There is a reason that Apple computers have a cultlike following. Even when you get past all of their hype and hipster cred, the fact remains that Apple makes durable and easy-to-use products that people tend to hang on to and enjoy for a long time. Case in point is the iPod Shuffle, a tiny music player that’s perfect for the person on a budget who still wants the iPod experience.
There are downsides to getting a shuffle. The lack of screen gives you no control over the music coming up. It’s so small that it’s pretty easy to lose. It has much less storage capacity then other iPod models. It’s hard to explain why people are willing to pay $80 for an MP3 player without a screen when you can get a nice generic one for half that.
However, once you start using the Shuffle, you begin to see the source of it’s popularity. Yes, it’s small, which means it’s compact and easy to take when you are jogging or working hard. It’s frustrating to skip around to hear your favorite song sometimes, but after a while you will come to enjoy the spontaneity of the shuffle. If you get tired of it, you can always take it out of shuffle mode and listen to the songs in their album order. Also, the lack of screen lends a lot to its overall durability. And while it has less storage then other iPod models, it charges faster, loads music more quickly, and can run longer then the video screen models.
There are other advantages. If you have an Apple computer and are already an iTunes user, this player will work like a dream for you. You plug it in and tell it which playlist you’d like it to upload, and that’s it. It could not be simpler to use, which is a big part of it’s charm. The easy switch on the back and its dial control all lend to it’s easy function. It even comes packaged with a cheat card that tells you all the button shortcuts if you don’t feel like reading the manual. And of course, it’s insanely durable. It’s made of solid plastic and can take all kinds of shocks. I have owned two (one was stolen) and I have never had a single functionality problem with either unit. After years of fighting with cheap walkmen, this alone made it worth the price.
The best thing about the shuffle for me is that you can actually use it as a flash drive if you partition off the memory. You can partition off part of the memory for data, have a zip drive that works on Mac or PC, and still have room for a couple hundred songs. Pretty handy for a student or someone who works at home a lot.
In conclusion, the iPod shuffle is well worth it for the price. If you really want control over your music selection then save a bit and get a Nano, but if you just want a nice durable player that will last, you should definitely give this one a shot.