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Apple iPod Touch (4th-gen)With the 4th generation of the Touch, Apple's best iPod keeps getting better. New features, such as an HD camcorder, Facetime video calls, a higher-resolution display, and the iPhone's A4 processor, redefine our expectations for portable media players.
Hey, I'm Donald Bell and today we're taking a first look at the fourth generation Apple iPod Touch, a CNET Editors' Choice for 3 years in a row. This isn't a radical departure from the iPod Touch we know and love but there are some noticeable improvements. In terms of price, you're looking at 3 different models--an 8-gigabyte, 32-gig, and 64-gig version priced at $229, $299, and $399. All of the hardware features from the previous version have been preserved. You still have a 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen, only now it's using Apple's higher resolution Retina Display. There's a Home button on the bottom, a screen lock at the top, though now the button is shifted from the left to the right, and you have controls for volume on the side here but there are now two different distinct buttons instead of one single rocker switch. On the bottom, you have the headphone jack, a dock connection, and a teeny-tiny speaker grille. If you take a look at the back, you'll notice two things. First, the chrome steel doesn't bulge out quite as much as the previous version, giving a slightly thinner profile, a lighter feel, and the ability to lay flat on the table without wobbling. But the really big change is the camera lens up here at the top along with this little omnidirectional microphone. This is an HD video camera that can capture 720p footage at 30 frames per second. Just like the iPhone, you can use the built-in editor to trim your video clips, or spend an extra $4.99 on the iMovie app with more advanced features. The camera takes still frames, too, but the camera quality isn't nearly as good as the iPhone 4. Now, if that weren't enough, Apple is also giving you another video camera on the front with a lower resolution. You can use this same camera for snapping self portraits, but its main purpose is for making video calls using Apple's FaceTime app. By using e-mail addresses instead of phone numbers, you can make free video calls over Wi-Fi to other compatible iPhones or iPod Touches. It's a cool feature, it works well, and Apple puts the new app right here at the top of the menu. Under the hood, you have a few significant improvements which have trickled over from the iPhone 4 including an A4 processor and a gyroscope sensor for detailed three-axis motion control in games and other apps. You also have support for 802.11n Wi-Fi and existing support for Bluetooth 2.1. Compared against the iPhone 4, you don't get the phone, the 5-megapixel camera, GPS, or a 3G data connection, but you also don't have to deal with contracts. The rest of the iPod Touch is just as you'd expect. The core apps for e-mail, web browsing, music, photos, and video are all better than ever under iOS 4. You now have the new ability to rent TV shows, games look and perform better than ever, with the internal mic, you no longer need a microphone headset or an adapter to take advantage of audio recording or the voice memo app, and some third party camera and video apps now work as well. So that's the fourth generation Apple iPod Touch. If you've been waiting to make an upgrade, I really feel that the two cameras, the FaceTime calling and all the little performance tweaks really makes this year's model worthwhile. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell.