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Old Jan 17, 2005, 03:49 PM   #1
jsw
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2.5 hour iPod Shuffle review

As noted here, I just got my 512MB iPod Shuffle after lunch.

Having opened, charged, loaded, and listened to it, I thought I'd post a quick review.

Overall opinion: it is fantastic!

Points:
  • It weighs nothing. I know that supposedly it weights a bit less than an once. But, having worn it for over an hour around my neck, I've noticed that it has no perceptible weight whatsoever.
  • Sound fidelity is the same as my 4G iPod's. I'm sure some people will post how the specs differ, but, to my ears, they sound the same. Fidelity is at least as good as the Apple headphones can deliver, and max volume is way too loud (so plenty of oomph).
  • I thought the lanyard would be a bit dorky. Maybe it is. I don't care. I love my 4G, but it is just way too easy to wear the Shuffle. Goofy or not, the lanyard keeps the controls right where you want them.
  • As mentioned above, if you get a shuffle, you will wear it everywhere except the shower (and that's only pending the availability of a waterproof case). It is just way too easy to bring with you. And, unlike the iPod, who cares if the case gets a scratch or two? No display to scratch, no shiny back to mar.
  • Apple was right. The shuffle play just seems right. I loaded off a folder of my favorites, and the shuffling is great fun. For whatever reason, when using my 4G, I want control. Here, I yield to the whims of the Shuffle, and it feels great.
  • Lack of a display is no big deal. Maybe some will want one. Personally, the lack of a display makes me care less about scratches, probably extends the battery life, makes it smaller, and makes me more likely to shuffle. You wear it around your neck (or, soon, on your arm). You'll not look at the display anyway.
  • iTunes treats the Shuffle right. Autoload is nice, reserving room for files is nice (I need Mac <-> PC transfer, and this makes it as easy as my old USB flash drive... of course).
  • You get a free 13-song album off of iTMS (not any 13 songs - the 13 on the album Apple put together).

Some minor cons:
  • I wish Apple would include something to shorten the headphone cord. The lanyard makes the headphone cord seem about a foot or so too long.
  • USB 2.0 (and/or the Shuffle's internals) make song loading slow - about 5 minutes to fill my 512MB version).
  • Audiobook use is a bit tougher (presumably - even though 98% of my iPod listening is audiobook-based, so far none of my Shuffle use is) due to lack of a display to see where in the book you are. No big deal unless you lose your place and need to forward/reverse to it more than a few minutes worth.

My advice: as soon as you see one, buy one. Figure out the justification on your way home.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 04:15 PM   #2
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Nice lil review, i am well looking forward to getting mine at mid feb some time - the wait!!
I can't remember who said this but "Only Apple and Steve Jobs could sell millions of Mp3 players that did not have a screen" :P tis true.
I think it will be the perfect 2nd to my 20gb 4th gen
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 04:16 PM   #3
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Just shoveled snow off my driveway. The iPod Shuffle worked flawlessly, got some snow on it, was exposed to ~15° F weather, kept on truckin'. I would have been afraid to bring its big brother out.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 04:18 PM   #4
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JSW, Thanks for the review, I can't wait to get mine I ordered a 1GB model the day after the keynote.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 04:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fredstar
I think it will be the perfect 2nd to my 20gb 4th gen
You're so right - I think a number of Shuffle buyers will be current iPod owners. The drive-based iPods are great in that you have everything you'd ever need in your hand, but the Shuffles are something you don't need to worry about - you can drop them, you can touch them with something other than velvet gloves, you can wear them in bad weather, you can wear them while exercising.

Now, what I need is something to use my iPod as a mothership I can dock my Shuffle with.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 04:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsw
You're so right - I think a number of Shuffle buyers will be current iPod owners. The drive-based iPods are great in that you have everything you'd ever need in your hand, but the Shuffles are something you don't need to worry about - you can drop them, you can touch them with something other than velvet gloves, you can wear them in bad weather, you can wear them while exercising.

Now, what I need is something to use my iPod as a mothership I can dock my Shuffle with.
I agree completely mine is a companion to a 60GB iPod photo
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 04:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Craner
I agree completely mine is a companion to a 60GB iPod photo
Bastard. You'll probably get the 1GB Shuffle too, won't you?
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 04:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsw
Bastard. You'll probably get the 1GB Shuffle too, won't you?
Yep - But at least you have got yours already - I am at the mercy of Apple UK's shipping.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 06:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsw
My advice: as soon as you see one, buy one. Figure out the justification on your way home.
i like the way you think. thanks for the review. if i can get any discount on one i'm picking it up. i'm tired of having to worry if my arms are striding too close to my headphone cord when i'm on the treadmill - let alone if my ipod will stay on the book holder amongst the constant stomping.

i'm also tired of having to unplug the itrip when i'm leaving the car, put on the headphones, change the track, put it into my pocket blah blah blah... we're mac users, we should be able to minimize.

one thing though - i'm wondering if the "dorky" lanyard may become a big fashion statement! i cant wait to wear that around the office and annoy my coworkers. it didn't work so well with the early sony mp3 players though.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 06:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FightTheFuture
one thing though - i'm wondering if the "dorky" lanyard may become a big fashion statement!
I'll find out tomorrow....

BTW, there's no way of telling a 512MB from a 1GB version, as far as I can tell. So, although I have the lowly (but in stock) 512MB, I can hold my head as high as a 1GB owner.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 06:11 PM   #11
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Anything to say about its use as a "jump drive"/flash memory drive?

I hear you have to allocate memory.

Nevertheless, I'm eyeing that 1 GB Shuffle. I might have the cash ready soon (as long as nothing comes up)
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 06:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by applekid
Anything to say about its use as a "jump drive"/flash memory drive?

I hear you have to allocate memory.

Nevertheless, I'm eyeing that 1 GB Shuffle. I might have the cash ready soon (as long as nothing comes up)
Piece of cake. Allocate how much you want iTunes to fill for you, and the rest is available for disk use. I'd assume that you can manually add files and music as well, but, since the key thing about the Shuffle is, well, shuffling and autoloading, it works out well that you preallocate the space.

And it works just fine as a flash drive. No faster/slower than others I remember using.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 06:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsw
Just shoveled snow off my driveway. The iPod Shuffle worked flawlessly, got some snow on it, was exposed to ~15 F weather, kept on truckin'. I would have been afraid to bring its big brother out.
Well i know what im buying when i goto my apple dealer tomorow to pick up my iBook. I hate taking my iPod outside in the cold and if this thing works like a champ in the cold, im all for it!
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 06:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhpenguin
Well i know what im buying when i goto my apple dealer tomorow to pick up my iBook. I hate taking my iPod outside in the cold and if this thing works like a champ in the cold, im all for it!
Worked great in the cold. Headphone cord gets a bit stiff, but the iPod played on. Lanyard is just cord, so it's unaffected by the cold.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 07:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FightTheFuture
one thing though - i'm wondering if the "dorky" lanyard may become a big fashion statement! i cant wait to wear that around the office and annoy my coworkers. it didn't work so well with the early sony mp3 players though.
It already is -- I see a lot of flash MP3 players being worn around the neck around campus here. It's the most popular way to carry a non-iPod player.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 07:18 PM   #16
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Great review JSW!!! Now I want a stinkin iPod shuffle.

I think we are very similar in our care for our iPods... You recommended the iSkin for my 20GB. I carried my iPod around using a telescope lens cleaner cloth until I got my iSkin.

So... I was thinking the same thing... Use the shuffle for mowing the lawn, snowblowing, etc. Basically use the shuffle in places I would be fearful to use my iPod.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 07:24 PM   #17
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I got to hold one of these babies at my local apple store and they are so light!!! The employes had them and they were showing them off but they didn't have them in stock yet. It was almost like they were taunting you. All of the people with shuffles had a small crowd of people around them. they let everyone hold them.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 07:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hcuar
Great review JSW!!! Now I want a stinkin iPod shuffle.

I think we are very similar in our care for our iPods... You recommended the iSkin for my 20GB. I carried my iPod around using a telescope lens cleaner cloth until I got my iSkin.

So... I was thinking the same thing... Use the shuffle for mowing the lawn, snowblowing, etc. Basically use the shuffle in places I would be fearful to use my iPod.
Exactly.

BTW, the Shuffle includes 2 white Apple stickers (some people care about such things). Also, the headphones are very slightly different (from my 4G ones and from the ones included with the inline remote I bought) - there's a "slider" on the two earbud lines; it rests at the junction where the two lines become one, and it can be slid up and down to, I suppose, tighten the lines up more snugly.

Also note that (and this is probably obvious, but I hadn't thought of it) the lanyard replaces the regular end cap, so you can attach one or the other, but not both. I assume no one on Earth will be bothered by this.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 07:30 PM   #19
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I've had my 512 since Friday.

It's very cool. sounds great, very light. I have two gripes.

1. The egdes seem too sharp. Not cutting sharp, just uncomfortable sharp.
2. Looks like the switches in the back will get very dirty over time by the edges.

Note: you can tell the size of of shuffle, it's on the USB connector.

I think these things are like packs of gum at a grocery store. You just throw one at the counter/register when you check out cuz they're so cheap compared to Apple H/W at the Apple store.

BTW. It was the envy of my coworkers today!
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 07:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
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The employes had them and they were showing them off but they didn't have them in stock yet.
Yeah, right. They had them in stock until the employees bought all of them.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 07:37 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsw
Exactly.

BTW, the Shuffle includes 2 white Apple stickers (some people care about such things).
Oh no!!! I care about such things. I was a little ticked, I bought an 20 GB 4G iPod and the 12" PB without getting one single white Apple sticker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsw
Also note that (and this is probably obvious, but I hadn't thought of it) the lanyard replaces the regular end cap, so you can attach one or the other, but not both. I assume no one on Earth will be bothered by this.
Actually, it might be annoying to carry around both the lanyard cap and normal cap... I'm not sure if I'd feel like the lanyard cap is a complete replacement. It probably is, however you don't realize what is going to annoy you until you own it.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 07:38 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bozola
Note: you can tell the size of a shuffle, it's on the USB connector.
Ah. Well, I'll be sure to keep mine capped.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 07:49 PM   #23
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Ah. Well, I'll be sure to keep mine capped.
That comment went completely over my head until I saw your reply! I hadn't thought about identifying the 1GB versus the 512MB shuffle... Strange.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 07:57 PM   #24
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Minor con:

The Shuffle does not pause when the headphones are removed. Not a big deal, but I like that my 4G pauses in such a situation.

Minor pro:

I have a scratch on mine. However, I could hardly care less. (the scratch isn't the pro; the attitude is)
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 08:09 PM   #25
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Quote:
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Oh no!!! I care about such things.
You're in luck, then, that Apple's selling them for $50 each - and you get a Shuffle if you buy two.
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