March 21, 2009

Tech View: iPod Touch 2G (32GB)

This morning I was looking at the slick piece of technology I was holding. It was not powered on, there was no glow from the screen, and I was not thinking about what I was going to do next on it. I just looked at the smooth, clean lines of the device and was just in awe. It is just one of, if not the coolest gadget I have ever owned. I say this without reservation, without hesitation, and with complete seriousness. The iPod Touch, or iTouch, is a device that completely baffles me with what it can do. I have to say that everyone must get one of these things. You will not be disappointed.

I remember when the first Touch came out. I looked at it and for the life of me could not figure out why anyone would want to spend that kind of money on a music player. Of course, I had not done any research into the unit to see what else it could do. It struck me as an overpriced novelty with no real purpose. Then the iPhone came out and I still had no interest. However, when the second generation (2G) unit arrived on shelves and the commercials began running in earnest, I have to admit to being a little intrigued.

This past Fall my Father admitted to having serious interest in the unit. This surprised the family. We had long been under the spell of the iPod, with numerous Shuffles, Minis, Nanos, and a 5G in the house, but the Touch never seemed to fall on the radar. Anyway, he expressed some desire to have one, but we knew he would not buy one for himself. My Mother decided to give him one for Christmas, knowing that there is no such thing as too much space, she got him a 32GB model.

Christmas came and his face lit up with glee as he opened the small package. He immediately got it out, turned it on and got it connected to our wireless network. He played with the apps, downloaded a few things, but with the busy day did not have a lot of time to spend on it. It did not take long before I appropriated it and promptly fell in love. Now I know why those who have them, love them. I decided I wanted one.

A couple of months later I made the decision to buy a new laptop (which I am currently using, a wonderful Acer 8930G). Since it was such a big purchase, I decided to "throw in" a 32GB Touch for myself. Why not? Since its arrival, it has not left my side.

I've loaded it up with about 10GB of music, a few more gigs of videos, and topped it off with a healthy dose of free applications. Not a day goes by where I don't make use of the unit, playing music, games, surfing the web, updating Facebook, and whatever else comes to mind. Each time I pick it up, I am in awe.

I try to think back a mere ten years about the state of technology and cannot believe I would ever imagine a unit like this. I had an earl Palm Pilot (the M105, I believe it was), I used it for some contact info and as a scheduler for what television shows I wanted to watch. Not terribly useful, and was annoying to carry around. Those days are gone with the arrival of the Touch.

The unit itself is none too large and houses a generous 3.5" screen, complete with great resolution. The controls are simple as can be on the solid feeling unit. There is the singular home key on the front, a sleep button on top, and a volume rocker on the left side. The bottom has the dock connector and headphone jack. It is all contained with a slick hardened glass front, with black accents, while the back is shiny rounded chrome. It is very comfortable in the hand.

Power the unit on and the main screen is revealed with links to the Safari web browser, calendar, email, YouTube, Maps, Weather, Clock, Notes, and Settings among others. More applications can be added through the App Store link, which can be accessed when connected to a wireless network (or through iTunes on your computer).

Navigation is a snap, tapping icons, swiping between screens, "pinch" zooming, and other motions seem completely intuitive. Quite frankly, I am utterly amazed by the ease of use, great interface, and cannot think of anyone topping it at this point. Not to mention the battery life is fantastic, after ~7 hours of music, .5 hour of video, and 1.5 hrs of web surfing and game playing, I still had a goo chunk of juice left. I probably could have gotten another 8-10 hours of music out of it.

I know, I sound like a gushing fanboy. Believe me, I do not mean to. I am no Mac lover, beyond the iPod line I have no interest in their computers. I am just completely in love with the device. It can do so many things that I do not want to remember when I did not have it.

Besides the games, productive applications, time wasting applications, and web surfing, it is also a pretty good multimedia device. Its high resolution screen looks great when playing any sort of video, even movies. I know that David Lynch is no fan, but I am not using it as a primary movie device, it is just cool to be able to watch a bit while waiting for an appointment or on the train. It provides solid music playback as well, and the overflow album art interface is a snap to use and helps replicate the feel of browsing.

It is true, this is no iPhone, not without a camera, GPS (although it has maps and can do a triangulation for your location), or phone. It still delivers the goods and is more than enough to satiate my needs and then some.

What else can I say? The device is spectacular.


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