Apple iPod shuffle (Updated 2nd Generation)
- Design, durability, new colours, competitive price, good battery life
- Only minor changes, no display, below average sound quality
Only minor aesthetic changes have been made to the new iPod shuffle. It may serve you well as a secondary music player, or a device ideal for jogging or exercise, but the lack of a screen and below average sound quality diminishes its value.
Price$ 99.00 (AUD)
Along with the announcements of the new iPod Touch, updated nano and the now re-named iPod Classic, Apple also updated its second generation iPod shuffle. Unfortunately, the changes are mostly aesthetic and don't improve the player in any way, shape or form, a move that will leave most disappointed.
The good news is that the price has dropped. The new shuffle has been reduced to under $100, and it certainly represents decent value. The only other change is the new colour range. The shuffle is now available in silver, blue, green and purple, as well as a special edition PRODUCT (RED) model. The new colours also extend to the clip - the previous iPod shuffle (2nd Generation) clip was silver in colour, regardless of the main colour.
Apple still claims the shuffle is the world's smallest digital music player, but its main issue remains the lack of an LCD display. If you want to listen to one song in particular, it is a hit and miss affair being able to find it, especially if you've almost filled the 1GB of storage capacity. For those who rarely listen to music but want an MP3 player, then the shuffle does a decent job, although its sound quality is noticeably inferior to other iPod models on the market. The included earphones are poor, but even with a quality pair, the shuffle produces average sound quality. Bass is weak, lacking the punch needed to pump out heavy drum & bass and hip-hop tracks, while the highs sound flat, causing vocals and guitar riffs to lose clarity.
The clip hinge remains sturdy, so the shuffle is definitely ideal for the sporty types. Its best use would most likely be at a gym or going jogging. But then again, the Nike + iPod is an excellent accessory; however, it isn't compatible with the shuffle due to its lack of a display. The shuffle's small USB dock remains, and connects via the 3.5mm audio jack for transferring music and charging via a PC or Mac.
Apple claims the shuffle has a battery life of up to 12 hours, but our rundown test gave us a slightly higher total of around 16 hours, so battery life is definitely a real positive.
In the end, the shuffle remains largely the same unit as its predecessor, except for a couple of minor aesthetic changes, and a slight drop in price. For those on a tight budget, the shuffle will do the job, but the lack of screen is too much of a hindrance.
Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.
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