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iPods & MP3 players Reviews
15,645 Reviews

Apple iPod touch (2nd generation) review

£187.07 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Apple

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

With the second version of the iPod touch Apple takes another step to close the gap between iPod and iPhone, adding two useful features: external volume controls and an internal speaker

With the second version of the iPod touch Apple takes another step to close the gap between iPod and iPhone by adding those two desirable physical features: external volume controls and an internal speaker.

When the revised Apple iPod touch appeared alongside the fourth-generation iPod nano, it was easy to see it as simply a poor man's iPhone 3G. It now looks almost identical, bar the phone earpiece slot, and has most of the functionality, when you discount the ability to actually make phone calls or surf the 3G airwaves. But for people who want a device for the principal use of playing music, the iPod touch has one major benefit - it sounds better.

Compared to the original version, this new Apple iPod touch feels slimmer in its sleek new stainless-steel back. There are now fixed controls on the left to control volume, making it much easier to make quick adjustments of earphone level on-the-fly.

Less welcome to long-suffering commuters may be the inclusion of a built-in speaker, but thankfully its maximum volume is even more limited than its fidelity. Compare this with the iPhone 3G's speaker, which actually gives a good passing facsimile of music, at a surprisingly higher volume.

Where the Apple iPod touch does score highly over its cellular phone counterpart is in simple sound quality. A quick comparison between the two suggests they both hit the same notes, yet the Apple iPod touch does not suffer the degradation that's almost inevitable from squeezing in so much radio-frequency (RF) comms circuitry inside a music player. Insiduous RF interference is an inevitable threat to good sound where delicate audio signals are concerned.

In place of the iPhone 3G's slightly sketchy rendition of orchestral strings, for example, the touch has a sweeter tone, more realistic and certainly more relaxing in long-term listening.

And with more dynamic material you can the Apple iPod touch has a better grasp of level changes, from quiet background ambience where you can follow the gentle decay of sustained piano chords, or the reverberation of a hall, to the hard slam of bass beats and drum skin strikes.

In short, with its wider stereo sound and richer, more natural timbre, the Apple iPod touch has the upper hand for its core audience of music lovers.

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Apple iPod touch 2G 8/16/32GB Expert Verdict »
Apple iPod Touch 16GB 2nd Generation Scores 9.1 out of 10 based on 637 reviews
Solid-state storage music and video portable
3.5in Multi-Touch widescreen (480x320) display, 163ppi
8GB, 16GB and 32GB capacities
802.11b/g wireless
Apple dock connector to USB 2.0 cable
3.5mm headphone jack with mic-in capability
audio: AAC, DRM AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible formats 2, 3 and 4, Apple Lossless, WAV and AIFF
video: H.264 up to 2.5Mb/s 640x480 30fps, MPEG-4 video up to 2.5Mb/s 640x480 30fps
110x62x9mm
115g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 9 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 7 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

Apple has begun to reinvent the iPod touch as the ‘funnest’ vehicle for playing games, websurfing and email when in Wi-Fi range, and even as a keep-fit companion with its Nike+ jogging monitor. But in spite of its shortfall in making phone calls, we liked the iPod touch for its irrepressible ability to play good music.

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