Review: Tunewear Poptune for iPod shuffle
Pros: Comprehensive sticker coverage for an iPod shuffle and both of its included caps. Twelve good patterns to a package, with good adhesive that won’t fall off any time soon.
Cons: Leaves (removable) residue when removed, fit on standard USB cap isn’t as precisely tailored as the other stickers, Tunewear logo always visible when used with lanyard cap. Not as cheap as buying competing products individually, but a good value per unit overall.
The iPod shuffle may be the single most sticker-friendly iPod ever introduced; from price point to size and simplicity, it just invites low-cost decoration. Tunewear isn’t the first to offer iPod shuffle stickers - we’ve already looked at alternatives from Capdase (iLounge rating: C), Mobile Juice (iLounge rating: B-), and Tatuz International (iLounge rating: B) - but it definitely has the best design yet developed.
Each package of Poptune iPod shuffle stickers ($19.95) includes twelve different and legitimately good patterns - two reflective rainbows (silver and gold), two types of flames, two solid colors (orange and green), two florals, a dragon, a snakeskin, a marble, and a green and white floral abstract. Tunewear’s logo is on one side of each standard USB cap, and both sides of the lanyard cap. The patterns are scratch resistant and not easy to accidentally damage, with a fairly strong adhesive on the back that keeps them in place.
More importantly, each pattern can cover as much or as little of your shuffle as you like - there are pieces custom made for both of Apple’s iPod shuffle USB caps (even covering the area around the lanyard holes), and covers for every part of the shuffle’s body. Even the shuffle’s sides - an often-neglected part in such stickers - are properly covered. Tunewear went above and beyond all of the other offerings in this regard, wisely designing the stickers with folds so that you don’t need to assemble them piece by piece, as in Capdase’s offering.
You can decide whether to attach or leave off stickers that would cover the shuffle’s front and rear controls; because these parts of the shuffle move, the stickers are less appropriately placed over them, but it’s your choice. Perhaps more controversially, Tunewear even covers the iPod shuffle’s front power lights, but the stickers are just see-through enough for the lights to remain visible under normal light, even under the black flame sticker. Given the colors of the iPod’s lights, we were surprised that they were even more visible through the orange and yellow flame sticker.
There are only three small issues with the Poptunes. Contrary to their packaging, they do leave residue on your iPod shuffle when they’re removed, though it’s neither difficult to remove (with rubbing alcohol) nor especially offense. On a related note, however, the stickers practically can’t be re-used once taken off, so if you have one that you like, leave it on.
The second issue is their fit on the standard USB cap, which isn’t as precise as on the lanyard USB cap or on the shuffle’s body, and has a bit of overlap at the edges. Perfectionists should either come prepared with Xacto knives to trim at the edges, or pass these up for use with the standard USB cap. They’re not too bad overall, but we were much more impressed with the lanyard and body stickers.
As a third and final small issue, we’d have preferred only one Tunewear logo on the lanyard cap. We can understand the company’s desire for branding, but it would be nice to have one way to hang the shuffle without the logo showing.
We’ve had mixed feelings on the prices of other iPod shuffle stickers in the past, and felt best overall about the low-priced individual stickers sold by Tatuz International. That said, because we really liked the pattern variety and the quality of the stickers in this package, we can’t object much to Tunewear’s $19.95 asking price - at less than $2 per sticker, you get full iPod shuffle coverage and some really good designs. If the designs weren’t as slick, we mightn’t have been so enthusiastic, but Tunewear did well with these choices.
Small issues aside, we think these are currently the best of the iPod shuffle stickers we’ve seen, and highly recommendable overall. This is a major improvement on the company’s iPod mini Poptune stickers in all conceivable ways, and worthy of congratulations.