The iPod keeps getting smaller
Apple says the new version of the iPod Shuffle is the smallest portable music player it’s possible to buy – we certainly haven't seen many that are this small (the Veho VMP-008 was one of similar size).
About half the size of a standard USB memory key, the Shuffle is available in capacities of 2GB or 4GB at £45 and £59 respectively. As the Shuffle is so small there's room for only the most basic controls and there is no USB socket. That means the only way to copy music from your computer to the player is using the headphone socket, and a USB-to-headphone adapter is supplied. Transfer speeds were painfully slow compared with USB.
A sliding button on the top switches the player on and can be set to play tunes stored on the player at random or in sequence, but it's so tiny it's awkward to use. The other playback controls are on the cord of the supplied headphones, but they are poorly positioned so that the buttons for adjusting volume, playing, pausing or switching from one playlist to another are by the listener’s chin.
As ever, Apple’s earbud headphones are awful – if they don't fit the size and shape of your ear, they will fall out and there's nothing you can do about it. Other headphone makers produce superior versions with the Shuffle controls, though. Once we had connected a decent pair of headphones, the sound from the Shuffle was impressive.
The iPod Shuffle will interest those who want music to exercise to and there's a clip to attach it to a sleeve or T-shirt, but people looking for a small, stylish player should spend more and buy an iPod Nano.
Read more reviews
Good for sports fans but poor headphones and awkward controls make this a niche product only Good points Very small and light; great for exercise Bad points Lousy headphones; awkward controls
£45 (2GB) £59 (4GB)
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