Company: Pacific Rim Technologies
Model: iPod Shuffle Accessory Pack
Compatible: iPod shuffle
Pacific Rim Technologies iPod shuffle Accessory Kit
Pros: A combination of lanyard heardphones and two replacement iPod shuffle plastic USB caps.
Cons: Each of the components looks and feels cheap - below the standards we expect for any of them. Headphones aren’t marked by side, aren’t especially comfortable, and provide sub-iPod pack-in-quality sound because of where they rest on your ears. USB caps are the cheapest and worst we’ve seen.
Going to buy an iPod shuffle lanyard headphone set? You have two new options. Pacific Rim Technologies’ new iPod shuffle Accessory Pack is one of them, an $11 set that gives you a very simple set of lanyard headphones, plus two USB caps for your shuffle. Once their fabric necklace has been straightened out a bit, it’s hard to imagine these being really bad, but we were highly unimpressed by the package - even for the price.
For starters, the USB caps are the cheapest and worst we’ve seen. One is designed to attach to the lanyard headphones, and the other serves as a replacement for the standard cap that comes with your iPod shuffle. Besides the fact that their external curves are a bit awkward given the shuffle’s body shape, they lack internal ball bearings or any other mechanism save pressure to hold onto your iPod’s USB plug - they’re just glossy white plastic shells.
The earbuds connect with your shuffle via the headphone port, unlike Griffin’s competing and similar TuneBuds, which connect neatly via the USB port and therefore look a lot cleaner and nicer. Pacific Rim’s offering uses a silver button that pops the headphones loose from the shuffle’s USB cap if you need to separate them; the button works, but detracts visually from the class and simplicity of the design.
Similarly, while the TuneBuds don’t scream “expensive,” Pac Rim’s earbuds scream “cheap.” with chrome-accented white plastic spikes sticking up outside your ear canals. and a thin rubber cap sitting inside. Pacific Rim’s earbuds aren’t labelled for the left and right sides of your head, and once they’re inside your ears, they neither provide great isolation or comfort. In our testing, they didn’t sound as good as Apple’s earbuds, mostly because they didn’t fit as snugly inside our ears. A lack of foams or rubber earpieces in the package was partially to blame.
Pac Rim’s frequent saving grace on inexpensive iPod accessories - the low price - is not enough to make us interested in using and wearing these. In truth, we would never buy stuff that looks this junky, even for a low-end iPod shuffle, and wouldn’t recommend that you do, either.