Apple iPod Shuffle 1GB

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At a Glance
  • Apple iPod shuffle, second-generation 1GB

Apple's minuscule iPod Shuffle is smaller than a matchbook, slimmer than a microcassette, and so light that you could clip it on your shirt and not stretch the fabric. In my hands-on testing of the updated Shuffle, I found it a worthy player for the price--despite limited controls and capacity.

The 1GB iPod Shuffle sells for $79, quite a drop from the the original 1GB Shuffle's price of $149. And while the elder Shuffle came in a white, gum-pack-size, plasticized case, the new one has a matte-anodized aluminum finish that resists smudging during ordinary use. A spring clip on the Shuffle's back accounts for half of the device's thickness, and attached firmly to my clothing during my tests.

The Shuffle comes bundled with a USB 2.0 dock for charging and syncing the player. The player fits into the dock snugly, attaching at both the dock connector and the headphone jack. The dock is tiny, but its weight and the grippy nonslip pad underneath will help keep it in place on your desk. (An optional $29 USB adapter lets you charge the Shuffle without the dock.)

Like its predecessor, the new Shuffle lacks a display. A switch on the bottom of the unit allows you to toggle between playing songs sequentially and in random order. Besides a four-way navigation dial, the redesigned Shuffle has an extremely small (think pinhole) LED that lights green, orange, or red to indicate such things as battery status (Apple claims that the new Shuffle will run for up to 12 hours on one battery charge); but I found the LED too small and too subtle to be useful).

ITunes 7.0.2 or later will recognize the updated Shuffle and use an algorithm to upload your recently played and top-rated songs. Alternatively, you can manually pick the songs you want to upload. Audio quality through the included earbuds was only fair, though loud and full; on our audio tests, the Shuffle was among the noiser units we've tested.

The bottom line: I like the small size and versatility of Apple's new iPod Shuffle. In view of the unit's modest dimensions, the lack of a screen seems less deplorable than with the original Shuffle.

Narasu Rebbapragada

This story, "Apple iPod Shuffle 1GB" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • Apple's iPod Shuffle offers solid sound quality for the money, so long as you don't need an LCD screen.

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