Review: The New iPod Shuffle
The new iPod Shuffle as an incredibly small, sleek and button-less piece of engineering. It is so smooth and sleek that it has become known around the office as the “Macpon”
There are no buttons on the device itself but rather a three-buttoned controller on the cord of the right earphone. You can either click it in, up or down. That’s it. But somehow with only those three combinations Apple have made it possible to control everything on the device. In true Apple style the new Shuffle has a rather innovative new feature. When you hold down the middle button, whilst listening to music, the music softens and a manly voice tells you the artist and the name of the song you are listening to.
The sound quality of the actual device is above average for its price, although it’s not quite in the same league as its big brother the iPod touch, the current benchmark for sound quality. For running and the casual listener the quality is more than adequate. Runners will appreciate the fact that the Shuffle has a clip to hook itself onto an item of clothing. Due to its size, when on a run the only indication that you have an iPod attached to your t-shirt is the Eye of the Tiger pumping from the earphones. If not for any other reason, the clip is why I would recommend the Shuffle to runners.
Sound quality is irrelevant if you can’t get music on in the first place. Now, normally to sync any other iPod with iTunes takes a good 10 min for about 4gig of music. Syncing music to the Shuffle is blits vinnig. It took no longer then 3 min to fill up the full 4gig of space on the Shuffle. Trust me when you’re late for gym and you need to put some Black Eyed Peas on the Shuffle to run to, syncing time does matter.
Currently you are limited to using the supplied Apple earphones as no alternatives, with the three buttoned control, have been created by accessory manufactures. The supplied earphones are not bad, but they don’t fit quite as nicely, nor is the sound quality as good as third-party earphones. When I say “third-party” earphones, I do not mean the bargain-bin, two for the price of one, earphones. I’m talking about the likes of Skullcandy, Sony, Bose and Sennheiser. So as soon as third-party manufacturers release a set of iPod Shuffle earphones, I would seriously recommend replacing the standard Apple earphones.
For an MP3 player intended for casual listening or exercise the price is a bit steep, around R1100 retail. There are other 4gig small MP3 players at far lower prices, but none of them have that Apple cool-factor.
If you are in the market for an MP3 player, here at TechHuman we strongly suggest that you pop into an Apple retailer and give the new iPod Shuffle a try.