Let's assume, before we go any further, that you have already decided you want a non-smartphone that can play media (or apps), so we can not waste any time by discussing under which probably weird circumstances you want one of these instead of a smartphone, which is of course much more capable and which you probably already have. No more discussion! Just reviews!
What's Good: The new hardware is great. The thing is super thin, and slightly more square and less tapered than previous generations. Feels a little bit retro and more substantial. The colors are nice, too, although Apple sent me some kind of horrible chartreuse color, like rancid metallic space-mustard. Don't get that one! The new, longer screen still has that stellar
The app selection is of course top-notch. There's no major app that's not available for iOS. And camera apps, thanks to the new, upgraded sensor, are much more useful. The camera is still not quite as good as the iPhone 5 (or even the iPhone 4S), but it's plenty good enough for Instagram. Sound and video both have tons of options, from Rdio, Spotify, MOG, and a million podcast apps on the audio side to Netflix, Hulu Plus, and YouTube on the video side. The screen isn't quite big enough to make it a great video player, especially with the iPad around. But for 20 minutes at a time? Great. The game selection is great, too, from little timewasters to longer and more involved titles.
What's Bad: iTunes is still a pretty bad media manager--it's hard to do things manually ("stop syncing! Why are you so insistent on syncing?!"), it's restrictive on how many computers can be used with each device, it's slow, it's bloated, it's not very good. On the other hand, if you use something like Rdio or Spotify, and you should use something like Rdio or Spotify, that's much less important, because you're not reliant on iTunes for music management. Oh, and the earbuds are really, really bad. Like, yes, they fit better than the old ones, but they're still hard plastic, which makes no sense to me--they don't seal off the ear canal so tons of outside noise gets in, and the drivers are pretty low-quality to begin with. As always, when you buy an iPod, throw the headphones out immediately.
It's kind of expensive, at $300 for 32GB and $400 for 64GB. But it's hard to know what to even compare it to; there's the Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2, which CNET rates as pretty good. But iOS's apps are still way beyond Android's in terms of fit and finish, and CNET found the Galaxy Player a bit underpowered, which the iPod Touch certainly is not. Also the Galaxy Player is pretty ugly and the iPod Touch is very pretty. You could compare it with the smaller tablets; Google's Nexus 7, our favorite 7-inch tablet, costs $250 for 16GB of storage, but of course it has a much bigger screen, which would make it better for any kind of video, ebooks, and web browsing. The Nexus isn't pocketable though, so whether those are competing products depends mostly on what you'll be doing with them. It's also worth noting that Apple will probably announce a new, smaller iPad in about a week, though I kind of doubt anyone is really choosing between an iPod Touch and an iPad.
Otherwise I don't honestly have any complaints with the Touch--it works really well, looks great, does everything you'd expect it to.
Product: Apple iPod Touch (2012)
Category: Portable media player
Price: $299 (32GB) or $399 (64GB)
Cool bonus: Recessed lanyard peg in the back, fun bright colors
Rating: Probably the best portable media player ever made, not that that means much these days
What's Good: Tiny! Super super small, while still having the biggest screen of any iPod Nano ever. Has Bluetooth, for the first time, which is great for wireless headphones (useful while running) or connecting to a little speaker like a Jambox. Has Nike+ built in for tracking your steps and timing your runs and things like that. Plays videos. Now it has a "home" button, just like its big brothers, which I like for clarity's sake--the previous generation Nano forced you to press and hold the center of the screen, which was not very intuitive. On the side there's a play/pause button in between the volume up and volume down buttons--good for no-look navigation, when the iPod's in your pocket or whatever. Sound quality is actually not bad considering how tiny the thing is.
What's Bad: The screen is only big comparatively--it's still very small, and can be hard to use sometimes. Not a lot of room for album art or track listings or navigational cues like back buttons. The screen also is pretty low-res, compared to the iPod Touch and iPhone--it's small but not very sharp. Since this doesn't have Wi-Fi or apps (it looks like it has apps, but it doesn't), you have to use iTunes a lot--and iTunes is, again, not very good. Screen is definitely too small to watch video. Like, it doesn't hurt it to have the option, but don't buy this expecting it to be a real multimedia powerhouse. Earbuds, see above for description of awfulness.
We've pretty much abandoned portable media players in the wake of smartphones, so there aren't a ton of alternatives out there, especially for a $150 16GB player with premium bonuses like video playback, Bluetooth, and a pedometer. But the video playback is not really useful, and given that the most obvious use for the Nano is as a workout device, I think I might actually recommend something a lot cheaper, something that's almost disposable, something that'll just blast your tunes at you while you sweat. For that I think SanDisk's Sansa Clip Zip might be the best option. The 8GB version (which is plenty of space) costs, at time of writing, $57. It has a built-in clip like the old iPod Nano, and it is, surprisingly, well-known in audiophile communities for its excellent sound quality. It doesn't have Apple's fantastic unibody aluminum design, but, like, who cares, if you're using it at the gym?
Product: Apple iPod Nano (2012)
Category: Portable media player
Price: $149 (16GB)
Cool bonus: Pedometer, Bluetooth
Rating: Too expensive for an app-less media player, but still works well
i still have an mp3 player with an AAA battery inside it... somwhere in the house...
(Type 0.72) = We are still just cleaver monkeys!
Expensive and impractical as always.
I considered buying an iPod once, I really did.
That's how I discovered that Apple only makes expensive crap for fanboys and fassionistas. I ended up buying a Sansa Clip, which I hardly use now that I have a Samsung Galaxy Y Duo.
My gadgets must do what I want, not tell me what to do.
i love you man ! :,)
ps: i have nothing against apple, as always i think that that kind of branding pushes the masses who understands sh## into participating $activelly$ in the tech developpement... ^^
but yeah apple kinda suks for techy guys...
(Type 0.72) = We are still just cleaver monkeys!
I didn't want to comment here, but I could not let this go.
"The new, longer screen still has that stellar resolution,"
What stellar resolution? It's LOW DEFINITION still! The iphone 5 still failed to even reach 720p. This means it's far from the decent 1080p, and a very long ways from what could be considered a stellar resolution. I don't even think 2560x1600 could be called stellar. Great perhaps, but not stellar. That's more of the 4k realm.
To give a clearer view of just how much difference this makes, here are the total pixel counts:
iPhone 5: 727,040
720p: 921,600 ( Approx. 27% higher resolution than iPhone 5)
1080p: 2,073,600 ( Approx. 185% higher )
2560x1600: 4,096,000 ( Approx. 463% higher )
4k: Varies based on particular standard. Approx 8,000,000 ( Approx. 1,000% higher )
Clearly, there is nothing high resolution about the iPhone 5. If you had stuck with clarity, you can go ahead and argue that. At 326ppi it's higher than the SGS3s 720p screen with 306ppi. Of course, your video and such will still look low quality, because it is. 480p is the closest video resolution with a pitiful 853x480 if its in the 16:9 aspect ratio of the iPhone 5 ( for 409,440 pixels. ) However, worse yet, the standard 480p resolution is 640x480...which is 307,200 pixels. So, videos on the iPhone 5 will tend to be 1/3 that of a low end "high-definition" screen. ( I really hate the "high-definition" naming too. If 1080p is HD, then 720p is not, because it is nowhere near the same. )
TL;DR: "Stellar resolution" is an outright lie. iPhone 5 and the new iPod are low resolution. Period.
(Type 0.72) = We are still just cleaver monkeys!
I wonder if rounded cornders, pretty bright colors and the concept of NEW, will make this sell? I know I won't buy it for $149, $199 and $299 bucks, but I am curious how many will?
@zechio When you can't see the pixels unless the screen is an inch from your face I would consider that high resolution. Any more pixels and your just wasting graphics memory. Not to mention I don't think theres a screen manufacturer in existence who could cram a 720P or 1080P resolution into a 4 inch screen, and they definitely couldn't make it cost effective.
And also to Popsci, a lot of people would buy an iPod touch over a smartphone, because you can get an iPod touch without a 3 year contract that will cost you at least 60$ a month.
Also apparently Popsci are also advocating that people harm the environment by throwing out perfectly working earbuds for no reason. And I don't know what kind of junk computers Popsci is using but iTunes works perfectly fine on my 2 year old computer.
Blarg_King: I own a Galaxy S3 at 306 PPI, have the worst eyesight of anyone I have met ( besides the blind obviously, with a fantastic 20/1600 ), and I can still clearly see the pixels. That's still ignoring the fact that even after the point you can clearly see the pixels, the effects are still apparent. Blur and lack of clarity are clear signs of not being on a higher resolution.
The 6.5% improvement of PPI of the iPhone5/new iPod is still far away from sufficient to completely remove the improvement gained from a higher total resolution.
The same thing was said when the 2560x1600 30" monitors came out. Everyone cried how it would be impossible to see the pixels from 3 feet away, and it was a complete waste. Well, I can personally tell you after owning one...it's still not at the max. After a little while of using it, sure enough, you would start to notice the limits of the pixels.
As for your claim that no one could fit 720p onto a 4" screen...think again.
LG made a full HD ( 1080p ) screen at just 5 inches, for 440 PPI. Then JDI made a 1280x800 ( that's higher than 720p ) screen at...2.3 inches! That's 651 PPI.
Yea. I think Apple could have managed to get a 720p screen at around the 4" mark if they had wanted to. Heck, they could have just kept the physical phone at the same size, but lost a lot of the bezel and fit in that extra bit to support 720p on the same exact phone with the same exact PPI. ( Well, perhaps a tad more width. They are decent on the bezel on the width, just way over sized on the heights bezel. )
I agree with your comment that there are plenty of people that want something that doesn't require the contract of a full featured smartphone. I don't think anyone is really trying to compete with the ipod though, as they know that market is shrinking fast every single day, so there isn't really an alternative to the ipod for the full feature set. Creative used to be awesome, but I think they got out of the MP3 market awhile ago.
Also, it's not Popscis fault if Apple includes terrible earphones that should be thrown away. I have seen the same comment from very pro-Apple people. In fact, Popsci is very biased towards Apple. Hard plastic is just a bad idea for in-ear earphones. The reviews have also said the speakers themselves are pretty low quality compared to cheap alternatives. Thankfully, it won't actually harm the environment in most cases. Landfills are extremely tightly controlled, the earphones are fairly small, and anyone can just keep them or recycle them at their will. Popsci just recommends not to use them.
Finally, Popsci and others issues aren't with getting iTunes to just work. It's the very design of iTunes. It has been shown to be vastly slower than other comparable programs, it often ignores settings ( watched a friend with sync disabled have their iPod completely wiped as it synced with an empty itunes because they were cleaning out their system. ), and is just plain a royal pain by comparison to other programs.
Resolution comes from pixel density, not pixel count. And I'd say a Retina display is high resolution, especially for a handheld device. Don't hate on Apple because of their reputation. They at least make refined products; something most competitors do not.
1st world problem: My smart phone's display doesn't have as many pixels as I want. And I genuinely love the headphones that came with my iphone. I don't know if my ears are big or something.
Yeah, harping on the headphones was not appropriate: they fit well, sound better than given credit for, and are not as uncomfortable as stated.
The headphones are definitely an improvement on previous releases, both for comfort and bass.
I'm a med student, too poor to afford a data plan but within range of wi-fi 23 out of 24 hours a day. The iPod Touch 5 is perfect for my needs--I can whip it out in clinic to do some on-the-fly research or to show a patient pics of basic anatomy to help me explain their medical condition. And that one hour a day that I'm not near wi-fi is when I'm commuting, listening to podcasts.
iPods may be passé for those who already own a smartphone, but I doubt very much that I'm the only one on a low budget who can get by just fine with a dumbphone and the iPod Touch 5.
i have an ipod. 30gig from 2005. its taken on hell of a beating, including 3 years in iraq. its scratched all to hell and it freezes sometimes but still works great for the most part. its the only apple device i have and it was a gift from my brother so i am not a fan boy but i admit that lil ipod is tuff. the newer models are no where near as tuff, especially the touch models. my brother broke 3 just from dropping them. i actually prefer a mp3 player over using my phone because i like to listen to music for hours and that kills a phone's battery.
Have one enjoying it every time I go running. Price not a big deal, sorry to hear most can't afford it, but the alternatives are just not there. Sound great for what they are, bought better earbuds which ran me 100 dollars, now having fun while the rest of poster seem to fixate on not been the perfect does everything and enjoy nothing.