The audio issue is compounded by Apple's long-standing history of preventing iPod users from defining their own custom EQ settings. Apple's 20 built-in equalisation presets are handy but there's just no substitute for rolling your own five-band EQ curve. With the touch's emphasis on video playback, it would have been especially useful to have a surround-sound emulation effect similar to the Cowon A2's or Sony NWZ-S610's.
We've heard some complaints about the iPod touch's video performance but we found the overall quality to be good. Viewing angles are less than great, producing some colour and contrast shifting from even slight tilting. We also found that the glossy glass screen kicks back a lot of glare. Still, despite the common complaints, the touch is unquestionably the most video-worthy iPod yet.
With a battery life rated at 22 hours for music playback and five hours for video, the touch should offer more than enough time to get through a few flights or a roundtrip commute.
We think the iPod touch is a great product with lots to offer, but its premium price tag and limited capacity should give some shoppers pause. And while we're being picky, we also want the iPhone's notepad application, iTunes game support and stereo Bluetooth transmission. The ability to use the touch as an external storage drive like the iPod nano and iPod classic would also be a plus.
Don't assume that Apple's most expensive iPod is the best solution for your needs. If you're planning on watching a lot of video, high-capacity products such as the iPod classic or Archos 605 WiFi will allow you to load entire seasons of your favourite TV shows.
Also bear in mind that if you're not around an available Wi-Fi network, features such as the Safari Web browser, iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store and YouTube video portal won't mean much at all. While the iPod touch may not be the slam dunk we were hoping for, it is an unquestionably cool product that continues Apple's legacy of sleek, innovative design.
Available from AdvancedMP3Players.
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday