iPhone Life magazine

Review: 4G iPod touch Unbox... Slimmer, sleeker and more powerful!

I doubt a day has passed that I haven't used my 2G iPod touch (8GB model) to check and respond to e-mail (and/or IM), web surf, play and stream music and video, watch TV, control my blu-ray player and media center PC, play games, explore the universe, learn a language (or try to), and even manage our web servers here at IPLife. The list goes on actually too long for this post, which is only the initial unboxing of a multi-part review on the new 4G. The iPod has proven a powerhouse of mobile capability, and is (IMHO) the premier Apple product of all time, though some would likely argue for the iPad in this category (or the iPhone). I'm an iPod person--from the very 1st gen device, to the Nano to the touch--and have had one from gen 1. It is the refinement of all those great features, and the addition of some fantastic new ones that convinced me to get a 4G iPod touch!

I was given my first touch as a present 2 years ago, so waited for the annual occasion to come round again before asking if I could have a new one. There really isn't anything wrong with my 8GB, 2nd Gen model, but if I want to keep writing about the latest apps and iOS features, I will have to uprade eventually (least that was my excuse). I have only managed to use up about half of the storage for apps,music, pix and data. So, if you don't want to splurge on the new models yet, getting a 2nd or 3rd Gen used model is a great way to experience one. Mine still has great battery life, and because I kept it in a case, it looks pretty much like the day I got it.

The new iPod touch 4G comes in a minimum of packing material (some 17% less according to the tech specs). My wife ordered it on-line and it arrived a few days later at her work (supposed to be a surprise... but she finally gave up the goods). I like that Apple doesn't waste a lot of resources on additional crap with their devices. They expect their users to be tech-savvy enough to go grab manuals or software from the web. From the weight of the box, I almost doubted there was anything in the container (thought maybe she was playing a trick on me). Turned out there was a new touch in there after all.

The kit comes with the touch unit itself, a small quick-tips foldout and some product info, earbuds, and a 30-pin sync cable. All of these items appear to not have changed much if at all in design specifics since my first iPod (though the 1st Gen came with a software disk and a firewire cable). The cables are the same clean-room looking, white color that has been embraced in Apple products for years. Also included are the obligatory Apple stickers (which I always use, by the way), though now they are a bit smaller than my last set.

The unit itself is very similar in size and shape to my current 2G. Save for the 2 added camera aperatures (a pin-hole on the front, and the HD camera on the rear in the upper-left corner), the surfaces on front and rear are much the same, though the amazing 3.5" 960X640 screen on the 4G is stunningly clear and bright. The 4Gs' glass-smooth, black face has a more rounded, smooth appearance, yet my 2G has a bit more concave back (making it slightly thicker).The home button is located in the expected place, and the 2 volume buttons are also in much the same position as on the 2G (thought the 2G has a sort of elongated rocker button).

The power button on the curved, top edge is on the right side (which caused me to fumble around for a bit). Along the bottom, the 4G sports the same standard 3.5mm audio jack and 30-pin cable connection ports that my 2G has. At 4.4 inches tall, and 2.3 inches wide, the 4G is slightly smaller, but the screen appears to be the same size in both units.

I did note some difficulty with the 4G, even before I had it completely configured (and during setup). It will not connect to my Sony dream machine dock for some reason. I didn't want to force it onto there (and break somthing), so have simply refrained from tring to connect it for now--same connector type, so not sure what the problem is? It does connect to the iDapt i4 power station (see my review here), and seems to charge up just fine. The next challenge I had was getting it to connect to iTunes. There isn't much you can do with a new iOS device until you sync with iTunes the first time (unless you want to jailbreak it, or do something equally audacious).

The 4G didn't do anything when I connected it the first time, and Win 7 reported an error trying to install drivers. I followed the quick-tip instructions, and went out and grabbed the latest iTunes version and rebooted (50-some MB download). Nothing still. Connected my 2G, and it connected to iTunes, and said there was an iOS update (4.1), so went ahead and waited the almost 1 hour it took to download a 330+MB sized image and install it to my 2G. Disconnected the 2G, and re-connected the 4G, this time holding down the sleep/home buttons...that did the trick I guess?

iTunes detected it and prompted to add it as a second iPod, or restore the original iPod image. I selected the configure as a second iPod option. The setup then prompted for me to choose what info from iTunes to sync, and after waiting another near-eternity, iTunes added my existing music, and apps to the new iPod.

In this initial post, I cover only the unboxing, basic specs and the startup experience of my new 4G iPod touch. Stay tuned for more 4G iPod touch coverage here at iPhoneLife.com!!

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Nate Adcock's picture

Nate Adcock is a system and integration engineer with experience managing and administering a variety of computing environments. He has worked extensively with mobile gadgets of all shapes and sizes for many years. He is also a former military weather forecaster. Nate is a regular contributor for the iphonelife.com and smartphonemag.com blogs and helps manage both websites. Read more from Nate at natestera.drupalgardens.com or e-mail him at nate@iphonelife.com.