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iPod Touch (6th Generation)
What's Hot: All the goodness of iOS in your pocket without a cellular contract. Great for gaming and Apple Music.
What's Not: Now that most folks own smartphones, the iPod Touch might seem atavistic.
Reviewed July 23, 2015 by Lisa Gade, Editor
in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)
Just when you thought it might be over for the iPod Touch since there hasn't been a refresh in 3 years (that's an eternity in the tech world) and phones seem to be replacing pocket media players... BOOM: Apple surprises us with the 6th generation iPod Touch. The new model looks much like the 5th generation: it's still insanely slim and incredibly light and it comes in an array of cheerful colors. Apple offers a few new colors to choose from, including the ever-popular gold, but the design is otherwise unchanged. OK, they did remove the little pop-up lanyard mount at the bottom corner. Perhaps no one actually used it or Apple wanted more room for the single speaker on the bottom.
What's important here is what's inside--this is the first iPod Touch that isn't a generation behind the current iPhone. That means you get the same dual core, 64 bit Apple A8 CPU as found in the iPhone 6, albeit clocked a little bit lower at 1.12 GHz vs. 1.4 GHz on the iPhone 6. It has the M8 Motion coprocessor, an 8MP rear camera and an improved front FaceTime camera. Here's the fine print: the 8MP camera's quality is more akin to the iPhone 5c or iPad Air 2, perhaps in part due to the slower f/2.4 lens that doesn't do fantastically in low light when compared to the iPhone 6. The screen is 4", which makes the generally small iPhone 6 seem big. That 4" screen is still Retina material with Apple's favored 326 PPI, and the resolution is 1136 x 640, like the iPhone 5c and 5s. The contrast ratio of 800:1 is very good, though not as impressive as the iPhone 6's 1400:1. Brightness is excellent at 500 nits, but you still don't get an ambient light sensor for auto-brightness.
Though the iPod Touch lacks a cellular radio, it's not devoid of communication possibilities thanks to VoIP and video chat apps like Apple's own FaceTime and Microsoft's Skype. It can even iMessage for text messages (as can most Apple products, even Macs). What you won't get is a monthly cellular bill, and that makes the iPod Touch perfect for young children or for those who just want to use an iOS device for portable gaming and music playback, including Apple's new streaming music service.
The iPhone 6 and iPod Touch.
The iPod Touch starts at $199 for the 16 gig model, and if you're buying it for gaming or to haul your music library with you rather than relying on streaming over WiFi hotspots, then you'll likely want a higher capacity model. The iPod is available in 16, 32, 64 and 128 gig capacities. Each storage increment raises the price by $50, except the highest capacity 128 gig model that's a $100 jump from the next highest capacity $299 64 gig version. Those prices are obviously much lower than an iPhone at full retail, and even late model used iPhones are often pricey. The iPod Touch 6th gen has 1 gig of RAM, as do the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Battery life remains the same despite a modest increase in battery capacity to feed the new A8 CPU. Apple quotes 8 hours of video playback and 40 hours of music playback, which is impressive for a device this thin and light. Imagine if Apple made the iPod Touch a bit thicker and significantly increased battery capacity--that might do well, but Apple's love of thinness makes it unlikely.
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