Ap­ple iPods

Mar­tyn Casserly’s guide will help you find the best iPod

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

If you’re look­ing to buy an iPod, which one should you choose? The touch of­fers far more than just a sim­ple mu­sic player, com­ing equipped with es­sen­tially all the fea­tures of a fully fledged iPhone bar the call ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The nano is also a ca­pa­ble de­vice, but small enough to carry any­where, while the shuf­fle is sim­ple, in­ex­pen­sive, and tough – per­fect for the gym.

Choos­ing the best iPod is not an easy de­ci­sion, al­though Ap­ple has sim­pli­fied mat­ters some­what with the quiet re­tire­ment of the Clas­sic in 2014, after seven years of faith­ful ser­vice. In this guide we will com­pare the var­i­ous fea­tures of each iPod – such as ca­pac­ity, price, and bat­tery

life – to de­ter­mine which iPod is the one best suited for your needs.

Com­pare mod­els

iPods have come a long way since the ini­tial mu­si­conly de­vice that mag­i­cally ap­peared from Steve Jobs’ jeans pocket in Oc­to­ber 2001. Now you can buy mod­els that have full ac­cess to the in­ter­net, play movies, and even make video calls us­ing Ap­ple’s FaceTime tech­nol­ogy. All iPods are not cre­ated equal though, so here we round up the var­i­ous fea­tures of each model.

iPod shuf­fle:

In many ways the shuf­fle is prob­a­bly the most true to that orig­i­nal iPod, as it fo­cuses solely on play­ing au­dio. The lack of a screen has meant that in the past you had to re­mem­ber what was on the de­vice, and switch­ing be­tween tracks was a lot­tery. Now, with the im­pres­sive Voice Over fea­ture, the shuf­fle will read the name of the track, pod­cast, au­dio­book, or playlist to you and let you

choose the one you want to lis­ten to with nary a touch­screen in sight. This means you can have mul­ti­ple playlists on the de­vice with­out hav­ing to re­turn to your iTunes li­brary. It’s a sim­ple ad­di­tion, but it makes the shuf­fle a far more ca­pa­ble de­vice than past it­er­a­tions.

iPod nano:

The most ob­vi­ous fea­ture that dif­fer­en­ti­ates the nano and the shuf­fle is the 2.5in multi-touch dis­play. This en­ables the nano to have a range of in­cluded apps that broaden its ap­peal. Mu­sic is, of course, still the pri­mary func­tion, with the cool abil­ity to cre­ate Ge­nius mixes on the fly by tap­ping a but­ton while a song is play­ing; the de­vice will then au­to­mat­i­cally gen­er­ate a playlist from your li­brary based around that track. A screen also means video, with the nano hap­pily play­ing any me­dia synced to it from your iTunes ac­count. It’s ad­mit­tedly not the big­gest dis­play for Hol­ly­wood block­busters, but for quick fixes on the go, or to en­ter­tain the lit­tle ones, it does the job.

You can also store pho­tos on the nano, and a built-in FM ra­dio app makes it easy to keep up with the lat­est mu­sic, news or sport­ing events. If you are a Nike Fit­ness user then you’ll find the be­spoke app on the nano a handy ad­di­tion, as the de­vice dou­bles as a fit­ness tracker that can sync up to your NikePlus ac­count with de­tails of your work­outs. Bluetooth is also a use­ful fea­ture, as you can lis­ten to your tunes wire­lessly on Bluetooth head­phones, or con­nect to a num­ber of home and car speak­ers. Un­for­tu­nately it won’t work with Ap­ple Mu­sic.

iPod touch:

In the bat­tle of the fea­tures, the touch is in a dif­fer­ent cat­e­gory to its smaller sib­lings. As the only iPod to run a full ver­sion of iOS, the touch has ac­cess to the full App Store, with all the games, pro­duc­tiv­ity tools, so­cial me­dia, and cam­era apps that you’d ex­pect to find on an iPhone. The touch is also a fully func­tional in­ter­net de­vice, so brows­ing, chat­ting, and shop­ping are all avail­able via its 4in Retina screen. The built-in cam­era, while not quite up to the iPhone qual­ity, still of­fers great shots that will go well on In­sta­gram or Face­book – both of which are also avail­able. It’s eas­ily the most ad­vanced iPod there’s ever been, and with the cat­e­gory de­clin­ing due to the pro­lif­er­a­tion of smart­phones, it may also be one of the last.

Which iPod is right for you?

The first ques­tion you should ask your­self when con­sid­er­ing a tech­nol­ogy pur­chase is this: what do I want from the de­vice? It’s all well and good buy­ing the lat­est and great­est gad­get, but this will be a waste of money if you only in­tend to use a frac­tion of its ca­pa­bil­i­ties. If all you want is some mu­si­cal ac­com­pa­ni­ment while you work out at the gym, the touch is prob­a­bly overkill, al­though now that it in­cludes the M8 chip for fit­ness mon­i­tor­ing it might be ex­actly what you are look­ing for.

Con­versely the shuf­fle can be­come a very frus­trat­ing de­vice if you like to change the mu­sic you are lis­ten­ing to of­ten as it’s not very flex­i­ble: es­sen­tially shuf­fling the tracks you lis­ten to.

To lay out some of the more ba­sic ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the var­i­ous iPods avail­able we’ll start with the stor­age ca­pac­i­ties of each model.


With the iPod clas­sic now a dis­tant mem­ory those want­ing a large amount of stor­age on their iPod will find the op­tions rather lim­it­ing.

The iPod shuf­fle is avail­able with a rather hum­ble 2GB of stor­age, while the iPod nano boasts a more spa­cious 16GB. It’s worth bear­ing in mind that this means the shuf­fle can hold around 450 songs en­coded at 128kb/s, with the nano’s 16GB top­ping out at around the 4,000 mark.

The only model to go higher than 16GB is the iPod touch which is avail­able in 16-, 32-, 64-, and 128GB vari­ants. While it’s not quite the mam­moth 160GB ca­pac­ity of the iPod clas­sic, it should still of­fer enough room for the vast ma­jor­ity of user, plus as you will see if you read on, it has a lot more to of­fer than the clas­sic ever did.

And bear in mind that the true stor­age ca­pac­ity of an iOS de­vice such as the iPod touch is less than the ad­ver­tised ca­pac­ity.

Bat­tery Life

iPods may not have the same al­ways-on na­ture of smart­phones, but bat­tery life is still an im­por­tant

fac­tor for any elec­tronic de­vice. You might think that the shuf­fle would win this cat­e­gory due to the lack of a power-sap­ping screen, its diminu­tive size though means that it lasts for only 15 hours. This loses out to the nano which goes for around 30 hours, and the touch – which houses the largest bat­tery in the range – hold­ing out for a mas­sive 40 hours of lis­ten­ing time.

If you watch video though, things im­me­di­ately change, with the nano af­ford­ing 3.5 hours and the touch re­duc­ing to eight hours.

In­ter­est­ingly, while Ap­ple is claim­ing the 2015 iPod touch of­fers im­proved bat­tery life the fig­ures are ex­actly the same as pre­vi­ously.


Only the iPod touch of­fers a cam­era. This is an 8Mp cam­era sim­i­lar to that in­side the iPhone. You’ll get the same cam­era fea­tures such as slowmo video and burst mode shoot­ing (you won’t get time lapse though).

There’s also a for­ward fac­ing FaceTime cam­era for mak­ing video calls, or tak­ing selfies. As cam­eras go it’s a good op­tion, al­low­ing you to edit pic­tures and share them to Face­book or sim­i­lar as long as you have ac­cess to Wi-Fi. And be­cause you can down­load any apps from the App Store you can make use of any pho­tog­ra­phy apps you like. The iPod touch can also record video.


Both the iPod touch and the nano can play video, but the touch of­fers a lot more flex­i­bil­ity, and a big­ger screen. To watch video on the nano you will

need to copy episodes of your favourite TV shows or films on to the de­vice. The touch, on the other hand, can stream from the iTunes Store or play video via any app you have.


The iPod nano of­fers an FM ra­dio and will play up to 4,000 tunes you have loaded onto it. The shuf­fle can store 450 songs en­coded at 128kb/s.

The touch has the added ben­e­fit of ac­cess to the iTunes Mu­sic Store, which means you can down­load tracks onto the iPod, and even stream them from Ap­ple Mu­sic (free for the first three months, then a sub­scrip­tion of £9.99 a month).


All three types of iPod come in the fol­low­ing colours: Sil­ver, Gold, Space Grey, Pink, Blue, Red (for the PROD­UCT RED char­ity).


An im­por­tant part of any buy­ing de­ci­sion is know­ing your bud­get. If you re­ally aren’t look­ing to spend a lot on a de­vice, and don’t mind a lim­ited

set of func­tions, then the 2GB shuf­fle is a very tempt­ing op­tion at £49.

Mov­ing up to a nano will give you a few more ad­vanced fea­tures and eight times the stor­age, but the price jumps up to £149.

For iPod roy­alty, you’ll find four mod­els of touch priced at £179 for 16GB, £229 for 32GB, £279 for 64GB and £379 for 128GB.

iPad & iPhone User’s buy­ing ad­vice

Hav­ing ex­plored the var­i­ous ad­van­tages and com­pro­mises that each model of­fers, hope­fully we’ve shed a lit­tle more light on the sub­ject. There will be some cross­over be­tween de­vices, but we feel that each is dis­tinct enough to oc­cupy its own place on the menu. With that in mind here are a few fi­nal con­clu­sions re­gard­ing who might ben­e­fit most from the var­i­ous iPods avail­able.

iPod shuf­fle:

We think this one is the best for sports en­thu­si­asts, due to the fact it’s cheap, hardy, and can clip onto any­thing. Those with smaller mu­sic li­braries will also see the value of an in­ex­pen­sive de­vice that is still pow­er­ful thanks to the VoiceOver fea­ture, and of course peo­ple who don’t want to spend a lot on a mu­sic player.

iPod nano:

Due to its size and sand­boxed na­ture the nano would make an ex­cel­lent iPod for younger chil­dren. Those who gen­er­ally want a svelte de­vice with more ca­pac­ity than a shuf­fle will also find the lit­tle iPod a very at­trac­tive op­tion, and if you do al­ready use the NikePlus fit­ness ser­vice, then the in­te­grated app might well prove a tip­ping point.

iPod touch: The touch is a very im­pres­sive de­vice, but it has a price tag to match. In many ways it strays a bit too close to the smart­phone world to make it an ac­tu­ally com­pelling de­vice for those who al­ready own an iPhone. If you do want an in­ter­net ca­pa­ble, iOS de­vice but find iPads a bit on the large size, then the touch will give you a good per­cent­age of that ex­pe­ri­ence, in­clud­ing a Retina screen, for a bit less than the iPad Mini 2. One area where it re­ally shines though is as an en­try point to the Ap­ple world for teenagers that want to com­mu­ni­cate with friends, watch the lat­est YouTube videos, lis­ten to their mu­sic, and not have on­go­ing bills for their par­ents to pay. And the new­est mod­els bring a bet­ter cam­era and faster pro­ces­sor. This is also the only iPod that will let you make use of your sub­scrip­tion to Ap­ple Mu­sic.

iPod shuf­fle

iPod touch

iPod nano

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