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iPod Touch 2nd-Gen
The new Touch has a lot going for itself, though there are few new features. The most prominent happens to be the new 32GB capacity, improved battery life, external speakers, and external volume control keys. Some of you may not find the price acceptable, but consider the level of interactivity you can share with the multi-tap technology, Coverflow, accelerometer – all under one roof, as it were! Features apart, let’s see if the performance measures up...
The new iPod Touch has an eye-catching design. I like the new contoured look, with a snazzy and shiny body. Yet, one look and it goes without saying that the Touch is a fingerprint magnet. A cleaning cloth has been thoughtfully provided with the product.
If you compare the dimensions straight-on, there’s really very little difference. The height and width are the same, at 110mm and 61.8mm respectively, while the depth has increased by 0.5mm to 8.5mm (to accommodate the curve at the back, no doubt). Fundamentally, the design and construction is the same for both generations of the iPod Touch. The weight has gone down by 5g, to 115g.
These dimensions make the Touch the slimmest touch-sensitive PMP available in the market. There’s no doubt you will like the looks of the player. Also, now it’s equipped with volume keys, so you don’t have to unlock the player to get to the controls. Another change is the addition of inbuilt external speakers for casual listening. Oddly, the speakers are placed within the USB slot. The 3.5-inch screen stays the same – and it has a resolution of 480 x 320, at 163 pixels per inch.
If you have the old iPod Touch there's little reason to switch. One of the major changes according to Apple happens to the inclusion of the Genius playlist feature in all the iPod products. It’s a good way to create instant playlists based on the song you're listening to. The only problem is that it works only with songs purchased from the iTunes music store. And since the store is currently out of bounds for us in India, there’s very little use for the Genius.
I have always liked Coverflow, and so will you. If you haven’t seen how it works, let me explain. Making use of the accelerometer engine that allows the Touch to switch screen orientation (both ways), the Coverflow displays an array of albums sorted by album artwork. You can simply flick the screen using your fingers, making navigation fun.
It’s equipped with Wi-Fi, enabling you to not only surf the web but also download mails. For this you can make use of the Microsoft Exchange client, or simply follow easy instructions to set up your AOL, Gmail or Yahoo account. Surfing with Safari is fun. Taking interaction to the next level, you can use the multi-tap function of the Touch and pinch the pages small to big and vice versa. I would have liked the browser to be loaded with things like Acrobat Flash Player though. Once downloaded you have access to even myspace or last.fm.
There’s Google Maps, weather check, notes, and calculator, among other things. You can access the app store directly using the iTunes app built into the player. Nike+iPod support also comes built-in.
Music and Video
The music quality remains the same, with support for 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. A customizable EQ is still missing though.
Video support includes M4V, MP4, and MOV formats. As always there’s no drag-and-drop, and most videos will require you to look elsewhere for conversion. Video quality is good as expected, with decent dark levels and minimal gradation.
Showing off pictures is fun. The Touch supports JPEG and BMP files, and the coolest thing is that you flick past pictures and simply pinch and zoom in. Thanks to the accelerometer you can even play games that require no jab at buttons, but simply turning the player around.
Battery and Verdict
You will need iTunes 8 to be able to work on all current generation of iPod products. The battery life has been given a boost, and since I liked the number of hours the old Touch could manage, it’s only a boon.
Apart from 8GB and 16GB capacities (which cost Rs 15,100 and Rs 19,100 respectively), you can also buy a 32GB Touch for Rs 25,000. It’s a good price, considering what the device is capable of.