iPod Touch 4G vs 3G – Hardware Tour, Size And Retina Display Comparison

It’s only one year ago when I got gifted my 8GB iPod Touch 3rd generation and started discovering and enjoying the world of iOS and that ever-growing AppStore with thousands of cool apps and games. I was hooked almost instantly and used it extensively for a while, then all of a sudden, it started gathering dust in my drawer for a couple of months, and I was back in my old Symbian routine, using a Nokia E72 and N97 Mini. That was until I decided to take the iPod Touch back again, jailbreak it because I felt I was missing an opportunity there, and with multitasking enabled, we became the “bestest” of friends and stayed that way ever since. Lately, I’ve even been using it more and more, relying on it for all my Music and Gaming needs, for my RSS feeds with Reeder, for all my medical apps needs, and a lot of other functions too. Needless to say, those 8GB filled up pretty fast and I was battling the free MBs at least once or twice a week.

That was until the new generation of iPod Touch was announced, and the 32GB one was presented at a relatively affordable price, with all the novelties inside. I couldn’t help but cave in. And I’m pretty excited to say that I’ve been a happy happy camper ever since.

Click on all images to display the full resolution 12MP detailed photo.

The first thing that dazzled me when I unboxed the new 4th generation iPod Touch is how incredibly thin it felt. You’d imagine that with 32GBs instead of 8GBs, a new processor, more RAM, larger battery, retina display, front camera for Facetime, back camera with HD video capture, and a microphone, all added inside, it’d be much thicker than my previous 8GB 3rd generation iPod. No-Sir! Not at all. It’s less wide, less curvy and thinner. Incredible, I tell you. Until you see it with you own eyes, you wouldn’t believe it.

Following are a few shots of the two iPods side by side. You’ll notice that the older one has a much more visible metallic rim around the screen, no front or back camera, and a black patch on the back that is used for the WiFi reception I guess. This patch disappeared on the new version and my only guess is that Apple used the same wizardry as the iPhone 4 for that antenna. Also, please note that both iPods have a screen protector applied, but since I didn’t have any for the new one, I applied one of the old screen protectors, which being made for a slightly wider design, doesn’t fit so well, lets in some dust and is starting to peel off. I’m waiting for a nice Martin Fields screen protector from MobileFun.co.uk to be delivered.

Now, let’s take a detailed tour of the two. On the top, both iPods have the Power/Sleep button, which has been moved to the other side on the new generation. If you’re used to putting you iPod to sleep in a way, you’ll be a bit annoyed the first few times, then it’ll all go well. On the lower side, you’ll see that both models have the charging/sync’ing cable’s connector, as well as the 3.5mm headset plug. The 4th generation model adds a speaker, which was previously integrated into the cable connector (as it sounded to me) on the 3rd gen.

The right side is all clean on both models, while the left one has the volume buttons. These were a single unit on the old model and are now separate on the new one.

As a slight comparison and to show you exactly how thin the new iPod Touch is, I took a few shots of it next to the much famous Nokia E71, one of the thinnest smartphones released, and the N97 Mini, a chubby (yet not really that fat) handset. Look at the fourth image where I pile up the two iPods and still achieve slightly less thickness than the N97 Mini.

Now comes the interesting part. How is that Retina Display? Well, to tell you the truth, the Retina was the least thing I was excited about before getting this iPod. It seemed like a gimmick to me. I was much more interested in checking the HD video capture, iOS 4.0, the new processor and even the built-in microphone. But the Retina Display took me by surprise. It’s not good. No. It’s magnificently fantastic.

Even though pictures taken by a camera of both screens side-by-side can’t do it any justice, I wanted to show you that beautifully crisp Retina next to the regular screen of the 3rd generation iPod. I chose Reeder, the Google Reader app, which has a lot of text and will let you judge clearly the resolution of the screen. The new iPod is on the right in the next three images (but did I really need to tell you?). Notice how the old screen looks more yellow’ish by comparison, and seems almost blurred or smudged. In the 3rd picture, you can clearly see dots on the old iPod’s screen. Again, click on the images for the full-resolution detailed version.

Now there are a few cases where the differences are less visible, take for instance this dark image of the Nokia BH-905i from NokiaUsers. The Retina Display (lower one) is more crisp but it’s not that flagrant as with text like in the aboved pictures.

All in all? The new hardware on the 4th generation iPod is killer, the price of the 32GB one is basically realistic, the HD video capture (that I didn’t mention in detail here) is fantastic, the inclusion of a microphone lets me use Dragon Dictation, Audioboo, SoundHound and Skype without any separate micro, the faster processor and the new iOS 4.1 work flawlessly together, and the Retina Display amazes me a bit more everyday. I feel spoiled and sometimes frown when I go back to my N97 Mini.

So yes, before I was a geek with an iPod Touch. Now I’m a happy geek with an iPod Touch 4th generation.