It all started with an iPod touch, a gift from my parents years ago. I’ve since bought a half-dozen more iPods, two iPhones, an iPad, and a MacBook Air. Somehow I'm sure Apple planned it that way. The touch is the entry point into people’s worlds, the easy and kid-friendly device that has gotten so many people hooked on iOS. It's also the de facto MP3 player, the device that became synonymous with its function the way tissues are just called Kleenex now.

This year, Apple bestowed upon the touch perhaps its biggest update ever. The 2012 iPod touch has a 4-inch Retina display, a 5-megapixel camera, iOS 6, and 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. It’s a combination of Apple’s last three cellphones, with particular emphasis on the internals of the 4S. It’s also the thinnest, lightest, and most colorful touch yet. But it all comes at a price: the touch is now $299-$399, depending on how much storage you get. There’s a lot packed into the tiny device, but is it worth the price when most of its competition, and many full-fledged smartphones, come so much cheaper? Read on to find out.