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Apple iPod touch (5th gen) review


Apple’s iPod touch is better than ever. It’s expensive, but the best device of its type on the market

Review Date: 22 Nov 2012

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: £274 (£329 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £168
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

6 stars out of 6

Now that smartphones are so often used to handle music and video, few would think of buying a dedicated media player. Yet Apple has stuck steadfastly with its iPod touch, which this month receives a major update.

It’s a very similar design to the iPhone 5, with a tall, thin 4in screen and aluminium rear. It has the same Retina display, with a resolution of 640 x 1,136, and the IPS screen’s measured brightness of 525cd/m2 is virtually identical.

Quality is exceptional, and games and videos leap off the screen. Like the iPhone 5, the touch runs iOS 6, and also boasts dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.

Apple iPod touch (5th gen)

It isn’t entirely identical, though. With a depth of 6.1mm and weight of a mere 88g, it’s significantly thinner and lighter. And the core horsepower is closer to the iPhone 4S than the 5.

As a result, the dual-core A5 processor scored 1,823ms in the SunSpider benchmark, which lags a long way behind the fastest mobile devices of today. There was no sluggishness in games, however.

The last iPod touch was saddled with an awful camera, but Apple has fitted a much-improved 5-megapixel shooter this time around. It isn’t as good as that of the iPhone 5, but images are sharp, colours are vivid, and high-quality 1080p video is smoothed out with digital image stabilisation.

Apple iPod touch (5th gen) camera sample

There’s the easy-to-use panorama feature we first saw on the iPhone 5, too, and our only gripe is the slight grain visible when you look closely.

The iPod touch’s sound quality hasn’t dipped – music retains plenty of punch and clarity – and Apple includes its new EarPods. They’re a marked improvement over Apple’s previous bundled earbuds, which were leaky and lacked bass, but they still aren’t particularly brilliant.

Overall, though, the iPod touch fulfils the twin roles of handheld gaming device and media player with aplomb. The loss of the 16GB model leaves the price looking extravagant – but with the iPod touch squeezing a cocktail of music, video and games into a mere sliver, many will still be willing to pay the premium.

Author: Mike Jennings

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User comments

Who needs a stand alone player?

I don't begrudge anyone's right to spend £329 on a 64gb mp3 player but I do wonder why so many of them that i see on the tube have an iphone in one hand and an ipod in the other.

Is the ipod better at playing music than the iphone?

Personally I rather spend a bit extra on a decent phone and another £30 for a 64gb MicroSD card, thereby saving a bundle.

By imaginarynumber on 22 Nov 2012


I break out in a cold sweat when i see my MP3 player (an oldish iPod touch) low on battery. I'd much rather my [android] phone runs out of battery than my ipod (which it often does); the ipod can soldier on for days. But as you might guess, i'm rather antisocial.

By creechitup on 22 Nov 2012


To answer your question...

it is to do with battery life.

I use my iPod touch and iPhone 4 other wise the battery only last a few hours on the iPhone - I found this out the hard way when I made a long trip


By mprltd on 22 Nov 2012

Apple fail

Would it not be easier to carry a spare battery?

Oops it's a iphone so you can't!

By kingct on 23 Nov 2012

Spare battery?

It's fun dismantling your phone on the train to install another battery. I like having my phone and MP3 player as separate items!

By russell_g on 23 Nov 2012

iTunes Match is not being considered in memory protest

A decent phone
A decent phone like the iPhone 5 maybe? I have to lol when you ininuate that the iPhone 5 isn't. Yes, there's no external storage, but if you spend £27 on a year's subscription to iTunes Match, then your phone can carry all of your iTunes content wherever you go over the Cloud, which removes the memory limitation, on top of the fact that this service upgrades existing songs recorded at lower bit rates to 256kbps, which is great.

However, returning to the subject of the iPod touch, it is clear that whilst as a media playing device with identical screen to the iPhone 5, it is unnecessary, it's value additivity is in its battery life, which despite its extraordinary thinness of just 6.6mm, still manages to surpass the iPhone for battery life when playing audio on loop.

By Jonny_Bingham on 23 Nov 2012

Extend battery life?

If the only reason people buy an iPod touch is the poor battery life, why not get an app that turn off the phone radios when the battery is below a certain percentage.

By tirons1 on 26 Nov 2012

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