Apple iPod Touch 2015 review:

An 'iPad Nano' that's almost too pocket-friendly

They say the best camera is the one you carry with you. A smartphone with higher megapixels will do better here, but the iPod Touch does an amicable job for a lowly MP3 player.

Performance

When it comes to processing prowess, the iPod Touch stands head and shoulders above its competition. This isn't surprising. The iPod Touch's A8 processor is clocked at 1.13GHz, which puts it under the 1.4GHz CPU in the iPhone 6. That still ranks it fairly high among similarly priced devices.

3DMark -- Ice Storm Unlimited

iPod Touch (2015
15,414
iPhone 6
17,202
Moto G (2GB)
4,473
iPod Touch (2012)
2,167

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench 3

iPod Touch (2015)
1,376
2,443
iPhone 6
1,623
2,913
Moto G (2GB)
528
1,609
iPod Touch (2012)
217
415

Legend:

Single-core
Multi-core

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Here we see the iPod Touch trouncing the 16GB variant of the Motorola Moto G, a $220 smartphone equipped with 2GB of RAM, and a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor. That Moto G has a superior camera and is a proper smartphone, but then we're left with the age-old Google Play versus Apple app store debate. I'm an Android fan, but I won't wade into those waters: I will admit that you'll have decidedly more apps to choose from on iOS. The fifth-generation iPod Touch is obviously outclassed, but I included it for reference.

There are a few good reasons to buy the new iPod Touch...

It's almost an iPhone 6, without a contract

The new iPod Touch is small -- almost dinky, when compared to the iPhone 6. And the hardware has been brought up to speed with the iPhone 6: Apple's 64-bit A8 chip is joined by the M8 motion coprocessor, which handles motion tracking.

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James Martin/CNET

The best-in-class iOS app store, on a budget

Whatever your thoughts on Apple products, the vast majority of cool new apps and mobile games head to iOS first. The iPod Touch's souped-up hardware means that the games and apps that are usually exclusive to iOS will work here, so if you're in the market for a portable entertainment device and don't want an iPhone, the iPod Touch is a relatively inexpensive way to go.

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James Martin/CNET

A pretty nifty camera, too

You're getting the 8-megapixel iSight camera, too. The camera on the iPod Touch is a tad slower than the one you'll find on the iPhone 6, with an f/2.4 aperture when compared to the iPhone 6's f/2.2. Video recording remains at 1080p resolution, but it's limited to 30 frames per second, with slow-motion video capped at 120 frames per second. The iPhone 6 can shoot at 60 frames per second, and shoot slow-motion at 240 frames per second. You're also losing out on things like continuous autofocus while recording video.

The photos it captures are still pretty good though, as I showed above. And you're also getting all of the functionality built into iOS 8. That includes the aforementioned slow-motion video recording, as well as time-lapse videos, and 43-megapixel panoramas. I wouldn't recommend picking up an iPod Touch to use solely as a camera, but if the camera on your own phone isn't up to snuff, the Touch won't disappoint.

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James Martin/CNET

...But there are also reasons to steer clear

If you need a jukebox or a fitness companion, the smartphone you likely own will do the job

The gap between phones and PCs that iPods used to cheerily occupy is getting really crowded. If you're looking for a fitness companion, or just want to take your music with you, there's a good chance you're already using your phone to handle that. The iPod Touch offers no additional functionality, and the lack of cellular connectivity limits what you can do while you're out and about. If you've got the money and want something to fill a fitness-shaped hole in your life, devices like the Apple Watch or Android Wear smartwatches are more than happy to help.

Want to have some fun? You'll enjoy a tablet more

The iPod Touch has always made a compelling case as an entertainment device, but devices like the 7.9-inch iPad Mini 3 are fairly easy to tote, and offer a larger, higher resolution display that'll make for more satisfying entertainment experience when you're looking to play games or watch movies. If you opt for an iPod Touch you'll also miss out on features like Touch ID and Apple Pay.

Buy it or skip it?

The iPod Touch remains a fun little device, and there was a time when I would find myself picking up the latest model every year to keep in touch with the iOS ecosystem, and have a portable jukebox and fitness companion. But the iPad Air 2 has scratched my iOS itch, my Nexus 6 tackles music and podcasts, and wearables like the Apple Watch, Android Wear smartwatches, or the Microsoft Band that I carry have filled in the fitness gap.

The iPod Touch packs a surprisingly good camera, and the classic design, powerful hardware, and petite size are all great selling points. But smartphones (and small tablets) already accomplish most of these tasks just as well, and generally better, while also packing cellular connectivity. While the Touch remains a good choice for kids who are too young for a smartphone -- and who prefer the pocketability that a tablet won't match -- it will feel like a redundant gadget for most smartphone owners.

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