iPod Touch: which to choose – 8GB or 16GB ?

A friend asked me this question today – and here is my take on it (slightly expanded) answer to his email :-):

Hi Shane
I have purchased the 8 GB because I had no choice – the 16 GB versions were sold out at the Futureshop at the time, and I was too impatient to wait for two more weeks until delivered from Apple Online store :-).

From usage perspective – whether 8 GB is enough really depends how much video you plan to put on. I am not watching too much video content other than YouTube via WiFi (which is streamed and does not take any space on the device), so for me 8 GB is enough. Main reason why I am not watching video is that I usually listen while walking or driving and one cannot walk very far while concentrating on the screen without bumping into something (I tried that). With driving it is even worse (I did NOT try this one …). If you are willing to sit while watching, the image quality of the device is surprisingly good.

I usually carry 3-5 audiobooks on it (which adds up to about 2 GB), lots of podcasts (TWIT, Macbreak, Security Now, Windows Weekly, HanselMinutes, and few Ruby podcasts) which adds up to another gig or so – as I have only few last episodes to listen to.

In addition to that, I carry about 4 GB is music in case I need something for the treadmill or at work for background noise canceling. It works great. So far, even the most annoying/loud voice from cubicle next to me had not have any chance to compete with Rammstein :-). I found out that keeping about 0.5 – 1 GB free is good idea – in case there is larger chunk to sync. I also use the iTouch as PDA, but even with few hundreds contacts and calendar events, the size of data is very small.

Having 16 GB would only allow me to have more music – I cannot really subscribe to more audio podcasts because of time limits to listen and having more than 4-5 books adds little value. Even with 16 GB version I would not be able to have ALL my music with me – so the main advantage of not having to select which music you carry with you could not be achieved anyway.

But of course, YMMV – and if the above sounds like rather long rationalization of the choice I have already made and cannot change, well – maybe that is not quite wrong either. But it certainly makes me feel good about my selection :-). Besides the price difference between 8 GB and 16 GB is also a thing to consider.

From all the above it looks like 8 GB is sufficient and better deal than 16 GB. Right ? Well – there is a possible catch. When the new iPhone / iTouch SDK will be available (Jan/Feb 2008), it is VERY reasonable to expect that lots of new applications for iPhone/iTouch will be available soon. The most obvious choices will be an offline reader for PDF formats, mail program that will allow read and process your emails offline, News and Feeds offline readers and various forms of Google-gear like applications for various data management with disconnected mode and synchronization via iTunes/http+WiFi. All these have one in common: they will need and utilize local storage. With that in mind, maybe the additional 8 GB can be eventually very valuable and can make real difference how useful the gadget will be.

Your question about using for couple of hours without interaction – sure, no problem. Just make long enough playlist and you never have to touch your iTouch :-). Longest time I did that was 4 hour walk back in November, with only one break to pause it while buying coffee, so that I could understand what the friendly Timmi’s employee was asking.

Good luck with your choice. But I would still listen to Steve’s keynote first – 15th Jan is pretty close. Chances are there may be announced updated version of iPod for the same price – which usually causes price drop at the previous models.

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11 Responses to iPod Touch: which to choose – 8GB or 16GB ?

  1. Trent says:

    I have the 8G iPhone and regularly watch video on it. Currently, half is filled with music and I still have over 10 hours of video on it, including the odd hockey game. If you convert video small enough, you will not have problems with the space for video. You can only watch so much TV. :-)

    I use Tivo to automatically copy video to my computer, convert it and import it into iTunes and it is very efficient. A hour of video is about 350MB.

    I would actually say that music is the area where you want the space, given the fact that most people want a wide variety of music to choose from. That is the are where I have felt hemmed in with the 8G.

  2. thorin says:

    I’m not convinced the 16GB is worth the price premium. I can currently fit 98% of my entire audio collection on my 8GB 2nd Gen Nano so I’m pretty happy with it. I do like the interface of the new Nano’s and touch but not enough to replace my 2nd gen yet. When 6GB is low to mid of the pack it’ll be much more attractive price-wise.

    I can’t actually imagine watching much video on a 3″ screen (or smaller), stretching my imagination I guess I could see watching a single movie during a flight or train ride but even then that’s only a few GB and leaves lots of room for music or podcasts.

  3. bobby says:

    Uh!! i am buying a ipod touch next week… and need some feed back on which to buy… a 8 GB or the 16 GB.. what features r in them both…. explain…

  4. Miro says:

    Get new iPod touch – the volume control and mike are very useful addition.

    I would go for 16 GB is money permits, there is enough content other than just songs and movies the aditional storage can be used for.

  5. iPod Touch says:

    I was really impressed with the condition of the product. Since it was used I wasn’t sure what I was going to get but it looked pretty new when I received it. The only upset was that I had to wait three weeks or even longer before it showed up in the mailbox. But overall, I feel like it was worth the wait.

  6. Boob says:

    get the 16 GB it is so much better

  7. Matt says:

    on the vodafone website (nz) the 8gb is $979 and the 16gb is also $979 that why im confused?

  8. moomie97 says:

    Hi im getting a ipod touch for chrismas but my parents only are paying £110 as they can’t afford to pay the full price as they have my brother too. i have seen a 8gb for £145 and a 16gb for £199 if i get £35 at chrismas which i will as i am asking for money i can get the 8gb and if i get £89 i can get a 16gb i really want a 16gb and would like to know is it worth the wait because if i don’t get £89 i will wait till i have the right amount as i get £2 a week pocket money. please someone tell me is a 16gb well worth the wait.

  9. Catfood says:

    After formating the the 8GB Touch leaves approx 7.1GB. I can get about 32 episode of TV in that space, so 1.3 seasons of a TVshow. I use (the free) Handbrake software to rip TV series from DVDs (using deblock -2,-2 to sharpen). Each disc normally averages 850MB (or about 215 MB for each 42 minute episode). Most of the 24 series came in at 5.1 GB and Prison Break at 4.5GB. The first 13 episodes of Sarah Connor from TV downloads came in at 2.5GB and Californication 1.5GB. Hope a practical example helps.

  10. bear says:

    Does the 16 gb hold alot more apps than the 8 gb?? I want to get an ipod touch but i cant find a 16 gb in my price range or at best buy so i am looking in to getting the 8gb. so does the 16 gb hold ALOT more apps?

    • Miro says:

      About twice as much :-) But seriously – apps differ widely in size. I have several 1GB (navigation with offline maps). I have currently 118 apps that take about 1.8 GB. There is a limit how many apps you want to have, and I believe that even 8GB gives more than enough space. The real difference is how many movies and music you want to keep – this is where 16 GB or 32 GB can make a huge difference (1 movie ~ 200-500 MB)

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