Fewer features, better sound
Not all iPod users are looking for the enormous amount of storage and video playback features offered by the iPod Touch or the processing power of the iPad. In fact, some users want a music playback experience exclusively and are willing to sacrifice the iPod’s traditional scroll-wheel navigational feature to get it. For those music fans looking to take their MP3 player on a run or who may find themselves on a constricting budget, the best option may not even by the lightweight iPod Nano, but instead the incredibly small and feather-light iPod Shuffle, a screen-less device with limited storage capacity but excellent audio quality and a simple, portable design. It might not be able to play movies, it might only hold a couple hundred songs, and it might not be able to access the increasingly popular App Store, but the iPod Shuffle, which retails for well under $100, does have its uses.
Simple Design, Simple Intentions
The iPod Shuffle has a simple design: It is a square in shape, and it features a clip on its back side, making it easily attachable to a front or side pocket on a run or errand. Its front face features only a circle with four elevated buttons: one on each side to navigate through tracks, and one each on the circle’s top and bottom to adjust the volume. Along the top of the device are two sliders: One turns the device on and off, and a second switches between random and sequential music library playback.
More recent versions of the Shuffle offer a new VoiceOver feature, in which a song’s title and playlist name are described to the listener with the touch of a button. It’s a creative way to compensate for the lack of a screen. Like the iPod Touch, the Shuffle includes the Genius feature, which helps create custom, on-the-fly playlists.
Lots of Music in a Small Package
The Shuffle ships with a free set of earbud headphones, and users can select from five different colors: teal blue, neon green, bright pink, burnt orange and silver. Older versions also include purple.
Because of its simple design and low storage options (1GB or 2GB, holding about 200 or 400 songs, respectively), the Shuffle is an affordable device. The 1GB version retails for under $50, while the 2GB edition is available for around $80.