Product Type: Apple MP3 players
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Taken by the pod, but i wasn't that hooked
Apple iPod shuffle (4G) 2 GB
Member Name: blissman70
Apple iPod shuffle (4G) 2 GB
Advantages: easy to use, nice looking, cracking size and plenty of room for me
Disadvantages: bit costly for what it does, but other than that...?
Anyone that knows me, or anyone that has been kind enough to read some of my review, knows that I like to listen to music without inflicting my style of music on them, (although some people would not say what I call music stylish).
Anyway, over the years I have used several MP players, be it owned, borrowed or some how come across. Some of these players have been nice little units, giving me lots of pleasure in my ears. Whilst some other players have fallen flat more or less at the first hurdle, as if trying to split me from my love of my music.
One particular MP3 player that I got my hands on was a well known player, possibly one of the best known names on the market these days, which, at the end of the day, could be seen as to why this particular device became so popular so quickly.
So what is this device called then?
It is called the ipod from the very well known, (and very expensive) company called Aubergine, I mean Apple.
The full name for this MP3 player is in fact called the ipod shuffle, which, even though it has the ipod name on it, it should not be confused with the other ipod types on the market, such as the touch and the nano.
So, how good is this well known branded MP3 player then?
Well, let me start by telling you what it looks like...
The player itself is what they call a polished anodized aluminium design, apparently, although without testing it in the lab, (or more my garden shed), I can not guarantee that it is anodized? But it does feel like aluminium so that's one thing anyway.
It's small, in fact it's the smallest of the ipod range, being 30mm by 32mm by 9mm thick, with the clip included, weighing in at a mere 12 ½grams.
There's no LCD screen to see the names of the tracks playing but it is compensated by a lovely little things called 'voiceover', which I will tell you a bit about later, (if you've not fallen asleep with boredom).
On the top, if you look at it as if the + button is at the top, there is a earphone socket which takes a standard 3.5mm jack. Then, more to the right, there is a little button which, when pressed, kicks in with the name of the track and singer, actually telling you instead of showing you on a screen, (this is the 'voiceover' feature). If you actually hold the button down for a second or two it then lets you choose a play list.
Now for the front, where the main controls are places in a sort of circular fashion, or more a ring. In the centre of this ring there is the play/pause button, then around the ring itself there are the rewind/back button, forward/next button with the volume up/down button on the top and bottom of the ring.
All the controls on the front have useful little symbols on them so you know exactly what that button does.
To let you know this player is switched on, playing tracks, charging up and more, there is a little light that flashes in different styles so you know what's what.
Briefly, this little light flashes orange which means that you shouldn't disconnect the unit from the PC or you may damage some, or all music files on the system.
Other uses for the little light are to let you know if there is enough power going to the ipod from the USB port. What I mean by that is that if there is no light then the USB port you are using is not giving out enough power, thus leading to no charge and no transfers.
Green light means fully charged, amber light means low battery and a red light means, yes you've guessed it, a red light means that you need to charge the battery as soon as possible. Then, if the red lights start blinking your battery is almost as flat as a witches budgerigar, (or a bird of that nature anyway).
In simple terms, green is good, amber is not bad but start thinking about doing something. Then there's red, which means it's time to panic as you music system is going to stop one way or another....
So that's it's basic features, well, what it looks like anyone.
What about it's internal gizmos...?
It's a complicated mesh of tiny bits of copper wire, teeny circuit boards, miniature bits of plastic piece and lots of microscopic dots of professionally place solder.
But all that's irrelevant really as we should not be stripping this down to its bear bones as it could invalidate its warranty.
What we do have to know is how much can this hold, GB internal memory wise, not opposable thumbs on a monkey wise.
It in fact has an internal storage space of 2GB which can hold a good amount of music. Something like 300 good quality tracks, or 200 great quality tracks, or maybe 500 not that bad quality tracks... well, you get the idea don't you? The better the quality of music then the less you can fit onto the 2GB storage space.
As for speeds of transferring, this depends on how much your sending over and which USB you're using, but in theory, and my few tests, I can get about thirty 5MP tracks over in under a minute, which gives you a rough idea of how fast you can fill this up.
And I bet you're wondering about the formats that it can play?
Well, it can handle several formats of music, such as MP3, WAV, AAC and Apple lossless?
Well, that's its inner storage.
Is there anything else about this well known, simple to look at device?
You will want to get your own music onto this, which can be done quite easily. In fact, for those that have ever owned any form of MP3 player the process is the same.
But you will need certain minor requirements, such as your PC need to be running windows 2000 and above, plus it runs perfectly well on Mac too, which is a bonus for you posh people out there.
Then, to get a full battery so that you can enjoy hours of music in your ears, (blocking out the voices in your head), you will have to charge the battery up for between 2 to 3 hours. The reason there being that with 2 hours of charign you will get about an 80% charge, which gives enough power for many hours of muscial enjoyment. But a fill charge, taking 3 hours, will give you up to 15 hours of head banging, ear splitting, teeth chattering music, (and that's just your Chikaskia collection).
As for charging it, this can be done using the old traditional plug in the walls method or connecting it up to your PC's USB port, although you will have to buy a separate cable to do this.
Any more extra information then..?
This comes in many colours, such as blue, pink, a dodgy orange colour, green and, the one I had, the boring old silver one. But each one, regardless of the colour, has a casing made of aluminium, which adds strength to this player without a doubt.
At the end of the day, (strange saying that really isn't it?), but, the Ipod range is the trend setter for several MP3 players, such as the cheaper look-a-likes from Sweex and others.
You could opt for the very pricy ipod touch, which gives you more than a music player. Or maybe the ipod nano, which gives you what is really a compact ipod touch, sort of. Or, if you just want a music player without the frills of a video player then there's this, the ipod shuffle. Which does exactly what it says on the tin, so to speak.
The controls on the front are easy to use and so obvious to feel, which makes flicking through the tracks a breeze even if this is in my pocket. I don't even have to look at the controls to use them. The little ring that the main buttons are housed on are a good size, feeling slightly different from the main body so that you can feel them without looking in there direction. And once my fingers are on the ring I know that the play button is going to be in the middle of it, which makes pressing the play button a breeze.
The entire unit is only just slightly bigger than the earphones that come in the box, or more the packaging, which just goes to show how small this really is. And as it comes in a good choice of colours, such as orange, blue, green, red and even pink, plus other colours, there's a colour for everyone at the end of the day.
What makes this different than any of the other MP3 players that I have used is a couple of additions that do come in handy, in a way.
Firstly, there's what is called the voiceover, which is quite good, and a little unique. But what does it do..?
Well, if a song comes on the player and you don't know the name of the artist and song then this will tell you, although as it was more than likely you that put the song on the player so you'll probably already know the name of the artist and song.
It will also give you the play list options so that you can switch between them. Plus, it lets you know when the battery is low and needs charging.
Then there's also what they call Genius play list. With this you select certain tracks using iTunes on your computer, then it will find the songs that it thinks go together. After it has given you a list of tracks you then simply put it on the player and away you go.
And it is these, together with the ipod and Apple name, that make this player in a league of its own, for the Apple fans anyway.
The useful thing about this player is the cracking little clip that is housed on the back. This is easy to open, with a couple of fingers pressing on the one side. But once it has closed onto something, such as a belt or even a waist band, it is not losing its grip at all, not even when I'm running around like a thief with a DVD player under my arm being chased by the local gendarme.
As for the way you charge this. Well, I have a lovely little cradle for this so that it can connect to my PC through the USB port, but to be honest I can't actually remember if the cradle came with the player itself as standard, or whether I bought it as an add on. One thing I'm sure of is that I paid for it somewhere along the line.
The cradle is perfect for what it is designed for and the iPod sits so snug inside the oval shaped flat unit. The ipod fits in only one way as there is a little prong that will slot into the charging hole of the ipod. The ipod then should sit upright as it does it's stuff, be it charge up or transfer data across.
You do not have to have the cradle, if you don't get it in the package, as the wire alone does the same job, only the ipod will have to lie flat on the table instead of looking posh in the upright position.
One thing that annoyed me a little...
The first time I connected this up I did get a little frustrated with the things that came up on my laptop. This, apparently, is normal as it is the ipod's set up assistant which helps you set up the ipod to your PC.
I do recommend showing caution as my PC has a fair few 'security' software programs running on it and to install any software takes a lot of patience and a fair amount of pressing buttons to 'agree' to the next stage of set up.
Only this one was more of a pain in the watsits than normal, for some reason, although I did get thing connected after a few tantrums.
I've had no problems with the drivers surrounding this ipod equipment and feel quite confident that it's not going to mess my system up at all. (he says as his computer goes into meltdown, sending his back details to the King of Alpasadenty).
Adding tracks to this is straight forwards, or taking them off it as well.
Most of the tracks on my ipod are from my CD collection, ripping them off the disc onto a PC, then adding them to this player. This is easily done once connected to my laptop and takes no effort at all.
There are other ways to get tracks onto this system, such as buying direct form the infamous 'itunes' store, which can get a bit costly at the end of the day, this is why I avoid this way as I do have quite a large collection of CD's so I can 't see the point of buying tracks twice, if you know what I mean. to do it this way you do have to open an account with Apple in the iTunes.
But which ever way you choose you'll find that the more you do it the better you become at it.
I have the 2GB version, which is ample for my needs as I am feel that if I want other tracks on I simply swap some over instead of having to go through thousands of tracks to find the one I want.
But there are several different GB sizes giving plenty of choice depending on how much music you want to have in one place.
The voice over button is quite useful if you want to know the name of the track and who is singing it, which, due to the fact that there is no screen to read the information, it is nice to have it read to you.
This voiceover system supports 29 languages, (apparently) but as I still struggle with English I don't really bother giving this a test run.
So, how much does one of these tiny 'jump on the ipod band wagon' music players cost then?
When they first hit the street they cost more than a politicians expense claim, but as time has passed, with other devices coming onto the market, the prices have fallen, so these days you can pick up this ipod shuffle for less than £40.
£40..? That sounds a lot for what is basically a music player that doesn't even have a screen to tell you what track is being played. Nor does it have the capabilities of showing you a video, (well, without a screen that would be very difficult wouldn't it?).
So £40 is a lot of cash, considering the fact that there are many many players of its kind out there that sell for a fraction of this ones price tag. I don't even really think that the voiceover and genius functions are important enough to warrant the £40 as, for me, I don't really find them that useful. I mean, all I want to do is listen to my music and as I was the one that put them on the player I know what's on there. I may not know exactly where one is but I know it'll come up at some point during the day, or night.
Would I recommend this ipod shuffle..?
Hmmm. For £40 I'd say no as, like I said, there are several players that are cheaper and do exactly the same job. I've owned a lot of them and been quite happy with the majority.
Don't get me wrong, if you get this in a sale for about £15 then yes, go for it, join the iPod world. You can't go wrong for £15. But I personally don't think that it warrants selling for the standard iPod high price that we have all gotton accustomed to these days, with some people queuing outside a shop for weeks at a time just to be able to say to their mate, (if they have any), "I was the fist to buy an iPod willie warmer." (no, they haven't brought one of those out yet? But when they do please remember that you heard it from me first).
Summary: An Apple a day keeps the DJ awake... or something like that anyway.
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