Picked up my touch today at the Aspen Grove Apple store in Littleton, Colorado. I was rather concerned about the audio quality and screen quality after what I have read here and at ilounge. These are my initial impressions of the iPod Touch as well as a series of photos that demonstrates a few things. The Flash drive is very, very slow. I immediately synchronized the Touch with a 12GB music playlist, 300MB of Photos and a single 500MB movie. The entire synch took around an hour from a USB 2.0 port. It's hard to say how much of an impact this will have for day to day use, but for those who will frequently be changing out large playlists it's definitely something to be aware of. The construction of the device, as previously noted, is very good. There's a black metal bezel around it and it's extremely thin. As can be seen in the photos below it makes my 30GB 5G iPod look like a tank. The operation of the device is just like the iPhone. Using the Touch interface makes it almost painful to pick up and use the 5G iPod. For sound quality comparisons I used my very high end Shure E4C headphones (these babies go for about $200, so they cost about half as much as the iPod does) and I listened to the Blue October track "Into the Ocean". This track was LAME VBR encoded with APS presets, so the sound quality is quite good. The sound from the Touch is definitely not nearly as robust as the sound from the 5G iPod. The Touch sounds thin and 'tinny'. Chords in the song don't reverberate, and there is a lack of depth in the audio. Additionally at 50% volume there is some noticeable background noise coming from the device which noticeably dissapears when the device is shut off with the power switch. This is a big disappointment for me, as I expected a flash device to deliver sound quality at least as good as my 5G hard drive based iPod if not better. Sound from the Touch is not bad it actually sounds 'ok' but definitely not as good as previous generation iPods. Next I checked the screen performance with photos and video. In photos I noticed immediately that anything dark lost all definition. Kind of like an LCD TV with a very bad contrast ratio. Bright, colorful photos looked good, but anything darker (like wedding pictures which had the tuxedos in the shot) looked completely blocky. This is definitely a sympton of the LCD and is not something that I believe can be fixed in firmware. I loaded up the movie Kill Bill Volume 1. This movie was encoded directly from DVD with Handbrake at 400kbps and iPhone presets. On my PC this movie looks great. Very good color, black reproduction, etc. On the Touch it looks pretty mediocre. There is very bad black reproduction. I took some pictures of the fight scene at the end of the movie which takes place in a Japanese Garden to give some reference to what I am talking about. All in all this device is a "B-" effort from Apple. $400 for a 16GB iPod with mediocre audio performance and a poor quality screen is not what I expected. Now I have to decide if I am going to take it back to the Apple store in a week or two for a refund (minus the hefty Apple restocking fee) or if I will 'touch it out' with the shortcomings to enjoy the new interface and wi-fi until a successor comes out later on next year. I would advise anyone to be very careful about buying this from Apple. You might not be very happy and Apple will not give you your money back without a restocking fee. You are probably better off buying from a retailer with a good return policy (Amazon, etc) and waiting an extra couple of weeks. At this point noone can say that this is an "A" effort from Apple.