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11 Nov 2010

I just love how Apple is able to enhance its products every time, even if it is with just a basic thing. The iPod touch 4th generation is the perfect example in this regard. Compared to the 3rd generation iPod touch, the device gets additional cameras (front and back) and the A4 processor. Now both of these were actually needed upgrades and the 3rd generation works as good as the 4th generation, but still as soon as I got the new iPod touch, I was ecstatic to find out the changes and additions made to the device.

The 4th generation iPod touch gives new definition to the term sleek touch-screen device. It has lost a couple of millimetres in depth even compared to the third generation iPod touch (7.2 mm vs. 8.4 mm) and even is lighter than its predecessor (101g vs. 115g). The device just screams sex appeal and anyone and everyone who looked at it was just amazed at the slimness of the device. The front is daunted by the 3.5-inch multi-touch display which has a resolution of 940 x 640 and comes with the Retina display. The Retina display is one of the major differentiators as the graphics look way better on it.

Video clarity is better, so are the game graphics, even the icons look smoother and sharper. However, compared to the Samsung Super AMOLED, the Retina display stands at second position. The microphone is placed at the back, right next to the camera. Other than that, there is the standard centre front button, power/hold button on top and volume buttons on the side. The dock connector and 3.5 mm port are placed neatly at the bottom with the loud speaker on the side.

The next major additions are the two cameras on the touch. There is a camera at the back that records HD videos in 720p resolution, but sadly clicks them only in 960 x 720 pixel resolution. The front camera takes videos and stills both in VGA resolution. In terms of quality, the snaps are just above average. Indoors and in low light, the images are full of noise which is visible even while taking images on the phone. Apple should work on a better noise compression algorithm in the next OS update for the touch. The video quality is great; both the cameras record videos in superb resolution with outstanding clarity.

In terms of performance, the upgraded Apple A4 processor comes into play. Although it doesn't become visible too much at first than the 3rd generation in navigation and general usage, the processing power becomes visible in games. We launched Angry birds on both the devices at the same time and the fourth generation touch loaded the game a clear three seconds earlier than the older touch.

One of the issues that the touch now suffers is the overheating. Due to the sleek form factor and a higher processor, the top side of the back near the camera gets heated up within half an hour of gaming.

Although, we did not face any issues with the device even when it was heated up, it is still an issue. The Gyro and accelerometer perform splendid in games catching even the lightest of movement. WiFi capabilities have also been upgraded and now the touch works with WiFi standard b/g and n.

We loved the other little additions as well. The device came with iOS 4.1 pre-installed which gave us Facetime and Game Centre preloaded. We have to say that Facetime is simply brilliant! The video clarity on a 512K WiFi connection was unbelievable on Facetime. We did face the issue of the loudspeaker being too feeble for audio as well as Facetime conversations, but with the earphones plugged in, this issue was sorted.

What we fell in love with was the battery life the iPod touch gave us. It gave 38 hours of MP3 music playback on a single charge! In terms of videos, it gave us six and a half hours of video playback on a single charge which just bowled us over. The audio quality is great, but with third party earphones.

Apple should now change the earphones that they bundle with their devices. Videos looked amazing on the Retina display and it was comfortable to watch a full movie on the display.

The fourth generation iPod touch has its share of issues, but we have to say that it still rules as the best portable multimedia device available today.

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