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Tech Review: iPod Touch

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What a bummer of a day it has been for a geek like me! I originally bought the iPhone back in June and thought it made an excellent iPod. Since the phone quality left a lot to be desired, I returned it. When hearing that Apple was releasing the iPod Touch, described as the iPhone without the phone, my geekness kicked into full gear.

I hadn’t expected the iPod Touch to arrive in stores until September 28. When I walked into my local Apple store in Paramus, New Jersey today, I was pleasantly surprised. There were no iPod Touch units on display but a couple boxes were hidden in a drawer by the cash register. Against my better judgment, I bought one.

When I opened the box, I was surprised that this unit was actually thinner than the iPhone. Synching with iTunes was a breeze and I was ready to take a ride on my iPod Touch Adventure. But I noticed something when I tried playing a video of Desperate Housewives: it seemed a lot less crisp than it did on my iPhone. I thought for sure it had to be the brightness settings. So I changed the brightness controls and didn’t notice a difference. Just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy, I put the same video on my brother’s iPhone. This direct comparison showed that not only was the color quality of the Touch's screen inferior, but the viewing angles changed for the worse as well.

Perhaps I should have saved my iPhone after I canceled the AT&T service and used it as an iPod instead. At least I would still be able to watch decent looking videos, even though the memory on the iPhone (8 GB) is less than the iPod Touch’s memory (16 GB). Just to make sure it wasn’t just my iPod Touch with the flaky screen, I found some Internet forums that agreed with my conclusion: the iPod Touch’s screen quality is definitely a bummer! Perhaps the people who designed it were the same people who choreographed Britney Spears’ performance at the MTV Video Music Awards earlier this week!

Perhaps those who are buying the iPod Touch more for the music than the videos won’t be as disappointed. But why pay $400 for a 16 GB MP3 player when the new 80 GB iPod Classic is much cheaper, has more memory, and sports a better looking screen (though it is smaller)? Perhaps some people are buying the iPod Touch for the built in Wi-Fi, which enables one to surf the Internet with the Safari web browser. Though this browser is impressive, it is not Flash-enabled like the Opera Browser on the much better portable video player, The Archos 605 Wi-Fi. The built-in iTunes Portal, which allows you to purchase and download music right from the iPod Touch, is an interesting addition and it might actually be useful for those who still pay for music. Don’t even think about using email or calendar features since Apple has disabled those on the iPod Touch.

Perhaps I’m being too harsh since this is the first generation iPod Touch. After all, the touch flow interface is outstanding and when looking at Internet pages or personal photos, the screen automatically rotates to either landscape or portrait mode depending on how it is held. But what good is an advanced interface with a screen that looks dirt cheap, an Internet browser that can’t open Flash-enabled sites, and a music player that doesn’t have a customized equalizer? I hope you are reading this, Mr. Jobs, because you really jumped the shark on this one.

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About Daryl D

  • CG

    I just got an 8gb Touch and I think it looks great. But yeah, maybe I’m not as “tech-savvy” as some you other guys. If you don’t like it, take it back, that way there will be 16gb available when I go to the apple store.

  • Could be the reviewer is a salesperson’s nightmare–one of those people who buys the latest and greatest with every intention of returning it. The customer is not always right.

  • Billy Bob

    What’s an ipod?

  • daryl d

    Ok, so I noticed some dead pixels on my Ipod Touch screen and even though most people wouldn’t mind the little dots of light on the screen, it made me sick. So, after causing a scene at the Apple Store, the manager agreed to exchange it. The new one I received has no dead pixels and I have to admit, the screen looks a little better. It’s a little more crisp. It’s still a disappointment when put next to the Iphone. However, for someone who has not seen the Iphone screen – well, they may be impressed.

    I also have the Archos 605 wifi. Either this or the Ipod will be returned because I can’t afford to keep both. The Archos has a beautiful screen and a lot of cool features, including being able to stream video from a network. But it just doesn’t have the “cool” interface the Ipod has. I have to give it to Apple for the Ipod Touch interface, which is really slick.

  • Dead pixels suck.

  • Jim Stewart

    “People who still pay for music”?

    Are you admitting to copyright infringement in public?

  • Raoul

    I can’t say I’m surprised. The price drop for the iPhone was large, and Jobs likes to hold on to big profit margins. He had to make the money somewhere else. It’s possible that cheaper components are used in the iPod Touch at the expense of screen quality.

  • “I also have the Archos 605 wifi. Either this or the Ipod will be returned because I can’t afford to keep both.”

    This is precisely why electronics retailers have had to resort to charging repacking fees. Some consumers seem to think it’s okay to “rent” a product.

  • The only way to find out what you really like is to have it in hand at home to use and play with. It’s a lot of money to spend on something that you will ultimately not be happy with. Repacking fees are a crock used to try and scare people to keep something they don’t want for fear of losing money.

    If it comes down to it, you can always return it as defective, no stocking fees then.

  • ThomasE1ite

    Yeah, I bought a bicycle once and it was alot of money, $150 dollars at target! I’m glad I had the option to return it, although I’m really lazy so i just convinced myself it was good enough…..uhm i forgot what my point was…..

  • daryl d


    I completely agree with you about this. I think if nothing is actually wrong with the product, a ten percent restocking fee is reasonable. But it’s places like Circuit City or Best Buy that make me sick because they charge a 15 percent restocking fee-way too much! Fry’s Electronics doesn’t charge any restocking fee, but then they turn around and sell products that were used and you can tell.

    I decided to keep the Ipod Touch. As disappointed as I am with it (because I had the Iphone for awhile), it is still very lightweight and the interface, as I mentioned, is great. I’m not as angry about this as I was when I wrote the article I guess.

  • Ive got to say I got my 32 gb Ipod touch a few months ago and havent stopped using it, It’s a little bulky on my arm while running or at the gym but other then that its fantastic.

  • ipod

    I just got my ipod 3g while having my iphone and noticed the big difference in the screen and i think thats kinda where they make ther money can someone tell me why the ipod 3g doesnt have a camera?????
    QUICKLY thanks…