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5 stars for the remote - where is the iPod?
on 3 April 2005
It's quite a shock when you receive your iPod through the post. Nothing prepares you for the size (or lack of) of the package and the iPod is so small it could pass as a remote control.
There are three disadvantages to buying a shuffle:
1. The unit is sealed so replacing the battery is not an option - although it can be recharged 500 - 1000 times this is a potential problem.
2. There is no space for connectors other than a headphone socket - you can't connect it into your car stereo.
3. There is no display. So you can't choose the type of music at play time.
The advantages are:
1. Its incredibly small size
2. Long battery life
3. Ease of use
Replacing the battery may sound like a limitation however the speed of technology changing means that when the time it may be preferable to upgrade rather than repair.
Connection to other equipment - if you want this then a regular iPod is probably the answer.
Lack of display. Whilst this may not be for everyone, the choice of music is readily chosen at download time.
For someone who must put every possible CD onto their iPod and then select only a subset for listening this isn't an option. For everyone else it's not a problem.
By not having a display, the battery life is very long. Whilst use may vary it doesn't run down over two weeks - obviously your mileage will vary. This also points to the battery replacement not being relevant.
The shuffle facility presents tracks in a semi-random order. This is actually very handy. By moving forwards and backwards through the tracks two or three presses of a button is sufficient. At this point you can switch to sequential or leave it on shuffle. The backwards button allows the previous shuffled track to be replayed but this feature can also be used to switch to playing a different set of sequential tracks.
In some ways if you havn't considered the plus/minuses of 'display - no display' then its not time to make a purchase.
Which one? The 1GB may seem the better buy - but the battery life will only allow (at most) one play through the music (less than 25 CDs on a 1GB iPod) or (12 CDs on a 512MB iPod).
If you have a car CD stacker (6 CD unit) then 12 CD may seem a modest (limited) improvement and 25 CD more appealing especially as the difference in cost is about three regular CD purchases. Since the unit can't be upgraded I bought the 1GB unit.
Because the unit can also be used as a USB memory stick this points to the 1GB being a better buy - you move a slider in the software setup to allocate space for USB memory - which limits the download of software. There seems little point also carrying a memory stick around.
If you already have a regular iPod - I can't see the point in also having a shuffle aside from the size and long battery life.
For anyone else the shuffle is absolutely brilliant and you won't regret buying one.
PS Like all rechargeable items it pays dividends to let the unit run down completely once in a while to get the best possible battery life.