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How fast is the iPod touch 4th Generation compared to the iPhone 4 and iPad in "real-world" use?
Apple did not release any formal statements or benchmarks regarding the speed of the iPod touch 4th Generation or the modestly revised iPod touch "4.5" Generation -- subsequently referred to together as simply the "4th Gen" -- compared to the iPhone 4 or the original iPad available at the time the iPod touch 4th Gen was first introduced.
However, all three are powered by an "Apple A4" processor running around 1 GHz (formally for the iPad and unofficially for the iPod touch 4th Gen and iPhone 4, with both of the latter devices believed to run at a variable speed with 1 GHz as the maximum, and commonly around 750 MHz to 800 MHz). The iPhone 4 has 512 MB of RAM and the iPad and iPod touch 4th Gen both only have 256 MB of RAM.
Benchmark Performance Overview
For a solid general overview of the performance differences between the iPod touch 4th Gen and the iPhone and iPad offered when it was first introduced as well as all other iPod touch, iPhone and iPad models, Everyi.com's own Ultimate iComparison makes it quick to compare side-by-side Geekbench benchmark averages for hundreds of possible performance comparisons.
Specifically, the Geekbench benchmark shows that the iPod touch 4th Gen is a tiny bit slower than the iPhone 4 and the original iPad is roughly 21% faster than both. The iPhone 4S and iPad 2 are roughly 65% and 93% faster than the iPod touch 4th Gen.
Although benchmarks and percentages can be quite useful to get a general idea of the performance of each device, side-by-side video tests also can be an excellent way to see the difference in "real-world" use.
These videos from YouTube user TechTechManTV demonstrate the difference between the iPod touch 4th Gen and the iPhone 4 and the iPod touch 4th Gen and iPad, respectively:
Ultimately, the iPod touch 4th Gen is a bit slower than the iPhone 4, as one would expect given the extra RAM in the iPhone 4, but the difference is negligible for many tasks in "real-world" use. The original iPad is noticeably quicker than both the iPod touch 4th Gen and the iPhone 4 as its higher clockspeed attests. Of course, the subsequently introduced iPhone 4S and iPad 2 models are faster still.
Also see: What are the differences between the iPod touch 4th Generation, the iPhone 4 and the iPad? Which one is right for my needs?
To dynamically compare any iPod, iPhone, and iPad models to one another -- new and old -- please see Everyi.com's Ultimate iComparison feature.