There was a day in the Head-Fi timeline when the iPod was king. Those days are gone and rarely do you even see or read about anybody using one. They have somehow slipped from the limelight and have been replaced here by other DAPs. The audiophile market is fast changing and stuff is always being improved upon and replaced. This review is going to be slanted and biased due to me being a longtime Apple fan. I have currently an iPhone 1,2,3,4 and pretty much every iPod and an iPad 2. I own an iBook and 2014 Pro for whatever that's worth to state here? So if anything this review talks about how Apple has changed the Touch and how stuff has improved and changed. I'm going to talk about the interface and the sound of the 5th generation Touch as that's all I really care about with the unit.
Below is the Head-Fi thread that sold me on buying this device. Once again Head-Fi has helped remove my money.Lol.
So the first thing I did after taking it out of the box was charge it for eight hours. I downloaded and upgraded to Apple iOS7.1.1 then added 320kbs MP3s. Rumor has it that we will see an upgrade to iOS7 to iOS8 on June 2nd 2014. There are speculations that 24 bit /192 kHz file formats will be supported. At that point I will add an addition to this review at the bottom.
The first thing you notice is this thing is thin. I feel they have reached the margin of thin here. A device any thinner would maybe break in half if you leaned up against a wall and it was in your pocket. The iPod generation 5 wins the award as the lowest weight Touch DAP I have ever seen. This thing gets sexy points for being as thin as it is. All the later Shuffle and Nano models are very light too but not as thin.IMO
Because of the bevel on the edge it gives you the perception that the thing is as thin a Ritz cracker at times. It is of course thicker but the trick of putting a bevel edge like a watch adds to the size misunderstanding.
Height: 4.86 inches (123.4 mm)
Width: 2.31 inches (58.6 mm)
Depth: 0.24 inch (6.1 mm)
Weight: 3.04 ounces (86 grams)
These are the specs on the lowest cost 16GB model priced at USD $229
802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz)
Maps: Location-based service
Nike+ support built in
FaceTime HD camera with 1.2MP photos and HD video (720p) up to 30 frames per second
Tap to control exposure for video or stills
Photo and video geotagging over Wi-Fi
3.5-mm stereo headphone jack
Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Music playback time: Up to 40 hours when fully charged
Video playback time: Up to 8 hours when fully charged
Charging times: Fast charge in about 2 hours (80% capacity), full charge in about 4 hours
Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
Audio formats supported: AAC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), HE-AAC, MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
User-configurable maximum volume limit
AirPlay mirroring and video out to Apple TV (2nd and 3rd generation)
Video mirroring and video out support: Up to 1080p through Lightning Digital AV Adapter and Lightning to VGA Adapter (adapters sold separately)
H.264 video up to 1080p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 4.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format
I truly thought that the screen was going to be the same as my phone. I never think stuff is going to change that much. Due to the new Multi-Touch IPS technology where your touch sensors sit inside the glass and not under it, the user interface experience has changed a ton. If anyone has spent hours writing or web browsing with an Apple phone, then you just know how the screens react to your touch. An Apple phone user knows the detail they can pin-point on the screen and the response they should get in return.
The 5th generation Apple Touch offers a new style of interface experience by sensing your touch in a more sensitive and detailed way. The interface is bright and well thought out. It offers a natural, smooth and fast interaction being almost too fast at times. The 326 pixels per inch is not a groundbreaking level of technology as far as the Retina displays go, but it has something to it that really makes photographs snap. Anyone who has used Macs or PCs for Photoshop knows that generally PCs offer a lower contrast viewing experience with Apple displays offering a higher contrast level across the board. Normally your photographs on low contrast will look just right on a Retina display with high contrast images being just on the edge of too much.
4-inch (diagonal) widescreen display with Multi-Touch IPS technology
1136-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 pixels per inch
800:1 contrast ratio (typical)
500 cd/m2 max brightness (typical)
Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
I use the Touch for web surfing and listening to music. The amazing thing is that the Touch has 100s and 100s of applications allowing the device to become a small recording studio with Garage Band. It can become a bike computer as well as doing pretty much anything except generating warm fresh bread. The 32GB and 64GB have a 5 megapixel camera and LED flash and come in weighting 2 grams more.
The Safari web browsing experience is truly better than any product this size. iOS7 offers a browser which is super fast and allows you to go and do what ever you want on-line. The 4 inch diagonal improved screen size is exciting. Now you really have a usable screen from almost edge to edge on the device. This is no silly unit where you turn it on to see this tiny monitor surrounded in an ocean of dark black glass. Super bright, super responsive and super big. I almost want to say it is the perfect size, if there truly is one. If anybody has lived with a phablet then you know that there is always this size to screen-size tradeoff.
The fifth generation iPod Touch features the Apple A5 chip which is similar to the one on the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and the iPad Mini. The chip comprises a 1 GHz dual core ARM Cortex-A9 processor and a PowerVR SGX543MP2 (2-core) GPU making it faster than the fourth generation iPod Touch, which uses the Apple A4 chip.
There was something very different at first when plugging in headphones. I have been listening to iPods for 10 years so I'm used to it. This time the plug would only go so far and stopped maybe a 10th of an inch before snugging up to the device. I used some more force and the plug now entered into the unit fully creating a snap sound. This was not scary but a little alarming on first try. It was kind of a first message that stuff was maybe a little different this time around. They must have started using a new plug system. Everything is fine and just like it is suppose to be but after plugging into Apple products for awhile this new plug is something to get used to. It feels like any plug you plug in is locked in somehow.
No, really.......How does it sound?
It is louder. I have only a guess that it is 10-20% louder than anything else they have made. Louder than the iPad2 louder than any iPod. The Cirrus DAC chip has replaced any Wolfson Microelectronics DAC chip. Some think the chip is the Cirrus Logic CS35L19 DAC others think it is custom made for Apple. The benefit is this device has the little extra power out-put to not need an added amp for many headphones. I actually use it directly running Denon AH-D 7000 full size headphones. With the Denons it can not be run even close to full volume but the extra power gives you a much better damping factor adding to better PRaT. The bass is fantastic as is the soundstage and highs. This very small device ends up being the most powerful Apple product I own. I hope that Apple will continue on this trend. For a lot of years I was on the Wolfson side of the street but the 5G is a game changer. I can only imagine what future products hold for folks like me who like to run straight out of an iPod. I still have a bunch of stuff to try with this DAP but right away I can state that no one would feel let down by the power or SQ. Add the operating system, file organization and build quality and you have a great value for $229.
This whole sound signature thing is very personal. The G5 iPod Touch is ruler flat in frequency response. This unit is as uncolored as you could find in any DAP. If your into a sound signature, it is not here. This device is not warm or cold. This device is not dark or bright. Just perfect digital sound across the board.
Some folks will not like the fact that you can't just pop in memory cards. The other drawback it that these things are completely unserviceable except by Apple with a contract. The battery is not something you could change out. The normal lifespan of an Apple battery is about 4 or 5 years with heavy use and not leaving them in hot cars or charging them wrong. So many DAPS are going to have benefits above the Apple with long-term ownership battery replacement.
With the above said, the build quality is really good. Gone are the shinny polished backs that chicks could do their eyes with pocket mirror style. In are brushed aluminum one piece backs and one piece glass fronts with oleophobic coating.
My Final Thoughts
I have no truly scientific way of determining the output volume. Some of my collection of headphones allow me to listen at full volume directly out of an iPad2 or the iPhone4. A nice volume level on these same headphones using the iPod Touch Generation 5 is at 1/5 below full volume.
Having this extra amp power is the deal maker for me anyway. I can truly say the unit puts out 20% more volume than any Apple product I have used so far. The extra power gives me what I was looking for. The sound is full and dynamic straight out of the unit with no extra equipment needed. When you combine this element with the build quality and user interface flow, it makes the product a complete 10/10 in my eyes.
Why I have not read about this power increase here at Head-Fi is a wonder. Other iPod threads have touched on it a little but to many the new level of power amp quality is not that big of a deal.
- Apple A5 dual-core processor, with 4 Gb (512 MB) of Mobile DDR2 RAM.
- Toshiba THGBX2G7B2JLA01 128 Gb (16 GB) NAND flash
- Apple 3381064 dialog power management IC (similar to the Apple 338S1131)
- Murata 339S0171 Wi-Fi module
- Broadcom BCM5976 touchscreen controller
- STMicroelectronics low-power, three-axis gyroscope (AGD3/2229/E5GEK)
- Apple 338S1116 and 338S1077 Cirrus Audio Codec
Edited by Redcarmoose - 5/27/14 at 1:11am