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The iPod touch used to lag behind the current iPhone in specs, and the fourth-generation iPod touch was the worst: introduced in 2010, it got a white version and a lower price in 2011, and it’s still for sale—but the totally redesigned fifth-gen iPod touch blows it out of the water. It’s got the same extra-tall 4-inch Retina display as the iPhone 5, the same Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, the same scratch-resistant sapphire cover on its iSight camera, and an equally gorgeous aluminum unibody, complete with shiny chamfer.
In some ways, the colorful iPod touch is even better-looking. It’s insanely thin, a millimeter thinner than the super-thin iPhone 5—even the back iSight camera can’t fit into that thinness, resulting in a non-Apple-like bulge around the lens. We don’t mind so much, just because it’s so thin. Light, too, just 3.1 ounces, 22 percent lighter than iPhone 5.
But you still get lots of power, thanks to the A5 chip and 512MB of RAM. The beefiest games play like a dream, and it’s even got Siri. Of course, to use Siri or any other network-dependent app or service, you need to have Wi-Fi, since the iPod touch lacks a cellular networking. “Duh,” you say, “if it had cellular, it’d be a phone.” Unless it had an optional, contract-free 4G option like the iPad mini. We can dream, can’t we?
Apple quotes the same battery life as the fourth-gen iPod touch: 40 hours of music or 8 hours of video. It’s hard to ding the iPod touch for the only spec that didn’t improve, since they’re running out of room to make the battery bigger anyway. And we did get 43 hours of music and 9.5 hours of video, so that’s still a big win—in a small package.
The bottom line. If I were the type to carry a Mi-Fi around (or I weren’t so addicted to streaming music), I would try to ditch my iPhone 5 and just carry an iPod touch. It’s that much fun to use.
4-inch Retina display 1136x640 resolution, 5-megapixel iSight with 1080p video, 1.2-megapixel FaceTime camera with 720p video, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Nike+ support, Lightning connector, headphone jack, built-in speaker and mic
Same screen as iPhone 5. Camera is much improved. Crazy light. We like the wrist strap and Lightning port. Colors look great.
Battery life the same as the last version. iSight camera isn’t exactly flush with the back of the iPod. An iPad-like, no-contract 4G version would be incredible.