iPod Touch (5th Generation) review

Bigger is better, if your thumb can take the strain

iPod touch 5th generation
Is the iPod touch still valid in our smartphone-dominated world?

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

The iPod touch 5th Generation feels nippy to use, and this responsiveness is one of its big advantages over the many different flavours of Android devices. But it's the App Store that's the real differentiator – apps in iOS just seems to look a little bit better, and the quality and range of apps is fantastic.


For apps that aren't designed for the new larger 4-inch screen, Apple drops in black bars over the unused portions of the screen. In practice you hardly notice, and you have the added advantage that games that are properly formatted now look better than ever.

There are some useful built-in apps, like Calendar, Reminders and Notes but the iPod touch really comes into its own once you connect it up to a Wi-Fi connection.

Apple iCloud

In Apple's world everything is filtered through the iCloud, which is no bad thing. One Apple ID and password gives you access to everything from the App Store to Email, notifications, video chat using FaceTime and messages using iMessage.

With your free account you also get 5GB of storage space online and any photos you've taken are automatically uploaded once you're in range of a Wi-Fi connection thanks to PhotoStream. It's all terribly convenient and all terribly Apple. Of course, things don't run so smoothly if you want to step outside of Apple's walled garden, but when it all works this well why would you want to?

Aspect ratio


The new screen size has the 16:9 aspect ratio that widescreen videos use, which makes it perfect for viewing movies. The iTunes Store (available on the iPod touch) is conveniently stuffed full of HD movies to rent or buy. You can of course watch movies you've acquired from elsewhere on your iPod touch by connecting it to your computer and using iTunes to transfer the movies across.

Annoyingly, iTunes will only play certain video formats, but software for encoding movies in a format that iTunes will play is plentiful and free, but it's still an annoying hoop that Apple makes you jump through. It would be so much easier if Apple eased up on the restrictions on the file types that iTunes can handle.

Slip further under Apple's hypnotic spell and get yourself an Apple TV and it's a breeze to mirror your iPod touch's display on your HD TV for big-screen entertainment.

It's worth noting just how versatile an iPod touch is – there's so much you can do with it, from playing music and movies to FaceTime video chat (thanks to a second front facing 1.2 megapixel, 720p, camera).

Graham Barlow
Senior Editor, AI

Graham is the Senior Editor for AI at TechRadar. With over 25 years of experience in both online and print journalism, Graham has worked for various market-leading tech brands including Computeractive, PC Pro, iMore, MacFormat, Mac|Life, Maximum PC, and more. He specializes in reporting on everything to do with AI and has appeared on BBC TV shows like BBC One Breakfast and on Radio 4 commenting on the latest trends in tech. Graham has an honors degree in Computer Science and spends his spare time podcasting and blogging.