Wednesday, December 19, 2007

An honest review of the Ipod touch.

In a few words: it's great, even better than I imagined, but with a few more features and tweaks it could be devastatingly good and blow the market apart. So why isn't it as good as it could and should be? Let me rephrase that - it's wonderful, but it's not the counsel of perfection, and I think the decision not to make it so was deliberate.

It's not an Iphone, and I'm glad it's not. The Iphone is a tremendous and without doubt even better piece of kit, but having Apple gouge me for an extra (minimum) £35.00 / $70.00 a month, no thanks. I can't be bothered to google around to see what Apple's share of the O2 contract is, but I can guess it's a right old wedge.

Apple seem to me to have compromised the Touch to such an extent that many will shrug their shoulders and pay the extra monthly contract fees for 18 months and grab the Iphone. Having a work provided phone, that makes absolutely no sense to me, and knowing that the phone is locked to a provider makes me positively not want to purchase the phone. I hate being told what I have to do and if I am, I end to walk away. This is a real shame, as the Iphone features are amazing. That's why you have to shake your head when you look at the limited features of the Touch - even as good as it is without them.

The memory capacity isn't great - I've 16gb, and I need to be conservative with what I'm storing. My old 5th gen Ipod has 60gb. Why 16gb? That's just mean. 16gb these days is ok, but it's not great and it's certainly not big enough.

The exceptional photo viewer on the Touch is something to behold. Being able to tilt the Touch through 90 degrees and watch the picture angle change still makes me smile. Expanding the picture on screen by touch is another very cool feature. Why then hasn't the Touch got a built in camera? That's another daft obvious missing feature. I take my Touch everywhere, so why should I take pictures on my phone / camera and spend tie mucking about transferring them?

The player is great, and the ability to shift through the album art is again a great cool feature. So why no external volume button? It's on screen, sure, but that's just fiddly, especially if you're out an about or at the gym.

The browser is fabulous, but misses a march by not having a widget feature. An inabiity to download on screen to memory (unless I've missed something), or miss such obvious features as flash is also a bit of a pain.

Not being able to email is also a bit of a pain, but I've circled that square by using the webmail service.

The calendar is a real delight to - and a recent 'bug fix' to now allow you to on-screen add an event quite user friendly. Many thought the 'pre-bug fix' was yet another obvious omission to push you to buy the phone

The one sad aspect is still Itunes - yes it's a great money spinner for Apple and yes, it's superficially easy to use, but how unuser friendly can a service be like that in this day and age? The answer is easy - as unfriendly as it wants to be, as you've no real alternative choice. I abhor being tied to one pc and have suffered hugely by having my home pc hard drive crash. Thank goodness I've got my old Ipod and have been able to use Yamipod to transfer my stuff, I'd be stuffed otherwise. I purchased the music in the first place, so why should I have to muck about transferring the stuff out? Conventional cheap Mp3 players drag and drop - and I wish Itunes would follow suit. Yes, I know ou can drag and drop - but it ain't easy.

The Touch is, for all its missing features at such a high cost (£270 / $550) still something to marvel at, I love mine and it's a fantastic asset - add some more memory, sort out the flash / widgets and add a camera and it'll be an even better seller. I'm impulsive I wanted one and got one. If I were you, I'd wait just a little while and wait for the extra... er... bug fixes.


mkrus said...

missing email app is a bummer (although there are ways around that ;-))

what about physical control? I often skip a track, tweak the volume just by clicking the appropriate button on my 5th gen iPod without getting it out of my pocket. Can't do that on the touch... Do you miss that?

podcastpaul said...

I think that there will be lots of developed applications and software patches to address grumbles... and a quick second and third generation release before we know it.

The volume isn't too bad, just a quick couple of taps. The iPod wheel is difficult to beat though.

Alex - Podcast Junky UK said...

That's one great review Paul.