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Customer Review

86 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What I wish I'd known in August 2005., 11 Feb. 2007
This review is from: Apple iPod Shuffle 1GB - Silver (Electronics)
I bought a 60GB iPod Photo for nearly £300. Loved it. But it broke after 14 months, a faulty (or mistreated after not being carried very carefully in by bike pannier) hard disk. £160 to get another disc fitted. £240 to buy a new machine. Oh dear!

I really missed having a full sized iPod but couldn't afford a new one. Since '05 I've got a mortgage again and money like that isn't there. I had to have a way of playing music and speech on the go and so I bought the little beauty we have here. And now... I wonder why anyone would want one of the full sized iPods. The 60GB still wasn't big enough for my enormous music collection and I was forever fretting about what I was leaving out. But looking back I realise I could have done with a much smaller capacity machine as I generally listened to a couple of hundred tracks on favoured albums in the year I had it.

Managing the music is very simple. You can randomly fill the device every time you plug it in, but you can nearly as easily fill it with a proper programme of music you choose. All you do is clear the iPod of its contents and then drag a playlist into the iPod symbol in iTunes. You can therefore pre prepare programmes depending on the mood you expect you'll be in that day. And you can still have a huge collection in iTunes to make your selections from. I wish particularly that this aspect of the thing had occurred to me sooner - now my iTunes library is going to be complete, perhaps 100 GB or more, and I'll just take with me what I want that day.

There's a change of mind set with the shuffle. You know you're limited to 966MB as you fill it(not the advertised Gigabyte... why take up the machine's capacity with software and not put that in a printed circuit?), but that's still a lot of music. You tend to plan your playlist a bit more carefully than you might with a bigger machine. After a week I already have my favourite rock, blues, classical and so on set up in playlists of the right size so I can just load and go any morning. Apart form the radio shows I record form off streams (using `Total Recorder' at 128kbs) all my music is encoded at 192kbs so I don't get the advertised 240 songs into my shuffle, just 150... but that is still a long day's entertainment.

Another big change is that the bulky, awkward and fragile iPod is replaced by a few grams of easily forgotten about metal and plastic. It clips to my tee shirt pocket and seems to disappear. You don't know you're wearing it.

There are some drawbacks compared to the bigger machines. Obviously without a screen you can't see what is playing and you can only find a specific track by shuttling forward through possibly hundreds of others... unless you recall where you put them. I do miss the battery life indicator and the bar showing you the progress through the song. There are some less obvious limitations and one of these is that the iPod shuffle is charged using the same hole as the headphones plug into. It is no longer possible to charge and play at the same time. You can't manage the equalisation of the music either but with decent `phones the machine plays beautifully anyway.

The new headphones are an improvement on the old ones, although to be honest they are still poor compared to the array of Sennhieser cans I bought for my old 4th Gen. MX500s for speech when I'm on my bike (I can hear trouble coming). PX100s for comfy indoor listening and CX300s for those times when I still want base response and I want to block out a noisy environment. Incidentally the fact you can clip the iPod shuffle to a shirt pocket or collar means that the old problem of too-short headphone cables has disappeared for good.

Overall five stars is entirely justified for this. (....) is a small price to play for a marvel whose size belies its ability. If I got a year out of it before it died I'd buy another immediately.

One last thing - don't bother buying a case. The aluminuim finish is much less prone to marking and scratching than the soft plastic of regular iPods and, with no screen to damage, the machine stands up well on its own.
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