|The 4th generation iPod Shuffle|
|This thing is small! For comparison, plug is standard USB size (~1 inch)|
|The clip, VoiceOver, and mode buttons|
To address my fear of the lack of a screen, well, that is also why I found the Shuffle refreshing. Instead of the distraction of a screen and picking what songs I want, I'd load up 2 hours worth of songs I want to listen to, and just have it shuffle them at random. That way I'd always be listening to something I want, and I wouldn't have to worry about fumbling with the device to change tracks. The utter simplicity is refreshing. Clip on, turn on, and go. Now don't get me wrong, I love gadgets and technology (hence my decision to major in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science), but when I'm running it is refreshing to be able to focus solely on the run. Not to mention, the Nano's click wheel or the newer touch screen tend to dislike sweat (meaning they fail to work at times). Nothing is more annoying than having to stop in the middle of a run to fumble with your iPod, or trying to turn the volume down only to have the click wheel malfunction and blast your eardrums. And if you really must know what song is playing, just press the VoiceOver button and the robotic voice will announce it (assuming you have the feature enabled in iTunes).
Speaking of VoiceOver, I'll admit it was not that easy to install. I tried several times, and each time the installer failed or froze (even after a complete restore of the iPod). This problem isn't specific to me either, as a quick search revealed many other users with the same problem. Eventually I gave up, and then one day I accidentally pressed the VoiceOver button and it worked. Seems like it had installed behind my back. So just don't be surprised if you have difficulties installing.
|Another view of the top|
|Special USB cable for charging and syncing|
To sum it all up, I am pretty impressed with the iPod Shuffle. It fit what I was looking for perfectly. Simple, no frills, and easy to use. Thus far I have not had any serious issues with it, and I'd highly recommend it for anyone who runs with music and is looking for a new MP3 player. Especially if you want one JUST FOR RUNNING (something cheap but high quality that you can sweat all over and not worry about). The pricing is pretty good, although you can certainly find other MP3 players for less. If you aren't into Apple products or just want an alternative, I'd take a look at the SanDisk Clip. I've heard good things about this player but I've had relatively good experiences with Apple products so I decided to go with the Shuffle. Refurbished Shuffles typically go for around $30, and less if you can dig up a coupon. Probably the only reason I wouldn't recommend a Shuffle is if you plan to use it a lot outside of running. When it comes to casual music listening, the lack of a screen and small storage can are serious shortcomings. But, if you already own a more expensive MP3 player and don't want to cause damage from sweat and rain, I'd strongly recommend the Apple iPod Shuffle.
As always, thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or experiences!