The good: The fourth-generation Apple iPod Touch, winner of CNET's 2011 Editors' Choice Award for portable media players, has been upgraded with new software and a boost in capacity.
The bad: The fifth-generation iPod Touch offers a larger screen, faster processor, and superior photo and camcorder quality.
The bottom line: The fourth-gen iPod Touch is Apple's second-best portable media player, with a price that will help you forget about No. 1.
Editors' Top Picks
Apple iPod Touch (5th generation, 32GB, black)
SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip (blue, 4GB)
Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 (black)
Apple iPod Nano (seventh generation, blue)
Set price alert
Editors' note (May 30, 2013): Apple has discontinued this version of the iPod Touch and replaced it with a $229 16GB fifth-generation model that boasts a larger 4-inch screen and faster processor, but has no rear camera. The 32GB and 64GB fifth-gen (2012) Touch models (with rear cameras) also remain on sale for $299 and $399, respectively.
If you're buying an iPod Touch for someone, this is not the iPod he or she wants. Trust me, people will want to open the box and see a shiny, colorful new fifth-generation iPod Touch. Your loved one will know the difference. The fifth generation has a wider screen, and a noticeably updated design, and is an all-around more smile-evoking device.
But if you're buying an iPod for yourself, there are plenty of things to recommend the fourth-generation iPod Touch. The most obvious being the $100 you get to keep in your wallet.
Priced at $199 when configured with 16GB of storage (twice what was offered last year for this price), the fourth-generation iPod Touch may be the most unappreciated product Apple sells. Its features, design, and performance were enough to earn it our Editors' Choice Award two years in a row, and the latest updates included with iOS 6 only help to refine an already excellent product.
Apple's iPod Touch maintains all of the core features that have made the iPod great over the years, such as music playback, photos, video, podcasts, audiobooks, and games. Many of the new marquee features found in the iPhone 5 and fourth-generation iPad 4 are also here, including iMessages, iCloud support, an HD camcorder, and FaceTime video calls.
The back of the 4th-generation iPod Touch includes a camera lens in the upper-left corner, along with a pinhole microphone.