Product Type: Apple MP3 players
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Apple iPod shuffle (4G) 2 GB
Member Name: alexandjef
Apple iPod shuffle (4G) 2 GB
Date: 17/02/12, updated on 18/02/12 (40 review reads)
Advantages: Small and has a surprising amount of function
Disadvantages: Minimal use if you already have a smartphone
So, the 4th Generation iPod Shuffle.
I had to squint to get a look at this, before I could even get a first impression. Well, thats a slight exaggeration, but it is tiny. Its slightly smaller than a £2 coin, but square in shape (also, 100% Queens face free) and about 1/2 cm in thickness. This first thing you'll notice at due to the thumb sized button/s on front, its very minimal. You have to hold this in your fingertips - and the size is a little bit headscratchy. It wasn't all the tech packed into such a small space that bothered me, I was struggling to comprehend how its works. Like with all newer Apple products, they really do scrimp on buttons and things to push and pull on their devices. Getting my head around the single button on the front of an iPhone took some getting over at first. This shuffle is no exception, and although it has a few more buttons, knowing how its works is less than obvious when you first pick it up. It looks nice like all Apple products these days; sleek, fashionable and has a good build - no less than you'd expect. Its a standard now of Apple, and I doubt we'd ever see they day fans complained about the poor build and design of something sporting the Apple logo.
On one side is a clip so it can be clipped to clothing - as its so light and with the exception of the headphones you won't notice it. I used to take my phone to the gym loaded with music but depending on how energetic I was feeling depended on how much my phone would bounce around. Not with this though, its hardily there. On the flipside is a round button thats quite flush with the rest of the device that serves at the play/pause button with volume up and volume down above and below the button and skip forth and back on each side. 90% of the controls of this device is situated on the same space a little bigger than a 10p piece, so the 'single touch' Apple promise is there. Play, pause and skip through songs without moving your finger - just apply pressure on different sides of the button. I find this handy as if its in my pocket, I can just skip tracks without removing it. I can also hit play/pause if I wan't to eaves drop/avoid charity muggers when the appropriate time strikes. Nothing is more obvious than removing your headphones to listen in to a conversation on the bus. Not that I do that...
Other buttons also on this are a 'Voiceover' button (info coming in a second) and a function button where you can choose play all/shuffle/off. As well as a headphone jack and a tiny green light that indicates its on.
The miniature size of the Shuffle is possible as it doesn't have a screen - an odd prospect to those who have never used a screen-less Mp3 player, like me.
I was one of those people and that always put me off shuffles (despite owning pretty much all other MP3 players Apple offer) - and to be honest would have passed this buy up if it wasn't so cheap. However, this functions in a nice way. Before the big reveal - I'll explain how easy (once you get over how much a pain iTunes is) it is getting music on this and navigating through the 2GB of music you can potentially store on this. The iPod comes with samll USB cable specific to this model, that connects to the headphone jack. Simply plug the shuffle into your PC, load up iTunes and sync you music to it. It makes sense to add you music in playlist form, rather than randomly fill it. And that leads me to the big reveal...
Voiceover is a feature Apple have introduced to this shuffle to go someway to be a replacement for a screen - so you can interact more with the device.
When you press the Voiceover button a computerized voice will tell you whats playing. A handy feature, but chances are you'll know what it is. What is handier is when you hold the button for a second of so the same voice will tell you what playlist is playing and then from there you can skip through with the skip buttons - finishing on the playlist you want, hit play and hey-presto. This is a great way Apple have made the shuffle easier to navigate. It doesn't stop there though. As there is no display, no way of knowing how much battery charge is left - until you double click the Voiceover button and it will tell you what charge is remaining. This is really handy - despite the next point, battery life.
-----CHARGING AND BATTERY LIFE------
Its simple to charge, but you need a PC to hand so a little restrictive. Just plug the USB and it will charge - however this is not something you will need to do often as the life is great. I get just under a week in a single charge. Impressive.
------OTHER PROS AND CONS------
On the plus its small and pretty cheap. It also works, like everything Apple I've owned, perfectly everytime. Only a handful of crashes and resets in years and years of using Apple products. Price wise, £35 new is a good price to pay for an Apple product - by a long way their cheapest, and if owning an Apple product is something you really want to but don't have huge funds, this is for you. It comes with Apple headphones and come from a long line of tried and tested Apple audio products so it sounds fine. Its by no means specialist, but its plays music with an above average sound. Even the most discerning ears will find the audio output on this satisfactory.
On the negative, it is what it is - memory wise a small and low function MP3 player, that does a very basic job. It plays music on the go and although it does this well, it doesn't have much else to go on. If your looking for something to just play music while your at the gym, walking to work with a small amount of functionality in terms of perusing the small library you'll be able to store on it.
I suppose in this round up, when considering do I recommend it I should consider if I would have paid full price, or even gone out of my way to buy one. And in short, I wouldn't. Whilst it does a great job - my smartphone has an MP3 player that works fine - and has more functions than this. Plus more storage, and I'm never that desperate for such a huge variation in music the 8GB of music my phone has, I never need anything additional. If I did, I'd buy a bigger memory card for my phone.
So, why did I buy it and do I use it?
I bought it because it was cheap and I have used it - but to only make my £10 feel worth it - its so far not been my go-to mp3 player, even when exercising I'll still take my phone as I'd already have that with me. Using this means spending time I'm usually short on looking around the house, and considering its so small - its even less worth it.
Its not a bad product, in-fact its good and I hope to get more use from it. Its just it has no real place for me when every smart phone I've had for the past 6-7 years has an MP3 player so an additional one is no real use.
If you don't have an MP3 player, this should be your number one pick - especially at such a great price.
Summary: If you don't already have an MP3 and are looking for one, this is a great pick.
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