The touch runs the same software as the iPhone line, which is amazing. The menu system is one of the most user-friendly and intuitive ever designed for a touchscreen device, and you can run the same apps you can on an iPhone -- so there's hundreds of thousands to choose from. Check out ourand stories for some ideas to get you going. The touch ships with the new software, which we liked a lot when we it, and , Apple's music social-networking thing, .
The touch has the same Apple A4 chip found in the iPhone 4 and iPad, and unlike the last iterations, it doesn't look like there's an internal difference between the 8GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, apart from the memory. This means they all support multitasking (the ability to run certain apps simultaneously). There's also a gyro and accelerometer inside all of them for use with games, along with 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
iTunes lives down to expectations
As always, you sync music, video, photos, podcasts and so on with your PC using iTunes. Despite now being on its tenth version, it's still a slow, clunking heap of rubbish. Fortunately, it's possible to avoid it most of the time after the initial sync -- you can buy apps, music, films and so directly on the touch, so you'll only need to use iTunes for software updates and backups, which eases the pain slightly.
Apple says the battery will last for 40 hours of music playback and 7 hours of video. It's almost impossible to provide anything more meaningful than that, as the touch can be used for so many different tasks that drain the battery at completely different rates. All we can usefully tell you is that the battery lasted a good day of us using as many of the advanced features we could before needing a recharge, and that video calling seemed to zap the battery indicator the most.
Music-wise, things are as good as before, although as always we recommend doing your ears a favour and buying some better headphones than the ones that come in the box. The internal speaker is quieter than the one on the third-gen touch, but that's probably for the best as the definition is understandably poor given its tiny size.
Apple still hasn't seen fit to build an FM radio into the iPod touch, which is annoying, although there are loads of streaming radio apps that will work fine if you're in the range of a Wi-Fi connection. One other annoyance is the lack of GPS that's included on the iPhone 4.
To buy or not to buy?
The iPod touch is still the best multifunction MP3 player available, by some margin. It's so good, it's not really competing with rival manufacturers' players any more. Given that, it's probably not surprising that most of our complaints about it seem to be that it's not the iPhone 4.
Those complaints might be made a little less irritating when you consider that the touch is considerably cheaper than an iPhone 4. The 32GB touch, for example, is £350 cheaper than the equivalent iPhone.
Here's how we would choose between the two. If you're in the market for this sort of thing, happy with your existing mobile, locked into a long contract or strapped for cash, get this.
If not, buy an iPhone 4. Buying advice doesn't get much simpler.
Edited by Nick Hide