.

          Performance: 9/10 (good proccessor, fast transitions)
          Camera: 8/10 (5MP are more than enough, should get the job done)
          Video: 8/10 (1080p is really good, but takes up much space)
          Design: 10/10 (I like the general design, thin, light and colourful)

          Annoying things: Mainly the battery life. Especially with wi-fi and/or bluetooth on, the battery is drained pretty fast.

          I just wanted to say that the Speakers are also really powerful, and the new earbuds are awesome! The Retina display is also GREAT!! Of course, it’s a bit expensive, but I think it’s really worth it.

          I personally bought it from Singapore. It’s really cheap there (200 USD). But you can also but the 32gb from Amazon, which is 249 dollars if I recall correctly.

          Thanks for your questions! If you have any more, dont hesitate!

          • A1005

            04/07/2013 at 1:32 pm

            First of all, thank you for the review, and your English was very good, and clear to understand. And last questions: Between the iPod 4th Generation and 5th Generation camera, would you say it improved? Also can you turn off the LED flash somehow?

          • papadoman

            04/08/2013 at 6:32 am

            Of course it’s better. The photos are more clear and colourful. The LED flash can be turned off! There are 3 options (Auto, On, Off). You can also use it as a “torch” when you shoot a video.

          • A1005

            04/10/2013 at 6:50 pm

            Thank you for all yours answers and your wonderful review. This really helped a lot on my decision.

  15. A1005

    04/10/2013 at 6:46 pm

    Thank you for all yours answers and your wonderful review. This really helped a lot on my decision.

  16. Emil

    04/17/2013 at 8:20 am

    5th generation and they still haven’t figured out how important blue tooth is on a device?

    • Dennis

      05/06/2013 at 7:11 pm

      They had to make some sacrifices to make it thinner, lighter, and faster- bluetooth drains battery, slows the phone, and drags down nearby bluetooth devices nearby, as well as degrading the phone faster.

  17. Dave

    04/21/2013 at 12:15 pm

    Service and quality are the things that everyone misses when it comes to apple. A friend of mine had a iPod nano 2nd generation it was 3.5 years old apple contacted him about a battery problem that they might heat up and burn you. They advise him to send for a return package to replace batteries or the iPod. They sent him a brand new current generation iPod nano no charge.now that’s what I call standing behind your product and giving your customers the best service. How can you beat that!

  18. daddy1

    04/26/2013 at 4:35 pm

    i AM NOW going to get one…..thanks guys!!! :D

  19. genswims

    04/28/2013 at 7:00 am

    the sound broke after 3 months of getting this! dont get it youll waste your money… im just going to get a new 4th generation one because my other one got stolen at the mall and it worked great. i was so bummed when it broke!

  20. Rena Jones

    06/02/2013 at 12:39 pm

    Just purchased 2. A pink one for me and a silver for my son and we absolutely love it!…I had the gen 4 iPod but after switching (and Im glad I did) now I know why its pricey!!…Its AMAZING!!!!… Its so slim and lightweight and the graphics are so crisp and clear, the sound is beautiful… And its very fast with no lag!!…I’m going to rank this product a 10/10!

  21. Nadeem Ansari

    09/14/2013 at 9:19 am

    Wishing you were young again? The 5th Gen Apple iPod that smacks the “adult” right outta you! Check it out.
    http://goo.gl/T210c1

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