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Oddities apart, the product screams for attention, and scores over many of its competitors. The interactive multi-touch touch screen system still astounds me, and I have to admit I can’t imagine a better looking product in the market.
The iPod Touch looks and feels just like the iPhone, only without the phone and the camera. This allows the Touch to be slimmer and sexier than the iPhone. At 110 x 61.8 x 8 mm, it not only looks elegant but also feels good to hold. It could have been a bit lighter, but I’m willing to heft the 120g for the range of features it offers.
The Touch features a 3.5-inch multi-touch display that offers a resolution of 480 x 320 pixels at 163 pixels per inch. I don’t want to make this review sound like an iPhone hangover, so let me get down to brass tacks and explain why the Touch is a star in its own right.
The face of the Touch is clean. There's a button at the bottom that takes you back to the main screen, and a button on top to lock or switch off the player. For the benefit of those who came in late on the iPhone hype, get a load of this: navigation is entirely onscreen. The touchscreen system is one of the best I have seen so far; it takes the comfort in interaction to another level.
In the touchscreen mechanism the capacitors are arranged in such a way that it can sense changes at each point along the grid. So each point generates its own response, allowing the machine to recognize multiple touches. I also noticed that you cannot make the player respond to anything but your fingertip. I tried stylus, blue tack and a great many objects, but to no avail.
This is quite brilliant, because unlike other touchscreen phones, if you leave the Touch (or the iPhone) unlocked in your pocket, rubbing against other objects will not cause it to fire up.
It offers not only basic media playing capabilities, but a complete entertainment solution. You can rely on it to keep you occupied for a long time. But I’ll get to that later; first let’s talk about music.
If you're an iPod fan, the Touch is the ultimate dream machine. If you're apprehensive about the slight premium that comes with most Apple products, why not learn how the player fares in performance?
The music player can be activated from the lower left icon on the screen. It takes you directly to the list of songs. On the bottom bar you will see a customizable list of choices to sort songs. It helps you view the list based on songs, albums, compilations or artists. If you want to modify the bottom bar, click on 'More', drag whatever you like, and simply throw in on to the bar.
Everything is alphabetically arranged, and you will enjoy the 'flick motion' every time you need to get somewhere. With every flick the screen flows with a momentum and slows down accordingly. This is a nice alternative to the erstwhile scroll bar. You can even directly reach the artist you need by just pressing the letter on the right.
Just as in the iPhone, the Touch also features Cover Flow, which you can activate by turning the player around. This not only allows you to flip through your files but also makes the most out of the album artwork. There isn’t a better way to display album artwork. Just tap on the album cover once and it flips round to show the list of songs.
The sound is clean and all the frequencies are handled well. A list of EQ presets makes up for the absence of a manual option. It plays AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV.
The Touch plays videos, but it’s a pain to load them in the player. Honestly, if there's anything I hated about the iPod, it would have to be iTunes. You have to use it to transfer files; there's no drag-and-drop. It couldn’t even convert the movies I wanted to watch; I had to eventually turn to WinAVI MP4 Converter, a third party application that converts movies from any format to MP4.
Video quality is good, though I noticed a lot of mosaic compression and purple fringing. Dark levels are not displayed that well, but are passable to the normal eye. If you are essentially looking for a video player, I wouldn’t really recommend the Touch.
One thing I did like about the Touch is that it allows me to carry pictures with me. You can dump pictures and view it in landscape or portrait mode – just turn the player around and the mode switches. However, if the picture is already in landscape mode and you turn the player around, you will end up chasing the picture for a proper view.
You can flick the pictures and also zoom in or out using your fingers. This is the coolest feature of the iPhone and now the Touch. Apart from this, it also has the proprietary browser – Safari. Why? Because the player is Wi-Fi enabled, so you can not only surf the web and check mail, but also watch YouTube videos. You can also save your contacts, and there's a calculator for good measure.
Battery life for music is impressive, while the same can't be said about videos. I got three days of solid playback with maximum screen usage on low brightness. The screen eats up battery, so when listening to music indoors you should keep the brightness low. As for movies, I could watch only two hours' worth with about half an hour of music.
The iPod Touch costs around Rs 17,000 for 8GB and Rs 24,000 for 16GB at any Apple store in India, although you may have a wait a while for stocks to arrive. If you're in a hurry, the indicative gray market prices are Rs 13,250 and Rs 17,000 respectively.
If you are wondering if paying so much for just 8GB or 16 GB is worth it, just look at what the player offers you. It’s not only feature-rich, but also an experience in itself. The sound quality is good, so you wouldn’t need to compromise there. And since it’s flash memory based, you can take it out for your daily jog.