Has Apple lived up to its own hype with its new flagship device?
What is it?
A portable media player with cameras, wireless capabilities and a diverse array of apps and games
Excellent audio quality; beautiful, high-definition screen; easy to manage and navigate; iOS 5 update liberates it from your computer
Expensive for the higher end models; body gets dirty and scratched easily; photo cameras a major disappointment
The bottom line
Quite simply the best portable media player money can currently buy.
Perhaps it's not surprising that when Apple refreshed its iPhone and iPod product line earlier this month the only thing it did to the iPod touch was to make it available in white as well as black. After all, when it comes to portable media, the iPod touch is the undisputed king. It outclasses everything else in terms of functionality and features, has a screen to die for and produces great-sounding audio to boot.
In terms of music, the iPod touch excels thanks to its touch-screen interface, great sound and wi-fi connection. That wireless connection - coupled with the new iOS 5 release - means you no longer need cables to transfer music, video and photos from your computer to your portable device. And with access to iTunes direct from your device, you don't actually need a computer when it comes to purchasing new tunes to listen to.
Assuming you're not listening to music on the iPod touch's internal - and unsurprisingly poor - speaker, you can expect to enjoy a rich, deep sound. It's definitely a step up from earlier iPod touches, but as always the best results come when you hook up your iPod to a quality set of speakers or headphones.
If you do intend using the touch primarily as a music player, don't skimp and opt for the 8GB model, as you'll find trying to fit a half-decent music collection alongside apps and even a smattering of videos is practically impossible.
Getting to your music collection is thankfully simple, thanks to the iPod touch's brilliant touch-screen interface, which has no equal, particularly among portable media players. It makes browsing and selecting your music a simple process, with lots of options for filtering your collection and beautifully rendered artwork, highlighting the high-definition screen that has to be seen to truly appreciate its bright, colourful and pin-sharp display. Volume adjustment is quick and easy too, thanks to the physical buttons on the left-hand side of the unit.
The high-definition screen, marketed as 'Retina' by Apple, is bettered only by the iPhone 4, and is certainly superior to any other media player on the market, coming in at double the resolution of its nearest competitor. It makes browsing your photos or watching video a delight, and allows you to watch longer movies without feeling the strain on your eyes.
The iPod touch also comes with two cameras and, while they're awful when it comes to taking still shots, the rear-facing camera is capable of shooting reasonable quality HD (720p) video. It's better than the average phone's camera, but not up to the quality of a dedicated camcorder. The cameras also allow you to use the iPod touch for video calling (Apple's own FaceTime is bundled, and it works with Skype too), and you can publish your cinematic masterpieces direct to YouTube should you wish.
Where the iPod touch truly leaves the competition for dead is in its versatility. This is a device capable of running the vast majority of iPhone apps, making it equally adept at playing games, keeping you in touch and up-to-date, and much more besides.
But to allow that to distract you from its primary function - that of an extremely capable and benchmark-setting media player - does it a disservice. Forget about the bonus features, when all is said and done, it's simply the best portable media player on the market.
Screen (size, type, resolution): 3.5-inch touch-screen AMOLED, 640x960 pixels
Audio formats supported: AAC, MP3, WAV, AIFF, Audible
Video formats supported: H.264, MPEG4, M-JPEG
Other features: wi-fi, App Store, front and back cameras
Stated Battery life: 40 hours (audio), 7 hours (video)
Dimensions: 110mm x 59mm x7.2mm