Apple Computer iPod shuffle (Second-Generation) | iLounge

Reviews

31

Hi, gang. Just received my 2G Shuffle this morning (actually a gift for my S.O., who flipped when she opened the box:-)). Very nicely done – if overall performance (battery life, etc.) lives up to or near my initial impression, there'll be a lot of happy new 'Pod people out there. Cupertino's going to sell a zillion of 'em. Yes, the 'phones packed with this one are the old ones, but for a first-time user they're far from terrible (I use the ones I got with my recently-purchased factory-refurb 4G iPod Photo, although most of the time I use the A-T ATH-EM7 clip-ons I got soon after getting my 'Pod).

And...no need for an accessory case! Just clip on, switch on, go. (There's a new slogan for you, Steve...)

The ONE thing I didn't check out is how this new Shuffle deals with third-party PCI USB 2.0 ports (I installed one in galfriend's G4 tower; her younger son has hooked up his iPod Video to it with no issues). Other than the somewhat-known problem of waking a Mac so-equipped from sleep whenever anything is plugged into said ports, I'm hoping there's no problem charging up the Shuffle from these ports. I'll report back with results for anyone interested.

- Barrett

Posted by amateriat on November 2, 2006 at 1:32 PM (PDT)

32

My 2G Shuffle arrived Wednesday. It's a fab little device that is so small, it might be easy to lose. I didn't use the headphones that came with it, have better ones i use with my Nano. Soud quality of the Shuffle is not as good as the Nano I hav to say, even with good headphones, it lacks treble clarity and i have yet to find a way to change the EQ on it. Bass is Ok though. I'd day it's 85% of the audio quality of the Nano. My main use is just to put new albums i buy or just put a few compilation of tracks on it for short journies/ day trips. Forthat it's great.

Posted by mart356 on November 3, 2006 at 7:30 AM (PDT)

33

Mart356 - Shuffles don't do EQ.

Frankly, I am surprised that there is any notable audible difference in the new Shuffle when compared with other iPods - it is so simple and cheap to design decent output stages for these devices. I will have to listen for myself to decide if there is anything to it.

I have a 1G Shuffle for workouts, and like it very much for that limited purpose when I don't want a screen to look at or damage. A combination of a full size iPod and a Shuffle gives you a lot of options when you go out.

Posted by BradPDX in Portland, OR USA on November 3, 2006 at 11:01 AM (PDT)

34

Just used my 2nd gen ipod in the gym yesterday! this is the best ipod for working out. Just clip it and go. Before, I was using the 1st gen which is super light and on a arm band. But, when you try to do arm exercises, it constricts.

this 2nd gen bad boy is light on the shirt and no constriction!

good job apple

Posted by darthipod on November 3, 2006 at 3:19 PM (PDT)

35

Just to hop back into this thread: I happen to think that this second iteration of the Shuffle makes a bit more sense than the first. The review stresses the fact that the Shuffle lacks a few perks that the cheapest nano offers (color screen, etc.), but seems to somewhat ignore the flip side of this argument: utter simplicity and freedom from eyestrain.

This might seem amusing at first, but think about it: since you essentially wear the new shuffle (and without having to buy an extra gadget to do so) as opposed to stuffing it in a bag or pocket, it's a lot easier to operate it purely by touch as opposed to staring at the thing in your hand (you could do this with most any iPod, of course, but it's a bit more intuitive with this newest Shuffle). To make a Star Trek analogy (sorry, folks – only thing that comes to mind at the moment), think of Kirk's Communicator versus Picard's Federation "smart" badge: in the latter case, there's nothing to whip out, stare at and twiddle with – it's all by touch. (Screen size is a reason I chose to go with a refurbished iPod Photo instead of a new 8GB nano; having an extra 52GB to play with dosen't hurt, either.)

The new Shuffle strikes me as the design Apple probably wanted to do from the get-go, but wasn't ready for when they felt the time was ripe for a flash-based player, and decided to go with the simpler, pack-of-Wrigley's design instead. The new Shuffle epitomises Apple's minimalist strengths quite nicely. If you need more features or capacity than this offers, there's always the nano. But I'm betting a lot of people will find this Shuffle "just right", whether it's their first iPod or an adjunct to their bigger 'Pod.

(This brings to mind the old joke about what might have happened if radio had been invented after television: two kids meet in a playground, and one of them boasts, "Hey, guess what? My Dad came home today with this great new thing called a "radio". You plug it in and turn it on, and you don't have to look at it!")

And, being wearable, brushed aluminum goes with everything. wink (But I'm betting on a few flourishes of color in a while...you know how Apple is.)


- Barrett

Posted by amateriat on November 3, 2006 at 4:24 PM (PDT)

36

I got one of this new shuffle today.
http://blog.williamli.org/2006/11/04/ipod-shuffle-2nd-gen/

I already own a 80GB iPod but carrying around while I was running / doing other sport seems to be a real worry.

I bought this over a nano that just cost a bit more because when I go out to exercise, i don't really read the screen and the included clip also save me $$ (1/3 the cost of the shuffle) from don't have to get an arm band.

Posted by williamli1983 on November 4, 2006 at 12:29 AM (PDT)

37

amateriat: This basically goes without saying if you've used any screened iPod released over the last couple of years, but if you crave simplicity, hit the "Shuffle Songs" command from the iPod's main menu (or pick any playlist for that matter, or just hit "play" when the unit is first turned on and on top of the option "Music"), and marvel at the iPod's ability to be operated without looking at the screen.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 4, 2006 at 7:34 AM (PDT)

38

I agree with you that it's not a great value but I think the original Shuffle served a few purposes:

a) There was a sales gap in the lower end.
b) Pricing it aggressively was to bring in fence sitters on the whole ipod thing. The shuffle served as a low price trial thing.

As you point out, with aggressive pricing, Apple was also making a statement but Apple was also clever enough to make it distinctive so that sales of the higher end ipods were not affected by a lot - now with Shuffle 2G, the stakes are slightly differently.

2 years later, the ipod no longer needs a cheaper than cheap introduction. If you want the ipod experience and cachet, it's going to cost you a bit more - as you point, there are cheaper models but the only people those are really selling to are for people who hate Apple (for bizarro psychological reasons - they loath the ipod because it's too "popular" yet hate mac users for not joining in the Windows crowd - just bizarre) and people who don't know any better and think DAP are all the same ... but look at it this way. If you're giving your assistant a player for the holidays, what does it say if you buy a non-ipod? You have no clue? You are cheap? You don't think they're worth the best? EXACTLY. For people who buy by specs, the best value is really the regular ipod in terms of options and storage but Apple is smart enough to have somethig for everyone but ALL with the ipod name stamped on it. it's not cheap but it's a classy holiday choice - it's the "best' and it's basically the price of dinner for 2 (w/o wine) ... it's like the fact that Tiffany champagne glasses cost at least twice as much as any other nice store but when you hand over a Tiffany blue box, it means you decided they were worth it ...

That Steve Jobs guy, he's no dummy.

Posted by jbelkin on November 4, 2006 at 8:31 PM (PDT)

39

I bought a new Shuffle for a friend for a birthday gift. He has no computer, so I'm betting that this is the perfect thing for him. I'll load it up for him, and then all he has to do is push a button to listen to music.

See ya
Steve

Posted by Stephen Worth in North Hollywood, CA on November 4, 2006 at 9:17 PM (PDT)

40

I'm owning a 3G iPod and a Shuffle. I use the Shuffle for workout. I don't miss the screen for a second.

You don't have to worry about dropping the Shuffle, and you can just put in a pocket of a shirt or your trousers, it is so leightweight it won't bother you while running or pulling and pushing at weigths.

Now the Shuffle is even smaller and you can clip it on; even more compelling for a workout.

Maybe, on the surface the Shuffle is a bad investment, compared to a Nano or other cheap Flash based players, but I'm seriously contemplating to replace my older Shuffle for this new one, just because it is even smaller.

Posted by tennapel on November 5, 2006 at 1:49 PM (PDT)

41

I have had my shuffle for 5 days now and have used it a couple of times in the gym. I bought it primarily for this purpose and also for use skiing and cycling where should an accident befall it, I won't be too heartbroken! I have a 3G iPod 30gb and plan to get a new 80gb iPod early next year to keep everything on (I use my iPods almost exclusively for music).

The new shuffle is basic, yes, but I find the sound quality good, (sennheiser in ear buds) and the convenience factor makes it worth the purchase price alone. I have found though, on two different laptops, that the transfer rate of songs (i use 128 AAC for the shuffle to keep size down)is pretty slow on USB2, even when the songs are already encoded at 128.

Does what its supposed to very well. And looks and feels fantastic. Cheers.

Posted by barnetto on November 6, 2006 at 2:00 AM (PDT)

42

This review ignores one important aspect of the Shuffle: the freedom that comes from loss of control. To load up 240 songs and then sit back and see what comes out can be a lot more fun than slaving over playlists or scrolling through a list of 2,000 songs or debating whether and which photos to carry around, etc. Reviewers tend to obsess about features because they need to parse the differences between one model and another, but sometimes a lack of features becomes an important feature in itself.

Posted by ScottL on November 6, 2006 at 8:58 AM (PDT)

43

I have a 1024mb 1G shuffle, but the headphone port loosened over the coarse of 8 months and then it started playing stereo only when i applied light pressure to the headphone plug in one direction. (Yes, it is the iPod at fault, not the headphones) I'm wondering if I should replace it with a new, durable, 2G shuffle, or consider a Nano or a Zune or something.

and Orgel, send the iPod headphones to 3044 edgewood ave s, SLP MN, 55426 and i'll send you the cost of shipping. smile
-G Babatz

Posted by DrinkMorePowerade on November 6, 2006 at 10:39 PM (PDT)

44

Clip: absolutely no problem...!
Earphones: you know them already- they're the old ones so as good/bad as you thought before (I thought they were ok but I prefer my (also pretty cheap) Panasonic ones with the volume control on).
If you are a runner- why would you want a screen? This is absolutely the best (and cheapest) option... unless you plan on exercising for more than 16 hours, in which case you will run out of music... Very glad I didn't buy a Nano, however pretty that new red one is! -Rob

Posted by robjacks on November 7, 2006 at 7:57 AM (PDT)

45

"the ratio of features to price between the iPod shuffle and its closest alternative, the iPod nano, is no longer even close"

Eh?? This is around half the price of a low end nano!?!?

Just got mine yesterday and I am suitably impressed with the build and sound quality. My only critisism is the itunes software is just a piece of sh1te bloatware!! It just doesn't work! Everytime I try to copy music, update or restore I get read/write errors! Now I have installed anapod and it works a treat. Who on earth wants a software application to 'organise' their music for them anyway?? Give me an explorer style interface any day!!

Posted by mr335 on November 10, 2006 at 4:23 AM (PDT)

46

I have had my new Shuffle for a few days and in general I have been impressed with it.

My previous iPod was a 40Gb 4G with which I used Sony Fontopia in-ear phones. First problem I have encountered is that these phones really don't work very well with the Shuffle. The sound is lifeless and unexciting. However I tried it with my new Sennheiser PX100 on-ear open phones and the sound really comes to life. If you are disappointed with the sound it might be worth trying other phones.

The other issue (if it can be called such) is that I can now hear the limitations of encoding at 128Kbps, especially with mp3s, but also with AAC to a lesser extent. I am hoping that this is because the reproduction quality of the equipment is such that it is showing up the shortcomings of the compression, rather than the Shuffle itself being the culprit. I will do some comparisons at different bitrates.

The aluminium casing is really attractive and looks to be very wear resistant. I confess to being nervous about the longevity of the headphone/USB socket but only time will tell on that.

Posted by Mr Squiddy on November 19, 2006 at 6:41 AM (PDT)

47

As a few folks have noted: the teeny-tiny Shuffle is absolutely the way to go if you only use a music player when you are at the gym - like me. I'm not a hipster doofus - I don't carry a music player anywhere in my daily life - the only time that I need to have "music to go" is when I am at the gym, and the Shuffle is absolutely perfect. It carries way more than enough tunes/podcasts to get me through several workouts each week - don't need any multi-GB storage for that. The first-gen Shuffle was awesome, but having picked up the next-gen Shuffle over the weekend, I am even more amazed. The clip is solid - I have no worries that it will fail or fall off. The sound quality - to my normal, non-Equalizer ears - is just as good as the original Shuffle. And what the hell would I need a screen for? I know what songs I loaded!

My review for both the Shuffle and the next-gen Shuffle: a very solid "A" rating!

Posted by davidmsc on November 25, 2006 at 8:54 PM (PDT)

48

You know what? I love the Shuffle.

There are players in its price category with more features. Fine. I could buy a player with games, an FM tuner, line-in recording, and possibly even video/photo support for about the same price (Zen V Plus, around $89 after rebate). Fine.

But who gives a crap? It's $80, it's tiny, it's easy to use, and it plays music! My cellphone plays music, but buying a 1GB microSD card and the stupid heeadphone adapter will cost at least $60. I don't want something that's complicated. I don't want something that takes up a lot of room in my pocket.

Clip it on, turn it on, triple-press play, and listen to some damned music. You don't have to "boot it up", you don't have to screw around with the interface.

Oh, and because there's no display, it's easier to listen to while driving. And another bonus: put it on playlist mode and you begin to develop a "feel" for your music. You know what will be next, which is kind of fun.

Posted by bsoft16384 on December 16, 2006 at 6:07 PM (PDT)

49

I weird, I admit it. I don't listen to much music. I *do* listen to a lot of audio books from Audible though. The Shuffle will hold 250 *hours* of Audible books (format 2). I find that amazing considering the size. I couldn't be happier.

There are a couple of mentions on the web about the Shuffle going into a "deep sleep" mode to conserve the battery if you pause it and leave it paused without turning it off. Anyone know anything about that? Details and confirmation are hard to come by. How is the battery life on these things? 12-18 hours?

Posted by dje on January 6, 2007 at 8:39 AM (PDT)

50

This is ridiculous!! Piece of junk! I have purchased 5 diferent types of Ipods over the past few years, 7 if you count two I gave as gifts. I just purchased my 5th personal Ipod this past weekend Ipod "shuffle 2nd Gen". Great size format, but a piece of junk. My current video Ipod is mainly used for my car stereo and my home stereo. Over the years I have determined that the best sound quality is the Apple Lossless file format. Apple has decided that their own shuffle device will play almost any other audio compression format but their own. The shuffle will NOT play apple lossless! Apparently this has been so since their 1st gen shuffle. Who cares why they decided to omit the format small device or not. I just need the shuffle to carry short playlists for my workouts. Now with just over 1500 songs I am going to have to re-import all 1500 songs from more than a 150 CD's. Then keep duplicate lists of all songs over 3000!!! Just so I will be able to take lower resolution songs when I go running. JUNK!!! I am a firm believer in a lot of apple products but you can bet your bottom dollar that I took the shuffle back the next day. If apple dosent believe in their apple lossless then now neither do I. I guess it's back to MP3....

Posted by maxepic on February 5, 2007 at 7:48 AM (PDT)

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