Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ipod Touch

A couple days ago, I bought an 8GB iPod Touch. Why did I get a Touch instead of an iPhone? For some reason, everybody keeps asking me that. I keep having to justify my purchase, as though I'm an idiot for buying the Touch when the iPhone does everything the Touch does but so much more.

But here's the deal... I didn't want a phone, ok! First of all, the phone is about $100 more, and that's before the fees for the AT&T service, and before the cancellation penalty I'd have to pay to get out of my contract with Sprint. And why would I do that since I'm perfectly happy with Sprint? But that's another review for another time.

Anyway, I bought an iPod Touch. Deal with it, America.

But, yeah, I do wish I could've afforded an iPhone. I mean, it can do everything the Touch can but so much more! And that's saying a lot since the Touch is a pretty amazing piece of machinery.

First an foremost, it's an iPod, so that means it's a fantastic MP3 player with above average playback quality, an attractive appearance, an an absolutely amazing interface. It just looks cool and it's fun to use. It has something Apple refers to as a "revolutionary multi-touch interface." That means you can use your fingers to move stuff around. And it actually is kind of revolutionary. It's just fun and intuitive and comfortable. The items on screen seem to have real world weight, and scrolling through the menus feels a lot like using your fingers to spin a globe. It such a cool interface, and one that feels so right, it almost sucks going back to my laptop's touch pad after using the Touch for a long period of time.

The minimalist design, and the "multi-touch interface" does get kind of annoying when you're listing to music with the Touch in your pocket. Since there is only one button, all of the major features have to be accessed via your fingers on the screen. So that means you have to take the Touch out of your pocket every time you want to do something as simple as adjust the volume, skip to the next song, or pause the music. This isn't a deal-breaker by any means, but it is annoying. They should've thrown on a couple more face buttons that you could map to adjust the volume or control the music player.

But the Touch isn't just a music player. It's a multimedia device that also plays videos and... well... I guess that's it. Just music and videos. But, for its size, the video capabilities are pretty amazing. The screen is small, but it's crystal clear and looks pretty good. I'm not going to replace my widescreen TV or anything, but it's good enough to watch while you're on a plane or in the waiting room for your proctologist. It supports any videos you download from the iTunes music store, and it also plays MP4s, after you use the conversion program in iTunes.

The other key feature of the iPod Touch is the ability to log online via wi-fi.

This is totally the bomb.

Unlike the Wii or PSP, which took hours to configure to work online, the Touch automatically finds a list of available networks and connects in seconds. It's easier to get online with the Touch than it is with most laptops I've used.

And the browser is... pretty good. It's Safari, so it's reliable and fairly fast, if not all together exceptional. The screen is kind of small, but it senses if you're holding the Touch vertically or horizontally and tilts the screen to match. And you can double tap or "pinch" the srcreen to zoom in and out. It's not ideal, but if you want to be able to check facebook on a device you can hide in your pocket, this thing is a dream come true. Wi-fi is a bit of a battery hog, however, so you'll want to turn it off when you're not actively going online.

Email is also built in as a feature, and setting it up is as simple as syncing your music. You can either manually set up your email information, or plug it into your computer and let it pull your settings from your mail account. It's pretty nifty and works well. My only problem is nobody ever emails me. But it's still nice to have.

There's also a notepad, calendar, map feature that lets you search and find directions. This is also the bomb. As long as you're connected to wi-fi, it will find your approximate location and center in on that. Then type in, say, "starbucks," and it will point out every nearby location, with a link to the website and to step by step directions on how to get there. So far, this might be my favorite feature.

Rounding out the features are the built in youtube program, which seems weird but it's nice if you're into that kind of thing, weather, calculator, and stocks, which I'm sure is great but I wouldn't know since I don't care.

Do I wish I could make phone calls on it? Sure. I guess. But is it a fantastic multimedia device that also lets me get online? No doubt. It's an awesome iPod and I'm glad I got it, even if I have to take it out of my pocket every time I want to crank up the volume on "Walkin' in Memphis."

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