The iPhone 5 is the thinnest, lightest iPhone ever, but the iPod touch 5 is almost 2-dimensional. Everything comes at a price, however, and so while the iPod touch 5 is even thinner and lighter than the iPhone 5, it doesn't have anywhere near as good internals. If you don't care about that, however, if all you want to do is scratch the surface and find more surface, then here's how the iPod touch 5 compares to the iPhone 5 is close up. And for good measure, we'll throw in some iPod touch 4 and iPod touch 3 action as well.
While the iPod touch 4 had a decidedly worse display than the iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S, the iPod touch 5 received the same 4-inch, 16:9, 1136x640 326ppi IPS (in-plane switching), in-cell display as the iPhone 5, and that's remarkable.
As you'd expect, the iPod touch 5 looks every bit as good, bright, clear, crisp, and colorful as the iPhone 5 even at macro.
Compared to the iPod touch 4, the difference is far more noticeable. Even at the same 50% brightness level, the iPod touch 4 display has far more "pop" (that's the technical term, I swear!) and IPS really improves the viewing angle. (It's more dramatic on videos than it is on the Home screen, so we'll add some of those shots in soon.)
While the iPhone 5 has a two-tone back made necessary by the large, glass, radio-transparent panels at the top and bottom, the iPod touch goes for edge-to-edge aluminum, albeit with a black, plastic radio panel in the top corner. That's unlike the iPod touch 4 but similar to the iPod touch 3.
The iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S both have 8 megapixel sensors for their rear-facing iSight cameras. The iPod touch 5 has a 5 megapixel sensor, the same size as the iPhone 4. Lenses like depth, however, and the iPod touch 5 has very little of that, so it's impressive Apple got as good a sensor in there as they did.
The iPod touch 5 iSight camera, of course, dwarfs the 720p (as in peashooter) found on the iPod touch 4. (The iPod touch 3 had an even worse camera -- none.)
The iPod touch 5's front-facing FaceTime HD camera, however, is the same as the iPhone 5's, capturing 720p video. (Yes, the front camera this year is as good as the back camera of the last two years...)
And it absolutely embarrasses the the iPod touch 4's embarrassing VGA (480p) FaceTime camera.
Close up, while the iPod touch 5 lacks the phone mic and the same grid design as the iPhone 5, they both now share similar layouts thanks to the iPhone 5 headset jack moving.
Like the iPhone 5, the iPod touch 5 uses the new Lightning connector at the bottom. This lets it be even thinner than the previous, ridiculously thin, iPod touch 4 and iPod touch 3.
It's hard to really tell because of the amount of curvature on the iPod touch 4 and iPod touch 3 -- The iPod touch 5 has a flatter form factor, more reminiscent of recent iPhones than iPods.
But it makes the iPhone 4S look positively chunky.
All shots taken with a Canon 5D Mark III and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM and an EF 100mm f/2.8 L IS USM Macro lens, embedded at HiDPI for iPhones, iPad 3, and Retina MacBook Pro.
Master your iPhone in minutes
iMore offers spot-on advice and guidance from our team of experts, with decades of Apple device experience to lean on. Learn more with iMore!
Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.