Apple iPod shuffle review

Price when reviewed

The shuffle really only has one use: it’s there for active types who need a second player to complement the hard-disk player they already own. With iTunes synchronising random tunes, you have a fresh batch of songs in minutes, and it will outrun you with ten hours of battery life.

The circle on the front isn’t the fancy click wheel of the nano, but it’s raised so you can find the skip button easily without looking. It’s also incredibly small and light and won’t be noticed in a pocket. Alternatively, you can dangle it from your neck on a lanyard.

For any other use, we found the shuffle very limited. There’s no chance of finding certain tracks, since there’s no screen. You can’t even select a genre in the ‘Shuffle’ synchronising process. It just randomly dumps as many tracks as possible onto the shuffle. You could synchronise iTunes manually, but it’s a lengthy and tedious process.

The shuffle is also by far the least tactile of the iPods (and most other players for that matter). Sharp edges and cheap-feeling plastic don’t inspire feelings of quality. The iriver T30 is a much more versatile player that feels significantly better in the hand.

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