Company: Speck Products
Model: Shuffle Dock
Compatible: iPod shuffle
Speck Products Shuffle Dock
Pros: Slightly more affordable and visually interesting version of Apple’s iPod shuffle Dock, with slightly larger cord.
Cons: Apart from shape, no frills such as lights, extra USB ports, or audio-out. Price is only slightly lower than Apple’s.
Though Apple’s iPod shuffle Dock (iLounge rating: B) benefits from both early manufacturing and distribution advantages, it took only months for other companies to release similar or better offerings at lower prices - how hard is it to make a USB cable with a plastic mount that keeps the iPod shuffle vertical? We’ve already reviewed the first wave of new shuffle docks; now a second wave is here, offering similar visual, functional, or price alternatives.
At only a few dollars less than Apple’s high Dock asking price, Speck’s Shuffle Dock ($24.95) is basically a visual alternative, nothing more. As with all of the other iPod shuffle docks, it mounts your shuffle vertically for easier viewing, though here on a very slight recline. Speck’s plastic base is an elevated rounded square with a footprint similar to Apple’s Dock, but deeper, taller, and narrower. White glossy plastic is used, but it’s a couple shades off of Apple’s bright shuffle tone, and there’s a gray rubber pad on the bottom to keep it still.
Not surprisingly, iPod-to-computer synchronization worked without a hitch. Speck’s USB 2.0 cable is a few inches longer than Apple’s, but not as long as the one included in Pacific Rim Technology’s Shuffle Cradle. The iPod shuffle mounts easily in the unit’s USB port, unlike the odd-fitting mount in JP’s/Pods Plus’ Charger.
The bottom line with the Shuffle Dock is that we like how it looks, and would find no technical reason to prefer Apple’s official offering if both were sitting at the same store. But it offers no real benefit over Apple’s dock, either, and isn’t different enough in price to make or break the decision between the two. If you prefer its looks to Apple’s, and need a way to stand your shuffle up on a flat surface, go for it. But don’t expect to get anything more than a fancy USB 2.0 cable for the price.