iPod Touch 6th Generation Review – When Your Phone is Not Enough

iPod Touch 6th Generation Header

The iPod technology has gone a long way since its inception. The latest Apple iPod Touch 6th Generation release date was July 15th this year, making this device nearly half a year old now, and was a much needed upgrade to the series – considering it was the first it got since 2012. It came to compliment the iPod Touch family with hardware and features at least comparable to the iPhone 6 that got released at about the same time.

Enter 2015 and one asks themselves why you would ever consider a separate device for your music when you’ve got a hefty amount of storage space on your smartphone and there are more music streaming services than you can count. The reasons are plenty; for example, if you’re like me and you like to physically collect your entire collection of songs, storage vanishes when you least expect it. Furthermore, depending on your contract, streaming music may prove to not be as affordable when it comes to your data usage when you’re out and not connected to some Wi-Fi.

It’s already a running gag that people call the iPod Touch 6th generation an iPhone without the phone part. And from most perspectives that’s actually true: as long as you’re connected to the internet through Wi-Fi, you can pretty much do anything you would on your phone by just using your iPod. Not to mention that it looks just like a phone – a combination of the iPhone 5 size and the iPhone 6 design to be precise – with a few aesthetic and functional differences.

So if you’re considering hopping on the bandwagon of either taking some pressure off of your phone with music storage or just expanding your collection of Apple products and upgrading to the newest versions, here’s what you should be looking forward to as well as the less satisfactory parts of it all.

Pros:

  • Great technology
  • Great camera
  • Cheaper than an iPhone
  • Versatile

Cons:

  • Still expensive in terms of music players
  • Some may consider it small
  • It lacks some vital features such as GPS

iPod Touch 6th Generation Design

With the risk of repeating myself, I’m still undecided which iPhone the iPod Touch 6th Generation reminds me of. It’s like Apple put a little of each iPhone into this music player: the rounded edges seem a lot more similar to the iPhone 6 than the 5 for example but the size is reminiscent of the latter. Take a look at the home button and we’re actually taken back to the iPhone 4.

iPod Touch 6th Generation vs iPhone 5

Frankly, from an aesthetic point of view, not much has changed for the 6th generation of the iPod Touch: it looks identical to the 5th generation and actually shares the exact same dimensions: 123 x 59 x 6.1 mm. While that may be unsatisfactory for a number of people who are already more accustomed to much larger displays, the iPod is an amazingly light and sleek device. At only 88 grams, you’ll find it hard to believe that anything really changed, even from a hardware perspective.

Visually, the only distinction you will see when you put the 5th gen iPod Touch next to a 6th gen is the loop button on the back of the device. With the 5th generation of iPods, Apple had added a button you could press on the lower left of the device’s back that would pop out and allow you to put a strap on it kind of like they used to do on older mini digital cameras. The 6th generation however has given it up completely with no notice to speak of.

iPod Touch 6th Generation Back and Bottom

iPod Touch 6th Generation Back

Everything else – buttons, slots and whatnot – are in the exact same place Apple left them in with the 5th generation. The power button still rests at the top, similar to the placement on the previous generation as well as the iPhone 5 models. The volume rocker – or rather the two volume buttons – are still placed on the left hand side. The bottom of the phone hosts a 5-hole punctured speaker, the lightning charging port featured in all of the more recent Apple handheld devices as well as a classic 3.5 mm audio jack.

iPod Touch 6th Generation Volume Rocker

The back of the 6th generation iPod Touch still displays the Apple logo, the plastic strap on the top right side under which lie the Wi-Fi card as well as the Bluetooth receiver. The camera sensor protruding in the top left corner still maintains the design of its predecessor: while the edges around the sensor do stick out the tiniest bit, they shouldn’t worry you that much as they aren’t as exposed to damage as you would think. And chances are you won’t even notice them when laying the iPod Touch flat on a surface.

As a disappointment to some, the front of the new iPod Touch 6th Generation still hasn’t adopted a fingerprint reader similar to the iPhone 5 and beyond and is still stuck with the same classic Apple home button that only has the return to menu or screenshot functions. The top also hosts the front facing camera – not necessarily an outstanding piece of hardware (front facing cameras rarely are), but still one of the better ones you can get.

iPod Touch 6th Generation Color Variants

iPod Touch 6th Generation Color Variants

Just like its predecessor, it comes in a variety of colors for you to enjoy: Space Gray, Silver, Blue, Pink, Red and the new Matte Gold – replacing the old “Yellow” variant that could be found in the 5th generation of the iPod Touch.

iPod Touch 6th Generation Display

If there’s anything that Apple really excels in, it’s the great effort that the developers put into the display. While it may not reflect through resolutions and pixel density alone, there is a certain level of vibrancy and color sharpness. While Apple is really not the sole practitioner of amazing displays anymore and many others are really able to compete head to head with them, the iPod Touch 6th Generation really doesn’t lower the bar on the quality we’ve grown accustomed to.

iPod Touch 6th Generation Packaging

The display that it comes with is only 4 inches, and this is by far the biggest problem some people may encounter with the iPod Touch 6th generation. It’s a real shame too, considering that the iPod doesn’t skimp on features and capability of serving as a trusty entertainment medium. At least as long as you’re connected to Wi-Fi. Not to mention that at least when used as a music player, I find it hilarious that any one would truly care about the display size; especially when considering that the higher the display, the more difficult it is to carry and handle the device (remember the iPod Nano? That’s what I would call practical if it wasn’t for the limited space).

iPod Touch 6th Generation vs iPod Nano

The screen has a native resolution of 1136 x 640, which in combination with its overall size makes up for a pixel density of 326. While displays of smartphones can go up to much more than that doesn’t mean the iPod Touch display lacks in crispness. Reading small text is a breeze and images and video look clear and well defined.

Thanks to the 800:1 contrast ratio and 500 cd/m2 max brightness, the iPod Touch Retina display makes for a great tool to use for watching movies. While the whites are brilliant and the blacks are deep, there is a tangible difference between this device and the latest iPhone 6; you shouldn’t expect the same level of detail on the iPod as you normally would on your smartphone.

Just like in all of the other Apple products, the display is covered in a fingerprint resistant oleophobic coating. While that makes the screen relatively resistant to scratches and smudges, I’d still opt for a screen protector just for safe measure. One downside of the iPod Touch 6th generation iteration is that it doesn’t feature the Force Touch technology, however.

iPod Touch 6th Generation Specifications & Performance

While the outside of the iPod Touch 6th generation is identical to its predecessor, both in looks and on paper, the true difference lies inside the device. The whole purpose of the new update in the iPod family of products was to match up to the newer iPhone 6 standards. Much of the hardware that you can find in the iPod Touch doesn’t exactly come up to par with the one you can find in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but it’s still an impressive set.

One of the most important upgrades that the iPod got is the shift from the A5 32-bit dual core @800 MHz processor to one of the newest A8 64-bit dual core @1.1 GHz core processing unit. That’s a considerable upgrade, especially given the fact that the technology adopted in the 5th generation of iPods would’ve been about 3 years old by now. Put side by side to run the same kind of applications, the two iPods’ performance display a huge difference.

The RAM memory also got an increase from the 512 MB found on the 5th gen to 1 GB that our focus device features. That’s equal to the amount you get on the iPhone 6, but less than the iPhone 6S models feature. That means that individual applications will really have no trouble running smoothly and without registering any frame drops but multitasking and switching from one app to another especially when you have multiple running may feel a little slower than what you’re used to on your state-of-the-art smartphone.

When it comes to storage options, Apple has added a fourth and largest variant – the 128 GB version compliments the 16, 32 and 64 GB iPods respectively. While it does spike up in price a fair amount, the 128 GB version will probably really cover anything you need, even for the most dedicated music aficionados. On the other hand the iPod Touch 6th generation 16GB version is probably better for individuals who split their interest in the device in both the jukebox and app perspectives.

iPod Touch 6th Generation Benchmarks

The iPod Touch 6th Generation scores surprisingly well on benchmarks too, keeping up and even exceeding some high-rated smartphones in the final ratings. The iPod scored 15,414 in the 3DMark Benchmark, 1,379 in Single-core Geekbench 3 and 2,440 Multicore Geekbench 3. As a comparison, the iPhone 6 scores 17,202 in the 2DMark benchmark, 1,623 in single-core and 2,913 in multi-core Geekbench 3 respectively.

iPod Touch 6th Generation Features

Luckily, the iPod Touch 6th Generation comes loaded with the latest iOS 9, including every single special feature that got released with it. In essence, if you own an iPhone, imagine you’d completely remove the mobile phone functionality from it. You don’t get to make or receive calls, or use texts and mobile data as you can’t buy a price plan from a carrier for it. Anything else that is part of your mobile phone experience however will be there for you to enjoy. So while you won’t be able to text, you should still be able to use any of the social media communication services – Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, you name it.

In addition, there are a few new things that came with the latest iteration of the iOS – features that you’ll be able to find on the iPod Touch too. One of them is the health app that’s made possible thanks to the sensors built into the device: a three-axis gyrometer and an accelerometer. The latter is the sole reason your phone will be able to track your steps and, along with your manual input or over 1500 third party health-related apps keep a good record of your health.

HomeKit is another addition that made its way to the latest version of the iOS and basically allows you to centralize of your home controls into one application that can be controlled through voice commands via Siri. Lights, appliances, doors and locks all can be controlled remotely through your iPod Touch.

CarPlay is the last brand new addition of the iOS 9 operating system update, which makes a point of giving you a safe way to use your Apple products while driving by allowing a combined control through voice commands and by letting the iPod become your dashboard interface.

iPod Touch 6th Generation Camera

There’s an undeniable upgrade that was brought to the iPod’s camera if we’re to compare the 5th generation of the device to the latest. While the iPhone 6 camera still comes out victorious in the quality duel, you can actually start considering your iPod’s cameras as realistic alternatives when you want to take photos. Or even shoot videos.

The rear camera is an 8-megapixel iSight that presents itself with an f/2.4 aperture – not the fastest out there but still pretty decent. Pretty much anything you could do with your iPhone camera you can do with the iPod Touch 6th Generation rear camera: that includes HDR photos, slow-motion video recording, time-lapse recording, panoramas and much more. Truthfully, video capture is capped at 30 frames per second when shooting in 1080p, but can still pull off 60 FPS when shooting in 720p. There are certain things you would be missing on when using this camera, however – continuous autofocus being one of them. Slow-motion video capture isn’t as proficient as you would find on the latest iPhones, but still does a decent job at the 120 frames per second it can go up to.

iPod Touch 6th Generation Rear Camera

The front facing camera hasn’t received any upgrade to speak of, as it remains a decent 1.2 MP one. While the videos recorded with it will always tned to look relatively grainy, it at least comes with smooth frames per second score. It’s capable of 720p HD video recording and has anything you would ever ask for when it comes to getting the perfect selfie, including timer mode, improved face detection, burst mode and exposure control.

iPod Touch 6th Generation Battery Life

I wouldn’t be able to say that the battery life has been the strongest point of Apple products, ever. Unless you count the first two generations of iPods maybe, and even then I have seconds thoughts as my 2nd gen iPod’s battery power started dwindling a year into using it and a full charge would actually last me less than it had few months prior.

Now take a look at the iPod Touch 6th Generation that packs a much stronger A8 processor and yet the battery pack that’s supposed to power it up doesn’t go further than 1,043 mAh, hardly an upgrade from the previous generation of iPods (1,030 mAh). That’s bound to come at a pretty taxing repercussion: Apple guaranteed up to 8 hours of video playback and 40 hours of music playback time. In reality however, things are a little different and highly dependable on the options you settle for. At maximum brightness and HD, video playback or gaming may actually end up eating up an entire charge in about 4 hours, while lower settings can earn you another hour.

The good news however, is the fact that charging is particularly swift with the Lightning connector that most Apple products nowadays come with. With it you can get from 0 to a full charge in roughly 2 hours, something that makes up for the fact that with heavy use you will most likely end up charging the iPod Touch on a daily basis.

iPod Touch 6th Generation Verdict

So to wrap up, is the iPod Touch 6th generation worth it? Just like any other gadget, it really depends on preference. If you’re just looking for a music player because you don’t want to clog your smartphone’s storage space and nothing more – I’m sure you can find some alternatives. If you’re planning to use it as more than just a jukebox and actually benefit from everything else it can do – apps, fitness tracker, anything you can do over Wi-Fi – then the iPod Touch is really not that bad of a choice, especially considering its much lower price than a full-fledged iPhone for example. The fact that it wouldn’t be coming with an extra monthly charge in the form of a price plan can be just a bonus for some individuals.

You can purchase it as well as an entire collection of iPod Touch 6th generation cases directly off of the Apple website as well as most retailers who support Apple. The new 128 GB model however, is an apple.com exclusive purchase and cannot be found anywhere else. The Apple iPod Touch 6th generation price is $199 for the 16 GB model, $249 for the 32, $299 for the 64 and spikes all the way up to $399 for the 128 GB version.

Image Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

The following two tabs change content below.

Roxanne Briean

I am a geek, a gamer and a writer. I have always been fascinated with the online community. At the moment I work as a full-time writer and study interior design. When I'm not scouring the net in search of interesting new gadgets and software I spend my time in MOBAs or drawing.