iPod mini vs. iPod Shuffle: User opinions please

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Chip NoVaMac, Mar 5, 2005.

  1. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    I already have a 2G (IIRC) 20gb iPod (it has the buttons at the top of the "wheel"). Served me great so far.

    I am looking for something smaller for day to day use. I was thinking something smaller for a few tunes and to have an audio book or two on. I have a great opportunity to get an iPod mini (old version) for about $20 more (at cost through my employee purchase program.

    I am seeing my original iPod as something for road trips (have the Transpod FM already) and maybe for the new digital camera connector, as well as a backup for what I have on my HDD.

    I have to admit that the Shuffle and the lanyard sounds great for my "style". And i might spring for the IPod mini lanyard when it hits the streets if I go that route.

    i have tried to look at the "picture" size comparisons, and to be honest the sizes seem to be so close to each other , that it is hard to say which is "best"; since Apple seems to have addressed concerns on size with each form factor. I mean that the "original" iPod is roughly double the size of Trident gum pack, the iPod mini is just a smidgen larger, and the Shuffle a smidgen smaller than that.

    I guess in the end I am looking for those that might feel the way that I do at this point, that the iPod mini is not a bad alternative for those looking for a "better value" over the iPod Shuffle. Or am I missing something?

    Thanks for the help....
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    As a 1gb Shuffle owner I'll pitch in with my 2 cents worth.

    Shuffle pros:
    • Small (way smaller than an iPod mini, less than an inch wide & about 3.5 long).
    • Light... very light, the lanyard is overkill -- visually and functionally. It can go in a pocket, small bag or even tucked into a waistband or glove.
    • Autofill (downsamples your music on the fly so you can have Lossless on the Mac & 128 AAC on the shuffle without needing two differently-ripped libraries).
    • Robust-ish, could survive a drop onto a hard floor.

    Shuffle cons:
    • Only USB, loading songs can take a while.
    • Limited capacity.
    • Unreliable playlist playing (have yet to hear an album in order but that could be something I'm doing although God knows, I've tried).
    • Expensive in relation to the Mini.
    • Probable poor resale value.
    • Probably dead when the battery expires -- the cost of Apple's replacement battery may be a substantial fraction of the Shuffle.
  3. Chip NoVaMac thread starter macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    Your cons are the issues that draws me to the iPod mini. The major is the the playlist feature. I am thinking of something for my music, but more so for my audio books, but also a unit that is easy to "pocket" compared to the regular iPod.

    At roughly $150 to $175 for either in my case, the life of the unit is expected to be a year and half to two years. So I don't expect the battery or resell to be a major issue.
  4. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    If I knew now what I didn't know then (i.e. the price drop & increased battery life)... I would have got the Mini... probably.

    I'm still holding out for the 80gb iPod in the longer term.
  5. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    The size is a big (small) differentiator. The Shuffle is tiny, the mini is merely small.

    I have a Shuffle for the gym where I really don't care what I listen to next. At work I take my normal iPod since I want to know what I'm listening to and sometimes have an urge to listen to a particular album/song.

    If your old iPod still satisfies the need for 'control' of your music and you want something simple, then a Shuffle is a good thing - the USB speed is annoying though and it's less intuitive than the FW in terms of connecting/disconnecting.

    If you can get a mini for just a little more, I'd be tempted to go for that. More accessories, more control, and unless you plan on running marathons, no real benefit since it will still fit in a shirt pocket easily.
  6. kerb macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2004
    Lancashire UK
    I got a Shuffle for bus journeys and jogging.

    It accompanies my 20gb 4G great because they server different purposes.

    The mini and normal iPod aren't drastically different. They function exactly the same.

    Plus the Shuffle is nice and cheap.

    It's my favourite thing at the moment.
  7. runninmac macrumors 65816


    Jan 20, 2005
    Rockford MI
    Well I would go for the mini. In my excperinces the shuffle would be good to go running/working out with but if you have audiobooks or 100+ songs it gets very frusterating trying to find the songs you want without the LCD. Also the iPod mini has longer battery life.
  8. timdeleware macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2004
    Detroit, MI
    lanyards and style; antonyms?

    i think the shuffle is only appropriate if you like all of the songs you own, or are comfortable deleting songs you don't like.

    otherwise it sounds like such a hassle

    i find it to be a rare occurrence that i want to hear henry rollins spoken word
    while jogging

    and god knows i don't want to dork around with manually setting up what songs i want it to pick automatically.
  9. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    You can do wonders with smart playlists to ensure that only "good" songs make it onto the Shuffle.

    Given the current line-up, I'd say get the 512MB Shuffle or a mini. I wanted a 1GB Shuffle earlier, but, now, with only a $50 delta, I'd get the mini instead. I currently have a 512MB Shuffle and a 40GB iPod. The 40GB is handier for audiobooks and for searching for a certain song or genre when I want it. The Shuffle is, plain a simple, vastly better all other times simply because it's small enough and durable enough that I don't need to even think about it. If it drops, so what? If it gets scratched, who cares?

    If it were me, I'd but a 512MB Shuffle for now and wait for iPod Photo minis - or, really, just next-gen minis, since monochrome iPods are at the end of their existence now.
  10. ksz macrumors 68000

    Oct 28, 2003
    San Jose, CA
    Having just returned from a business trip with my new 1GB iPod shuffle, a few remarks about the experience:

    1. Wearing it on a lanyard, it gets noticed. It really gets noticed.

    2. The battery lasts and lasts. I recharged it once after arriving in Singapore. It was playing almost continuously from SFO to Hong Kong, then again from HK to SGP.

    3. It's light and unobtrusive. No need to stow it during takeoffs and landings; just keep wearing it. Have to put it into the tray for X-rays though.

    4. The Apple earbuds offer no ambient sound isolation, so they are virtually useless in any medium to loud environments unless you crank up the volume. Suggestion: Get an acoustically sealed earphone (Etymotic or Shure) and return the volume to safe levels.

    5. Using an average of 5 minutes per song, the 240-song capacity amounts to 20 hours of music. Downside: you cannot fill the iPod shuffle from another iPod. It can only be filled from your hard disk music library, which means that for the 20-hour flight coming back, you must have your laptop with you with a copy of your music library. My music library consumes 30GB, my laptop hard drive is 60GB, of which only 15GB is available. Hence, I did not copy my music library onto my laptop and was unable to load a different 240 songs. I had my iPod 30GB with me, but no transfer was permitted from another iPod. Considering that the iPod shuffle is meant to store any given selection of songs for only *temporary* periods of time, Apple should not restrict copying songs from other iPods.

    6. Great sound quality which, as I posted in another thread, exceeds the sound quality of regular iPods.

    If you're concerned about the non-replaceable battery, consider buying your iPod shuffle from Best Buy and taking advantage of their $19.99 battery replacement program which, I think, is good for 2 (or 3?) years.
  11. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    I have a mini now, and are extremly happy with it, couldn't live without it. That said, I would buy a Shuffle if I had to replace it today (hopefully I won't have to replace it in another year or so, and by then there could be other changes in the lineup, but if the lineup's similar to today I'll still go for the Shuffle). I usually just listen to one or two playlists on shuffle on my mini, so I don't really need any more (functionality) than the 512MB Shuffle (are offering)...
  12. Palomino macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2005
    Adelaide, South Australia
    I've had the oppertunity to use both for short periods. Can't say either one set me alight. The lack of "Line-in recording," "Optical Audio out" and a replaceable battery were note worthy drawbacks. As such I decided on the Sony MZ-NH900. Has given me no trouble. Only drawback is the 1GB limit per disc, however discs are small and cheap.

  13. iRez macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2004
    I recently purchased a shuffle to accompany my 20GB 3rd gen iPod. I really think that value wise it's good to go with the Mini if you don't alread own an iPod, but if you own a regular sized iPod that holds all of your library, a shuffle is the perfect compliment. My only cons is that I can't use my other USB port when the shuffle is charging on my 12" PB, seeing how the two ports are right next to each other, but other then that I really think the Shuffle is the right man for the job if you already own another iPod. Also, I haven't noticed my playlists going out of order on me, and I really don't see how you can mess the order up either. ????
  14. Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    Mini. i know the Shuffles battery life is good, but now the mini's is shockingly good too. display is good once you break past the 512mb music library.

    as much as i like the Shuffle i could never use it as my main MP3 player.

    and in the end the Mini isnt much more than a 1Gb shuffle, where you get an extra few more Gb's, few hours longer battery etc... spose its up to you though
  15. Tuned MP5T macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2004
    New York City
    Shuffle - can hold up to 240 songs.

    Mini - can hold up to 1,000 or 1,500 depending on which model.

    I'm sure you'll have more then 240 songs.
  16. redAPPLE macrumors 68030


    May 7, 2002
    2 Much Infinite Loops
    re: Shuffle battery life.

    i would still be able to use the Shuffle as a normal USB stick, once the battery dies, right?
  17. ejb190 macrumors 65816


    I can't see why it wouldn't work. The Shuffle recharges in the USB port and the files should still be safe in the flash memory. Now if you are refering to when the battery totally bites the big one, I'm not sure.
  18. andrewfee macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2004
    I've had a shuffle since I could get my hands on one (ordered when they were announced) and I'm glad I made the choice to get it over one of the others. It's definitely the right iPod for me.


    Size - I know the iPod mini is small, but the shuffle is less than half the size, but more imporantly; weight. I don't even realise the shuffle is in my pocket half the time because it's so small and light.

    Flash-based - If you're planning on doing any physical activity with an iPod on, the Shuffle is the one to go with, as shaking it about won't have any ill-effects.

    Battery Life - while it's not quoted for as long as the iPod Mini, it's still got a very long battery life. I'm getting more than double the quoted 12-hours on a single charge. They're so cheap (especially the 512mb one) by the time the battery does die, you may as well just buy a new one compared to the cost of a regular iPod battery. (the 512mb model is only £10 more than an iPod battery)

    Music downsampling - if you've got a lot of music in Apple's lossless format, iTunes will downconvert the tracks to 128k AAC for you. While this may sound like a bad thing; you're not likely to notice the difference when it's played back on an iPod rather than a home system. This frees up space, and keeps the battery life up. (playing lossless will cut down the battery life on a regular iPod)

    USB Drive - You can assign as much of the iPod as you want to be used as a drive, which is windows/mac compatible. Not only is this very handy, as you don't need to carry around cables etc, but when the battery does die in the future, it should still work as a drive. (on powered ports at least)

    Simplicity - Some of us just want to hear music; we don't like searching through a list of thousands of songs, we just want to hear something good. All you need to do is flick a switch and hit play.

    Robust - There are no moving parts in the iPod Shuffle, so it should stand up to a lot more punishment than an iPod mini would.


    Capacity - The iPod shuffle probably won't hold most people's collections, but that's not as big a deal as some people would make out. There's the autofill function to load it up with a random selection of tracks, you can use smart playlists, or in my case, I load it up with all my music from a single artist for the day.

    Cost - While it's a very cheap player, you're paying a lot more per gigabyte than the other iPods.

    You mentioned Audio Book playback; what I do is put my audiobook(s) at the very top of the playlist. Audiobooks will only play in normal mode, not shuffle, and when you're in normal mode, triple-clicking play will take you to the beginning of your collection. So if I want to listen to music, I generally put it on shuffle, and if I want to listen to an audio book I put it on standard play and press play 3 times.

    Here's a quick comparison shot for size:

  19. Diatribe macrumors 601


    Jan 8, 2004
    Back in the motherland
    I have been wondering the exact same thing. I have set it on continuous play but it plays the songs based on their name not based on the playlist number. Weird.

    If anybody knows how to make the Shuffle play a playlist by number and not by name... it would be highly appreciated.

    Chip: I'd go for the mini if you want to have both audio books and tunes on it. Even two genres on a shuffle is not really possible.
  20. andrewfee macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2004
    It plays depending on the order you have them in iTunes, so I'd guess that's where you're going wrong. You should be able to sort by track number without any problems.

    Mine has been playing the tracks in the order they should be when it's on standard mode.
  21. Diatribe macrumors 601


    Jan 8, 2004
    Back in the motherland
    When I put them in, one CD at a time, and they are sorted the way they were put into the playlist and then synced, they do NOT play in that order. I have absolutely no idea what I am doing wrong but I suspect it to be trivial...
  22. yuck macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2005
    i would choose the shuffle
    i already got a 4g 20gb, imo there isnt much different between mini and the ipod in term of size.....

    shuffle pros for me: small size, and shuffle art.... theyre so cool

    i think im gonna get a 512mb shuffle :D

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