Ye Giant iPod Shuffle (2010) Review
Just to recap, this year Apple took the buttons away from the new iPod Nano, but bought them back for the new shuffle. Last year, Apple abandoned the design of the iPod shuffle and moved from a square sized player, to a more minimalistic design where the buttons were only located on the headphone wire cord.
Looks like not too many people liked that (including us) which led back to Apple re-introducing the now-comfortable design to the Shuffle line. Last year’s shuffle also bought a new ‘Voice Over‘ feature, which can also be found on the new version. Since the Shuffle doesnt have a display, the Voice Over feature speaks the names of playlists, and makes things just generally a bit easier to use.
The Retail Package:
The 2010 iPod Shuffle ships with basically what you’d expect. Standard Headphones, USB-to-3.5mm-connector cable and a manual. More info in our iPod Shuffle unboxing post.
The Design (and UI?):
Like the iPod Shuffles of previous generations, the 2010 Shuffle has a square, aluminum casing, with physical buttons. It also still comes in a variety of colors (Silver, Blue, Orange, Pink, Green and a limited edition Red).
The classic white scroll wheel is present, just without the scrolling. Users can adjust volume, skip tracks and play/pause (with a button at the middle). The buttons are generally easy enough to press, but you might occasionally pause your music when trying to increase the volume. Just takes a bit of getting used to I’d imagine.
The Aluminum finish means the shuffle is durable too, and scratch resistant, which is just darn great.
Also like previous generation shuffles, the 2010 ipod shuffle has a clip on the back, which is quite sturdy and strong enough to cling onto even thin layers of cloth. With a weight of 0.44 ounces (12.5 grams) you wont even notice it.
Plus it only measures 29.0 mm by 31.6 mm by 8.7 mm (including clip), so it’s tiny enough.
It charges via the special USB dongle that connects via the 3.5mm Headphone jack, so you might want to take care of that tiny wire. There’s a switch to allow you to turn it on or off, and you can play playlists in order or in Shuffle mode.
There’s also the Voice Over button on the top, between the headphone jack and On/Off switch. As we mentioned earlier, this feature was introduced in the last gen shuffle and announces the names of playlists, songs, and artists. It’ll also let you know the battery status. You just have to press the Voice Over button to hear the track name and artist name. You can press and hold to hear the nmes of various playlists, and press the button twice to know battery status. When you’re listening to the names of playlists, just press the button again to play the song when you hear it said.
It’s a pretty straightforward design that we cant complain about to be honest. We appreciate that Apple went back to the square shape with buttons for the shuffle though. That being said, we wished Apple also shipped the previous generation shuffe’s inline-controls headphones with this new version too. I’d imagine many people on the go could just pinch the headphone’s controls to adjust the volume or skip tracks, etc.
This generation of Shuffle only holds 2GB of music versus the 4GB of the last year, but it’s also the least expensive iPod that Apple has sold so far. You have to store your music on iTunes, even if you didnt purchase it through the store, and sync it over to the shuffle. That process took about 5 minutes and went along smoothly enough on our Macbook Pro.
The headphones that come with the retail package are the same classic white earbud Apple headphones that come with the other iPods. They tend to slip out very often, so we prefer in-ear type headphones personally. Luckily, you can switch and use any other pair of headphones with the 3.5mm Audio jack of the shuffle. No bluetooth tho, so no wireless music for you.
The Battery Life:
Apple says the shuffle can last for 15 hours of music playback. We found that to be pretty accurate.
You cant really complain about the iPod shuffle. I mean sure, it would have been nice if there was a 4GB option, and maybe it’d be nice if the in-box headphones had inline controls. But otherwise we think Apple was pretty smart with the redesign of this tiny little music-only player. It’s way more easier to use than the previous generation, thanks to the physical buttons, and the Voice Over feature helps you switch playlists easily. If you arnt the kind of person to ‘choose’ a particular song (Eg: Gym Goers or Runners who just want to play workout music), then the shuffle is a nicely designed, easy to use MP3 player at a not-too-bad price.
The iPod Shuffle is currently selling at a price of Indian Rs 3200. Prices vary according to region, so it might be more cheaper depending on where you get it. More info on Apple India’s iPod Shuffle Product Page.