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iPod touch 5G
Apple's perfect iPhone alternative?
 Handset: iPod touch 5th gen 
 Manufacturer: Apple 
 Price: £249-£329 
by Jonathan Morris
Apple has described the new iPod touch as an iPhone 5 without the phone. Is it setting expectations too high?

When the fourth-generation iPod touch came out, I opted to get one instead of an iPhone 4. I was happy with my existing Android phone but didn't want to miss out on the vastly superior selection of apps and games.

What I got, in effect, was a smaller, thinner iPhone and no contract or expensive monthly fees. The ability to get online with wi-fi only isn't really an issue in this day and age, even when travelling, although clearly the iPod touch isn't going to be convenient for people who need instant access to social networking or email.

The only downside was the lack of GPS, which kept the iPod touch from doubling up as a perfect satellite navigation device and a rather awful camera.

The fifth-generation iPod touch still lacks GPS, but Apple has certainly fixed the camera issue. In place of a terrible 0.7-megapixel camera (enough for 720p video, but pointless for photos), the new iPod touch has a 5-megapixel camera with a backside illumination sensor and an LED flash.

A vastly upgraded camera with added flash, although not quite iPhone 5 quality

It's now actually usable as a digital camera, or for recording Full-HD video. There's FaceTime calling in HD, too.

Colourful additions

What's more, it now comes in many more colours, thanks to the anodised aluminium casings that increase the choice from the traditional black and white to more adventurous colours like yellow and pink.

Choosing the colour will now be harder than the capacity, as Apple has kept things simple with a 32GB retailing at £249 or 64GB model at £329.

While the last iPod touch had the same Retina display as the iPhone 4, it wasn't the same screen, and one criticism concerned the rather lacklustre image in comparison to its phone-equipped brother. There's no such problem here - the iPod touch has exactly the same screen as the iPhone 5.

Minimal design and just 6.1mm thick: You wouldn't want it any other way

For people who play the numbers game, the slower processor might prove a dealbreaker, with the A5 chip sitting roughly between the iPhone 4 and 4S. It's not as quick as the A6 chip in the iPhone 5, but in reality the iPod touch is still nimble and doesn't demonstrate any signs of going slow.

There's plenty of life left in both the iPhone 4 and 4S, so developers won't be releasing anything that exclusively requires the power of the iPhone 5 for a good couple of years yet.

For your ears only

You also get the new Apple EarPods in the box, along with a USB cable to connect to the Lightning connector that has now replaced the original dock connector. It's time to either buy new accessories or invest in adapters.

There's no mains charger in the box, either, which Apple will gladly sell you separately - although you can use other mains/USB-adapters you might already own.

Lightning connector: Time to buy some new accessories or adapters

The EarPods are incredibly good considering they're standard issue. It's quite amazing to see how Apple has gone from shipping earphones that were only fit for the bin to something that could save you buying anything else at all.

They fit your ears comfortably and leak far less sound to those around you, which could be the best thing Apple has done in years - some peace and quiet from the questionable music tastes of others.

Going loopy

When Apple announced the new iPod touch 'loop', I sniggered at the thought of Apple reinventing a carry strap. Even so, it's clever.

Simply press the 'circle' in the bottom-left hand corner and a catch pops out, which you slip the loop over. To remove, slide and twist it off and pop the catch back in. If you've ever spent hours trying to thread in a traditional strap, you'll greatly appreciate this bit of design.

A serious iPhone alternative?

If you're reading this and wondering whether to buy an iPod touch or iPhone 5, or even perhaps the iPad mini, you'll be aware that there's plenty of choice. Apple is certainly hoping that you'll not just pick one device, and the company has carefully created an ecosystem for you to invest in.

For now, if you want access to all the latest full-screen apps but don't want an iPhone, the new iPod touch is the perfect alternative. It still looks amazing, it's more affordable than an iPhone, and it still comes with great specifications, even if it isn't quite as fast.

With Christmas looming, it's no surprise that Apple expects this to be a huge seller, proving that there's plenty of life left in the iPod brand.

Without the need to worry about SIM cards or contracts, I expect a lot of people will be hoping that one of these appears under the tree on Christmas Day.

Reviewer photo
Jonathan Morris 5 November 2012
Apple might not have given the iPod touch the same punch as the iPhone 5, but it hasn't compromised elsewhere and the super-thin casing and choice of colours make this a perfect way to enjoy iOS without any contracts
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Specs Size123.4x58.6x6.1mm
Battery8 hours video playback, 40 hours music playback - Fast charging (80% capacity in approx 2 hours)
Screen1136x640 pixel, 4-inch display (326PPI)
SoundMP3/AAC/Apple Lossless/AIFF/WAV
Input/OutputLightning connector, 3.5mm headphone jack
NetworkingDual-band (2.4/5GHz) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Nike+ Support
Other features5-megapixel camera, Full HD video, FaceTime HD camera (1.2MP), iPod touch loop (strap)
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