Guild's iPod Touch 2G review

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Guild McCommunist, Jul 30, 2010.

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Jul 30, 2010
  1. Guild McCommunist
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    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    It's been brewing for a few days, but here it is! The iPod Touch review!

    <div align="center"><img src="http://files.lesterchan.net/images/apple/ipod_touch_2g.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>

    Before I get started, let me state a few things.

    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    I highly recommend you read the spoiler. If you don't and make a stupid comment I will call you a retard. Continuing on!

    Apple and the iPod have become synonymous with the portable music player market over the years, to the point that "iPod" has become almost a general term for music players. When Apple introduced the iPod Touch, it not only shook up the market of music players, but revolutionized handhelds as we know it. And I must say, even as someone whose not terribly fond of Apple, the iPod Touch (2nd generation), is a great device. Sure, you may say that with today's phones it's unnecessary, but in all reality, for people like me, it scratches the itch between a cell phone (mind you, NOT a smartphone) and a laptop or computer. It's portable, it's accessible, and it's got more uses than McGyver's Swiss Army knife. If you want something akin to a smartphone but don't want to be tied down by phone plans and the like, this is a great device to fill the gap.

    <b>The Specs</b>

    For the raw data, the iPod Touch has a 3.5in, multitouch screen (meaning it can sense multiple touch points at once, aka you can touch it with two fingers), it weighs 115 grams (or 4.1 oz), and it's 110×61.8×8 mm (or 4.3×2.4×0.33 in). It has 3 buttons (a Lock/Wake button on the top, audio output button(s) on the side, and a Home button on the front), a 3.5mm audio output jack, built-in speakers, 802.11 b/g WiFi, Bluetooth, an accelerometer, and your typical iPod docking cable connector. That's the raw data.

    It's screen is bigger than the DS, smaller than the PSP. It weigh less than both as well and is smaller in all dimensions. If you're a real whore over the specs than this just helps give you a general comparison.

    <b>What is it?</b>

    The big question I had when reviewing it is "What is it?" All of Apple's previous iDevice were easily classifiable. Original iPods are music players. iPod Videos are music and movie players. But this thing comes along and it's hard to classify it. It plays music. It plays video. It browses the web. It plays games (not just shitty games, but actually good, high quality games). And it runs a bagillion other apps with a bagillion other purposes as well. If anything I classify it as a "general portable media device".

    Now, it runs well in pretty much all sectors. Going down the list I made up there, I'll start with music.

    Music quality is good, to say the least. All my music was using the standard iPod earbuds you get, since I also use these on my older, 5th gen iPod Video, so it's easy to make a comparison. Audio quality via headphones is great. Through speakers it's not all too great, especially at higher volumes. The speakers are probably meant as more of an easier solution to get sound on-the-go without headphones, particularly with just general notification sounds and stuff, not music. It's definitely no solution for an iHome or similar device, but the speakers are bonuses that work well enough for your general bleeps and bloops, just not high quality music. The main gripe with music (and later video) is the lack of formats, since the iPod is tied down to using iTunes and either AAC or MP3. And between encoding sound, iTunes usually ranks dead last. I mean the music still sounds great but audio fanatics won't be able to use better quality formats.

    Video on the iPod Touch also works pretty well, but as said before, is tied down in terms of format. Usually with audio, the general quality of the recording (like original Beatles albums vs. remastered ones) and the quality of your output device (shitty earbuds vs. pricey headphones) really make or break the deal. But with video, it's pretty much about formats and what you're watching it on, something you can't change with your iPod. All video is MP4 format. No AVI, no MKV, etc. The other pain here is how hard it is to put your own video on your iPod. Let's say I have a copy of a movie that's not on iTunes. I can't simply pop that DVD in, let iTunes rip it and convert, then throw it onto my iPod. Instead I have to find a good third party application, rip it, make sure it's in the right format, then throw it into iTunes and then transfer it to my iPod. iTunes does have video converters, but the list of supported formats it'll convert from is atrocious and it's slower and lower quality than other ones. Still, with that being said, the iPod does play nice video and having it in the wider screen is nice too.

    For web browsing, the iPod won't be any web browsing substitute to a laptop or computer, but it's still the best web browser I've seen on a handheld (by handheld I mean between DS, DSi, and PSP). You've got Safari as the in-built browser but you can also download Opera Mini from the App Store for free (which is superior in my opinion). It won't support flash or most video but for general browsing it's pretty good. On top of that, having the multitouch screen with a keyboard works great. Given some practice, you can start flying across that keyboard as fast as a small full keyboard on a cellphone. It's much better than pecking out letters on a DS keyboard and a shit ton better than navigating a keyboard via D-Pad on the PSP. You've also got other internet based applications. Youtube is in-built and let's you view Youtube videos. As long as you've got a decent connection, this works perfectly, outside of the lack of videos on Vevo (Youtube's music-specific section where most record companies/bands host their music videos amongst other things) and the lack of TV shows/movies that Youtube host (which sucks because Youtube has a decent anime section as well as Star Trek: TOS amongst other shows/movies). There's also Facebook and Twitter apps downloadable via the App Store that can work as great substitutes to using a computer for either. The main complaint people will have is the lack of 3G and other mobile internet, since the iPod only supports WiFi. Personally, I don't see the point of paying like $30/month for internet in most places, but really, WiFi is massive nowadays. Most households have WiFi, so if you're at a friend's house or your own house there should be no problem. Not to mention most businesses offer free WiFi too. Hell, even Burger King offers free WiFi. So unless you're constantly on-the-go you should be able to sit down and use WiFi in quite a few places.

    As for games, there's been a bit of a debate whether an iPod can be considered a gaming platform now. I can safely say yes. It's more of a casual gaming platform than anything else, but it gets a great selection of casual games as well as more hardcore games for the others. On the casual game side you've got all the PopCap glory here. Peggle, Bejeweled 2 + Blitz, Bookworm, and Plants vs. Zombies are the big ones here, and all are absolutely perfect with touch screen controls. There's also Critter Crunch, Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, and other simple games that are just great fun and easily accessible. One thing I love about gaming here is how the touchscreen is used. Seeing as the iPod has no buttons used for games, many developers will turn to using a virtual analog stick, joystick, or D-Pad for gaming. I can't say it's any better than a real analog stick, joystick, or D-Pad but it still works good enough. On the more hardcore side you've got Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Chaos Rings, Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies, NOVA, and a bunch more. There's also more retro-style games here like Wolfenstein RPG and Doom II RPG, both throwbacks to old dungeon crawlers as well as The Quest, a 90's-style first person RPG. A number of older titles are also getting iPod Touch ports, mainly quite a few Sega games and Final Fantasy I and II remakes. Some overlooked games I'd suggest are Toki Tori (which was a great hidden gem on the GBC but got its second chance via WiiWare and App Store), Dungeon Hunter (a Diablo-style loot-based ARPG), and Sword and Poker (a RPG that uses poker's mechanics in cards like getting pairs, flushes, straights, etc to do turn-based battle). Whether it's a good a gaming platform as a PSP or a DS is up in the air for me, but it's still a solid platform and can provide ample amounts of entertainment.

    <b>Other usages</b>

    Now, the App Store isn't made up of only a few Apps and games. It's full of other apps with other types of usages. Now, the one thing with the App Store is that many people can see it as a joke due to the amount of worthless apps that are on there, let alone pay for. Like really, do you need an App that makes a fart noise, or an app that shoots out soundbites from Anchorman? I don't. But if you can get around those stupid little apps you'll find plenty of stuff worth downloading. On the free side, I mentioned Opera Mini, Facebook, and Twitter before. All are free, all work great. There's also Pandora, which is Pandora Radio, a great internet radio service, which is also free. Wikipedia's app is great for finding info on a topic too. eBuddy works great for managing all your instant messaging and Colloquy is a nice IRC client. Skype is essential to any Skype user as well. One of my favorite apps has to be TextPlus, a application that lets you do text messaging via your iPod. It's free (it has adverts but that's not too bad) and it lets you easily manage conversations back and forth between people via text message. For someone whose using pay-as-you go, this has already saved me a fair amount of cash. There's also other texting apps out there if you wanted though. Many news and media sites also offer apps for their news service. IGN, NBC, CNN, etc all have apps for accessing their news. And of course there's other stuff like The Weather Channel, Yahoo Messenger, Last.fm, and so on. There's also direct access to the iTunes Store for music and video, but I don't recommend it. The iTunes Store doesn't have great prices, especially for downloadable material, and it's probably better to buy the music elsewhere (whether it be in CD form so you get a nice CD + case + cover manual or cheaper music sites). From the most simplistic to the most ingenious apps, they're on there.

    <b>Other complaints</b>

    While I'm very pleased with my device, there's of course plenty of complaints. My main problem here is storage size. 2nd gen iPod Touches max out at 32GB, and iPods never had expendable storage (like a SD card or memory stick or the like). Mind you, 32GB is the biggest and most expensive model for 2nd gen iPod Touches. The smallest is 16GB (which I used for my review). Past iPods, such as my iPod Video, went from 30GB to 120GB. I know a fair amount of people who could easily max out a 120GB iPod with music, probably a bunch of you here could. And that was only music. With this iPod you'll want to have music, video (since it has a wider screen and better resolution than older iPods), Apps (ranging from small apps to large ones), so on and so forth. So you're getting more content thrown at you but less space to put it on. Even a measly music user like me, who only keeps about 10-12GB of music on hand, it's still very restricting. I actually use my older iPod for music, I only threw some music on here for testing and just for the hell of it.

    There's of course also the problem with smudging and glare. Smudging isn't much of an issue though, you'll only notice it on-screen when your iPod is off/sleeping. And with most devices that have gloss (like a PSP), you'll also notice the smudging, especially with the black gloss on the iPod. Put that's purely aesthetic. Glare is a nuisance with this device, although cranking brightness to max helps a bit. It's not nearly as bad as on a DS (fat version at least) or PSP (1000 version at least), but just don't expect yourself to be sitting in direct sunlight with your iPod and seeing things as clear as day. These are bother minor problems though and easily overlooked.

    The iPod Touch does get iOS4 but the main complaint is its lack of multitasking or custom wallpapers. You still get the ability to make folders and iADs gamecenter, but none of the huge stuff. I mean it's worth the upgrade but it's not a necessity and 3.1.3 or 3.1.2 run just as fine.

    <b>Appraisals</b>

    Now, appraisal is due where it's due. One of my favorite little things about the iPod Touch is the Lock/Sleep feature here. One press of the Lock button (on top of the device) turns the screen blank. A Lock feature has been on every iPod since the first days of iPods but I love it here due to its battery saving. Instead of turning on/off your iPod every time you want to save battery, just click the Lock button and leave it. It saves tons of battery and is easily unlocked by hitting the lock button again and sliding across the lock on-screen. And since the iPod only senses touch inputs from your finger (and probably a few other things), you won't worry about it unlocking while it's sitting on your pocket or in a bag. Plus if it does hit the Lock button, it'll quickly go back to sleep in a few seconds unless it gets a touch input.

    The GUI here is also very slick and responsive. Navigating music, videos, or the Home screen with your finger is very easy to do and very polished. You can touch and drag quickly, let go, and it'll still keep moving until it slows down in accordance to how fast you swiped. It's really cool. And while controls differ from app to app, the most common controls like dragging two fingers apart/inward for zooming out/in or double tapping for a preset zoom in/out is nice as well.

    The accelerometer is also put to great use with the device. While it's used in some games to race a car or what not, it's used in navigation by switching the iPod to a widescreen mode. This works best with the keyboard, which switches to a wider and more common keyboard. I've gotten to type pretty well on the sideways keyboard, especially with all the texting I'm using it for. Plus some things generally look better in widescreen. Mind you not all apps support a widescreen mode, but most do.

    Battery life is also pretty impressive. Sources say the iPod Touch can do 36 hours of audio and 6 hours of video. Mind you, this is all relatively to brightness settings too, but even then it's still got nice run time. Usually for other general usage apps they consume next to nothing, although games on the other hand can really suck battery life out of your iPod (depending on the game and brightness). Charging is also rather quick, taking only a couple of hours to get a full charge.

    <b>Final thoughts</b>

    As I said before, the iPod Touch helps scratch an itch between a cellphone (not smartphone) and a laptop or computer, and it functions very well in that respect. Mind you, in today's age, that gap is become very small now, as cellphones are starting to give away more to the increasing number of smartphones. It still works as a great portable media device, although some annoyances like small storage size and lack of formats for music and video are annoying. Regardless, if you find you have the itch I mentioned before and need it scratched, here's a great device to do that.

    <b>Pros and Cons</b>

    Pros:
    + Great range of useful apps
    + Good game library
    + Internet browsing works wonderfully
    + Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and other popular sites have their own apps
    + Lightweight and easily portable
    + Slick GUI
    + Strong battery life
    + Nice music and video playback
    + Lock/Sleep mode is great to use
    + Strong WiFi connection
    + Built-in speakers
    + Lots of usages will keep it an essential for on-the-go
    + Widescreen mode for most apps

    Cons:
    - Limited media formats
    - iTunes is a lousy manager (third party managers are available though)
    - Some App Store apps are useless
    - Smudged almost constantly
    - Requires high brightness to work well in sunlight
    - Small storage capacity
    - No external storage options

    <b>Overall score</b>

    <!--sizeo:5--><span style="font-size:18pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo-->8.8/10<!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    <b>Links</b>

    - <a href="http://gbatemp.net/t217392-complete-jailbreak-guide" target="_blank">Complete Jailbreak Guide</a>: For jailbreaking your iDevices. Just because I didn't mention it doesn't mean you shouldn't do it! Contributed by your lovely GBAtempers.
    - <a href="http://gbatemp.net/t242520-essentials-idevice-apps" target="_blank">[Essentials] iDevice Apps</a>: A list of essential apps for your iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad, voted on by you and updated by me.

    Side note: This review was done with a used iPod Touch, 16GB, 2nd generation. Any inherent problems (such as minor scuffs on the casing or any screen scratches) were not taken into account. If you want to complain about this, then that's too bad. I don't get free samples for anything, I have to buy all my shit. So can it.

    So, how did I do?

    EDITS: Just forgot to add Links and minor formatting errors. Nothing major.\

    EDIT #2: ifish reminded me on some additional iOS4 features. Changed that section accordingly; score remains unaltered.
     


  2. Devin

    Member Devin "Local Hardware Wizard"

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    Nice Guild. So, overall should I get it? I have a guy, that I might trade my PSP 2000, for the exact model that you reviewed. Here are some questions.

    Is the web browser fast, or is it mostly dependent on your Wifi connection.
    Is it covered under warranty? For how long? What if you jailbreak it?
    Does it have built in speakers? Hows the quality?
    The firmware IOS allows Multi-tasking right? Have you tried it out? Opinion?
    Anything else I should know about thats not in your review? This could make or break this deal. xD

    You may have answered some of these questions, but I'm still reading it.
     
  3. iFish

    Member iFish Slower than a 90s modem

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    Um.... they don't make the 16GB anymore the 8GB is the iPod 2G

    32 - 64 GB is the iPod 3G. which has all the iOS 4 features nativly.

    Just sayin' nice review [​IMG]

    iOS 4 also added folders, iADs gamecenter. so it is worth the upgrade
     
  4. Guild McCommunist
    OP

    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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  5. Dialexio

    Member Dialexio GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Safari is decent on the iPod touch 2G. Opera is... different, but pretty speedy (considering the iPod's specs). Remember that the iPod touch 2G only supports 802.11b/g (and not 802.11n).

    If you buy a new iPod, it comes with a one-year warranty and 90-day phone support. Jailbreaking will void this warranty, but you can cover up your tracks (or fix a fuckup) with a (DFU) restore.

    To quote Steve Jobs, the speaker is for "casual listening." (In other words, shit.)

    IOS only handles security and I/O. [​IMG]
    In all seriousness, the iPod touch 2G does not support multitasking or custom wallpapers on iOS 4.0 (but you can enable it).
     
  6. iFish

    Member iFish Slower than a 90s modem

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    Guild, the iOS we have jailbroken multitasking. is the smae as on third gen devices [​IMG]
     
  7. Devin

    Member Devin "Local Hardware Wizard"

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    Thanks. I just finished reading the guide. It's very informative, and I like the format you used. Looks like I'll being going along with the trade. [​IMG]
     
  8. Guild McCommunist
    OP

    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    I still won't mention it in the review as it is an average consumer review, meaning jailbroken features are not taken into account. So the review will still state that iOS4 doesn't give multitasking.
     
  9. iFish

    Member iFish Slower than a 90s modem

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    Hehe, no problem.

    But i was just saying. apple does not make them anymore [​IMG]
     
  10. Urza

    Member Urza hi

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    A review for an incredibly popular device released almost two years ago?

    Who do you think is actually going to read this?
     
  11. Devin

    Member Devin "Local Hardware Wizard"

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    I did. Last time I checked I was a somebody. [​IMG] I went ahead, and traded my PSP. Guild's review was basically, the final approval of the trade. xD
     
  12. I2aven's_Sag

    Member I2aven's_Sag GBATemp Otaku

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    People who don't want to pay the premium for newer hardware.
     
  13. Urza

    Member Urza hi

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    Except there are thousands and thousands of existing reviews which are far more comprehensive and accurate than the one here.
     
  14. BakuFunn

    Member BakuFunn Flameproof.

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    Just so you don't go bogging down your iPods, the jailbreak multitasking is much more intensive than the official one because it keeps apps running in the background as if they were in focus. The official method actually halts the app, so it does not consume any processing cycles, but takes up more RAM, if I recall correctly. I'd suggest not multitasking on any devices bar the iPhone 4 for fear of massive slowdowns.

    Also, if you've jailbroken, you can go ahead and delete some iPhone daemons that are in the firmware. It'll save some ram for your device, and give you a little elbow room for lag. It won't affect your iPod's functions whatsoever, because the daemons are iPhone specific (Though I have no clue as to why Apple did not take them out for you), unless you delete some functions you don't need, such as spotlight. I've done it, and it significantly sped up my first generation iPod.
     
  15. Guild McCommunist
    OP

    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    Yeah, eventually I started noticing it when I was like "Oh, I have multitasking". I just make sure to not keep stuff running in the background unless I need to, like if I'm copying something from Notes to say Contacts or what not. Just as a bad example.
     
  16. iFish

    Member iFish Slower than a 90s modem

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    The only reason i use the apple tasker. is because. it halts the app [​IMG] i just browse hte web in bed, and irc. and irc does multitask.

    So.. yeah
     
  17. Overlord Nadrian

    Banned Overlord Nadrian Banned

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    Limited media formats kill it for me. And the fact that I have never been able to get any of Apple's products to work for me (iPods with the touch scroll wheel or whatever it's called don't register my finger movements, and neither does the iPod Touch's touch screen; I suppose I'm too 'cold-blooded' for it [​IMG]).

    So, to me, having seen the ins and outs of the thing looking at my brother using it (and telling him to do this or that with it because I can't do it), I'd give it a 7. They're not worth all the money. You can get PMP's for a much lower price, with higher storage capacity, more media formats (if not all) and expandable memory, which is something the iPod Touch (and I think the iPhones too but correct me if I'm wrong) lack and makes them useless IMHO. I listen to my music in the FLAC format, which the iPod Touch doesn't support, and those also need A LOT of storage space (eg: an average CD is already half a GB), so I'd never choose an iPod.

    ...

    I love my fully Rockboxable Sansa Fuze.

    On another note, lol at Urza.
     
  18. Jamstruth

    Member Jamstruth Secondary Feline Anthropomorph

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    My iPod 3G seems to handle it quite well. But its gets it allowed natively. Had one really bogged down time in which I struggled to turn it off and clear the iPod. Is there any way to not multi-task while exitting an app?
     
  19. Guild McCommunist
    OP

    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    My old iPod with the scroll wheel and the Touch have been as responsive as can be for me, I guess you're just an odd case [​IMG]

    I've been thinking of getting a new media player though and a Sansa Fuse + 16GB MicroSD seems like a good deal for me. I do like my old iPod but it's getting old and having some issues. I'm not really using my iPod Touch for music. I keep some on there for the hell of it but mainly it's for texting, games, and other general usage.
     
  20. BakuFunn

    Member BakuFunn Flameproof.

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    When I mean iPhone 4, it's essentially the latest generation. The 3G iPod comes very close to the iPhone 4, so it should be fine. The unofficial method still will eat your battery and rape your ram. That method IS useful at times, though. We'll see to the buff in the fourth generation iPod.

    The only way to stop multitasking is to manually go through the whole process of holding an app in the tray and tap the little X. Another way is to dig into the plist files set the key UIApplicationExitsOnSuspend to true. I'm not sure how to do this, but I'm sure a bit of searching will yield results. That will make every app terminate upon exit, and I'm assuming based on intuition, that to enable multitasking, just open the tray and switch to another instance. Apple should have made apps terminate on exit, with a double tap to enable.
     
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