Apple iPod Touch 3rd Generation
Itís no secret that in the world of portable music players itís iPod vs. the rest. It has been that way ever since the debut of the first iPod back in 2001, and Apple have seldom put a foot wrong in the time since.
The current top-of-the-line iPod is of course the iPod Touch. When the first iPod Touch came out it was revolutionary, offering the iPod experience with a much larger screen and a touch-sensitive control system. That was some time ago however, and the 3rd generation iPod Touch, released in September 2009, now has many competitors from such as Samsung, Sony and Microsoft.
So how does the 3rd generation Touch stack up? Is it the world-beater that its predecessors were? Well, unless you have a compulsion to be different, are strapped for cash, or donít need a full-featured device thatís much more than just a portable music player, then the answer is a credible Ďyes.í
The 3rd generation iPod Touch comes in 32 and 64GB flavors, and itís as pretty as previous generationsÖbecause itís exactly the same as them. Apple has chosen to make only the most minimal revisions to the exterior of the Touch, and so it remains the shiny black-and-chrome slab that we all know and love. Itís 4.3 inches tall by 2.4 wide by 0.33 deep, and when itís turned on a beautiful, bright 3.5 inch screen appears that takes up almost the entire front of the device. Whatever else you might say about Apple, they know how to make technology look good.
But whatís it like to use one? For the most part, very good, as Apple have one of the best implementations of touchscreen control systems in any device today. Flicking, tapping and pinching are all supported and work smoothly and seamlessly. Itís a fluid and easy interface no matter what youíre doing.
Unlike earlier iPod Touches, the 3rd generation one has a tactile volume control. Thatís good, as there are times when having to take it out and activate the touchscreen just to adjust the playback volume would be annoying.
Of course these days top-of-the-line portable music players like the iPod Touch arenít really Ďportable music playersí at all, but portable media players, or even pocket PCs. Here are some of the things you get out-of-the-box with the Touch: music and video playback (including iTunes rentals and using the YouTube widget); Wi-Fi; Bluetooth connectivity with other devices; internet browsing with the Safari Web browser; photo viewing; an e-mail service thatís compatible with Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo and a host of others; Nike+ built-in, and integrated access to the iTunes Store so you can download music and videos on-demand.
As well as its marquee features, the iPod Touch also has bunch of smaller apps. Thereís a clock, an app for recording voice memos, an app for checking the weather, a calendar, a stock tracker, maps, notes, a contacts list and a calculator.
But wait, thereís more! New with the 3rd generation Touch is a voice control feature. This works with the microphone thatís now built into the included headphones. You press the remote control thatís also on the headphones and wait for the voice control page to appear on the screen. Then you can speak the name of an artist, song, album or playlist, and your Touch will skip to it. You can also give voice commands for shuffle, skip, pause and play, but as there are already controls for those things on the headphone cord, thereís not a lot of point. What is cool though is being able to say ďplay more songs like this,Ē and have your iPod obey, using Genius playlists (this is a feature where a playlist of songs that the software thinks will complement the one you choose are automatically generated).
Also new with the 3rd generation Touch is better support for games, with increased power and a better graphics processing system. With the iTunes App Storeís big range of games these improvements make the Touch a very tasty option for handheld gaming and put it streets ahead of its rivals.
So features are not in short supply here. But what about sound and video quality? The sound quality is good, though it lacks the range of enhancement options that are common to touchscreen devices from Samsung and Sony. Color balance and contrast during video playback are excellent.
And finally, the price. Do you get value for money here? At $270 for the 32GB model and $357 for the 64GB one, theyíre far from cheap, and there are certainly cheaper options that offer a large touchscreen Ė the Samsung P3 for one. Still, for this many features, the ease of use, cutting-edge technology such as voice control, Wi-Fi, and general Apple polish, thereís no question that the 3rd generation Touch is worth the asking price.