Review Price £249.00
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.
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.
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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