iPod Touch Screen Slick, but Sluggish

By Richard Menta 9/27/07

As I review it I love the looks of the interface on the iPod touch. I love the way the song files drag across the screen of the touch with a flick of the thumb. But for the life of me every time I navigate my way around the iPod touch I feel like I was born with a pair of dead hands. Hands with no blood, no heat, no anything that might trigger that song track to play when I lay my thumb over the title.

Well before the iPod touch appeared ( even well before the original iPod appeared) I always tested in my player reviews how well the control buttons and switches handled. I came to the realization long ago that my fingers are not the most adept tools at manipulating small controls and numb keys only made operating a particular device frustrating. This is before touch-screen technology came into the digital forefront, a technology that offers several advantages including keys that offer a larger surface area. The bottom row keys on the iPod touch are larger than almost every hard or soft plastic button I've used on a digital portable.

So maybe it is all me when I call the touch-screen on the iPod touch sluggish. On the home screen of the iPod touch display, where the Music, Video, Photo and iTunes virtual keys reside, I frequently have to tap the icon more than once to jump to the appropriate sub menu. As I run through my song list on the iPod menu a flick of the finger sometimes doesn't do anything. Once I do get the list on the iPod touch to scroll, sometimed I flick it too fast and jump to the end, passing the track I'm looking for. And sometimes when the scroll isn't moving in a way I like I add too much pressure, launching the wrong track. When i do get to the right track repeated touches are sometime needed to open it. I haven't even come to the iPod touch keyboard yet, which takes very careful manipulation on my part.

Seriously, I feel that after using this thing that if I were to look closely at the display on my iPod touch I would not see multiple fingerprints, but one big huge fingerprint.

Maybe it's because I am not used to using a touch screen on a small device. It might be like learning to use a clutch, eventually you get the feel for it. Maybe I am in the minority in today's world where thanks to text messaging people develop uber-thumbs over childhood and adolecence. On a Darwinian level I picture in my mind the evolution of our progeny's thumbs into third fourth hands.

More realistically, the beauty of the iPod touch touch-screen interface obscures the fact that the display controls need some more tweaking. It is the first version of a first generation interface after all and a firmware update may be all that is needed. Still, it is driving me mad.

Apple iPod Touch
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The Creative Zen 16GB flash player is available on Amazon

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