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iPod touch 5th generation (2012) review

Andrew Williams



Our Score


User Score


  • Good-quality screen
  • Superb apps and games library
  • Much-improved camera


  • Entry price a little high
  • Loop lanyard feels gimmicky

Review Price £249.00

Key Features: 4-inch 1136 x 640 Retina display ; Dual-core A5 SoC; 32-64GB storage; Lightning connector; 5MP f/2.4 camera with LED flash and 1080p video

Manufacturer: Apple

The iPod touch has always been a bit of a poor relation of the iPhone series. It was there for people who wanted iPhone goodies, but couldn't afford the astronomical price of the phone. However, underdog or not, it revolutionised what people expect from a media player.

The iPod touch 5th generation for 2012 doesn't radically change the status quo, but gives the player some of its own new design tweaks, without ruining what was so great about the device in the first place.

iPod touch 5th Generation Video Review

iPod touch 5th Generation Design

Apple's most important design change in the iPod touch 5th generation is that it now features an elongated widescreen display, just like the iPhone 5. It's a little taller than the last generation at 123mm long, but with virtually the same width, it won't cause smaller pockets or hands any issues.

This is Apple's thinnest and lightest iPod touch yet. It's just 88g in weight, 13g lighter than the last model. However, the pedantic variances in weight and thickness are not what defines this version's in-hand experience. It's the build and the player's lines that count.

The new iPod touch is a very slender rectangular brick, less curvy-backed than its predecessors. The well-defined sides lend the device some substance. Without it, this £250 wafer-thin slice of tech might just feel that bit too feather-like.

The cool feel of aluminium helps too. Like the iPhone 5, the 5th generation iPod touch is backed with a sheet of aluminium, and here it snakes around as a single piece to meet the glass layer that protects the display. The only seam on show here is the screen surround's outline. Ergonomically, it's quite excellent.

There are a few parts that are more likely to put a few people off, though. The most obvious is the Loop, and its holder. On the bottom of the back of the iPod touch is a little retractable metal circle designed to hold in place the Loop lanyard that is included.

Apple seems to have introduced the lanyard to make the iPod touch more kid-friendly, although equally this is countered by the ditching of the 8GB and 16GB lower-cost versions of old. The cheapest 5th generation iPod touch you can get is the 32GB edition, which costs £249.99. It's hardly small change.

The other visible design flibble is that the camera lens housing sticks out approximately 1mm from the rear of the player. There is a slight indent to the glass lens covering that should stop it from getting scratched, but the protrusion is sure to annoy some.

iPod touch 5th Generation Connectivity

The new 2012 iPod touch borrows a few of the design changes made in the iPhone 5. There's the bevelled edges of the aluminium sides and alongside the 3.5mm headphone jack (which has always been on the bottom on the iPod touch) is the new smaller 8-pin Lightning connector in place of the old 30-pin socket.

Suggestions that the Lightning adapter was introduced to keep the iPhone 5 as slim as possible have been poo-poo'd by some, but here the argument makes complete sense. The Lightning connector is slim and small, and fitting in the larger 30-pin type would gave been a challenge. However, Apple veterans will doubtless experience more than a few frustrating moments when all they can find is a half-dozen 30-pin Apple cables, but not a single Lightning one.

As ever within the Apple ecosystem, to transfer files from a computer to the 5th generation iPod touch, you'll need to do so through iTunes. However, iOS now supports sync over Wi-Fi, and iOS 6 removes the need to setup the player using a computer. All you need now is a Wi-Fi network in order to login to your iTunes account.

Physical connections are limited to the Lightning connector and headphone jack, but with the help of a few Apple accessories they can do more than just transfer files, charge the battery and output sound. An HDMI converter cable is expected, but hasn't yet been released.

Wireless connectivity in the 5th generation iPod touch is respectable, but nothing we haven't seen before in the series. There's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and support for Nike fitness sensors, but location services still rely on Wi-Fi network mapping rather than proper GPS and - like the iPhone 5 - there's no NFC.

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ChrisC 2

September 13, 2012, 11:48 am

Surprised they didn't ditch the iPod name and just call it an iPad Nano.


September 13, 2012, 2:16 pm

When swooning over the new colour scheme and screen resolution in your forthcoming review; please don't forget to mention sound quality. That's always been Apple's weakest point so it would be nice to see if they've made any progress here.


October 20, 2012, 4:44 pm

Thanks for reviewing. I'd also like to hear a bit more about the sound quality though.


December 31, 2012, 7:17 pm

they put the headphone hole on the wrong side, its ALWAYS in the way,and loop isnt safe. my ipod fell out once

Perry Swan

December 31, 2012, 7:43 pm

as a first time buyer into the apple world I find the iPod 5 the most useful tool for my use while travelling. I wonder about some of the comments I've read that make me wonder if its really only just a toy such as "what's the best colour", the lanyard attachment, raised ring over camera lens etc. I'm just hoping it's user friendly, has excellent apps for maps or gps, good graphics, sound, is reasonably rugged etc. So far the cost in Canada seems reasonable.

Tracy and George

December 31, 2012, 10:50 pm

Can anyone suggest where I can get a cheap adapter to charge and play my 5th gen i-pod touch on my docking station?? Thx

Christian Auldridge

February 23, 2013, 4:36 pm

First of all just flip the ipod and the screen will go to that position second you obviously dont know how to use the loop as ive seen a proffesional youtuber play basketball with the loop attached and funy thing it stuck.

Christian Auldridge

March 2, 2013, 2:28 am

That doesnt make any sense...


March 20, 2013, 3:33 am

The colors listed aren't the colors, they come in: Blue pink/red yellow white and black. They shouldn't take pictures of a Gold one cause you can not buy that in the apple store... Sadly.

Luke J. Martinez

April 2, 2013, 3:24 pm

LOL that's the yellow one (if you look at the strap)... It takes on different shades in different lighting.

CounterCulture PC

April 13, 2013, 10:12 am

As long as you can live happily within the walls of the Apple ecosystem,, eh?
I just bought one of these, it came installed with 6.1.2 and I had it up and running the EvasiOn jailbreak in minutes thereby bypassing Apples 'ecosystem' altogether.
Once unleashed and jailbroken, this device-like all Apples devices became 100 x more capable and intuitive than the stock software will ever allow.
I have noticed that the battery life is not that great, but probably because I can't put it down.


May 15, 2013, 12:11 am

Can a digital device be overpriced and good value at the same time? Thats the $300 question. I think it awesome. It weighs 3oz with a retina display--how is that possible?
I always saw myself as a mini buyer--but now i think i can get by with an ipod touch and an ipad5


July 6, 2013, 7:23 pm

I've always preferred iPod touch to iPhone because I almost never use a phone and I have cellular router (MiFi). However one fact makes me to scratch my head- the price of 5gen is the same as the price of iPhone 5 with 2 years contract...


August 6, 2013, 12:36 pm

I would love to see a BABY IPAD TOUCH with a six inch screen and 128gb memory and all the qualities of the ipod touch married to the qualities of the ipad mini but as good as the mini ....only sizeably smaller than the mini...so that it is a more portable device and easily pocketable and purseable.... Please dont discard this idea.... I think it will give the ipod touch a life giving scope and allow apple to develope the concept of media players into the future.But 128 gb is essential and a very good battery and a lovely camera able to deal with low light picture taking.


August 29, 2013, 6:46 pm

When my camera failed on a recent trip to Europe I was so glad to have my iPod 4 th gen. Came home with lots of good pictures and didn't have to try to buy something. When full I emailed to myself & deleted to fill again. Used for mapping, watched movies while stuck in traffic ( purchased before we left). Did everything in comfort of hotel and did have lug a laptop. Rugged, I typically carry in small camera case in my purse and no problem. Enjoy your trip.


October 27, 2013, 12:44 pm

I was thinking the exact same thing


October 29, 2013, 3:00 am

good reveiw but there is actually a 16gb version


October 31, 2013, 2:33 am

its not as expensive anymore. you can get a refurbished version for $80 off($220)and the refurbished one and the brand new one look exactly the same.

Kathy Finn

November 8, 2013, 3:43 pm

DO NOT BUY THE 16g IPod touch 5. For $225.00 it is the biggest rip off there is. There is no camera on the back. Only face camera...I bought one for my son for his birthday yesterday and we both agree its an expensive piece of crap and I am returning it today! I do not recommend this to anyone.


February 8, 2014, 12:39 pm

Only the 32GB and 64GB have back cameras. Do some research before you buy a product.


May 7, 2014, 5:40 am

I just want one with a better battery, I don't care if it isn't the thinnest device on the planet. That and make the battery user interchangeable. It sucks that the battery degrades so quickly and you can only get it changed at an Apple store (they do that right?) but for the same small and rapidly degrading battery...


May 7, 2014, 5:45 am

The iPod Touch is supposed to be an inferior product compared to the iPhone. I also imagine that part of the reason the IPhone without a contract is so expensive, is to subsidize the price of the iPod Touch. I'm sure they sell more iPhones.


July 13, 2014, 9:54 pm

ok i was going to buy the 16 gig one for my son. He is turning 34 now and i was going to hang it above the basement door so when he woke up he would see it. Now i know i should buy the 32 gig one. Thanks!


July 15, 2014, 7:06 am

ebay or amazon.com

Steve Kruckheimmer

November 1, 2014, 5:41 pm

The author states, in his verdict, "as the years roll by, the iPod Touch becomes a tougher sell." I think that after a few years of growing stale that the Touch is worth rediscovering. The bigger screen, with its much improved clarity, and thinner design will put it in a sweet spot for some, since there are no other tablets of this size, which is particularly suited for music and podcast, internet radio, and even such things as the SiriusXM app, none of which would be served well by a tablet that was even slightly bigger (and heavier). I had purchased the first version of the Touch years ago, which has been sitting in a drawer for years, but recently purchased the Gen 5 32GB model, am quite pleased, and believe it may replace, in a single swoop, not 1, not 2, but 3 other devices I’ve been using (my Touch gen1, Zune, and 5” Galaxy player, although the Galaxy player does have a built-in GPS).

Also, as of June 2014, the 5th gen Touch line has been upgraded to include a 16 GB model, and which has the 5 megapixel rear racing camera. Apple also reduced the prices of the Touch models, so the 32 GB model is $249.

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