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Customer Review

29 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst gadget of the last 15 years, November 19, 2012
By 
This review is from: Apple iPod shuffle 2GB Slate (4th Generation) NEWEST MODEL (Electronics)
I bought the iPod shuffle because I wanted something very small with no frills for running. I figured the shuffle fit the bill, though it was a little pricey for such limited functionality. But it's a nice-looking little device.

After I loaded a playlist onto the device and started using it, I noted a few flaws. I'll go ahead and give some Pros too, to be thorough. Major problem with mine was that after syncing my first playlist, none of my PCs would recognize the shuffle, so I couldn't sync any more music or even restore it. Even tried it on a Mac at work with no success. Ended up exchanging it for a Sandisk Sansa Clip Zip since it could not be salvaged.

Pros:

Small, clippable, light
Simple, Nice looking - clean lines
Nice sound from earbuds, and nice sound when shuffle is hooked to external speakers.

CONS:

1. Ergonomics - the small size makes it impossible to control effectively while you're running or working out. For instance, the Forward/Back and volume controls are situated around the play/pause button, but they require too much pressure to depress. What happens is that you end up pausing your track rather than advance it because no matter which button you try to push around the circumference of the Play/Pause button, your thumb slides down onto the play/pause. The prior generation iPod nano is nice because you can just shake it to advance. (I bought that nano for my wife last year and it's great - too bad they redesigned it and the new one is larger and lacks a clip).
Same thing goes for the volume buttons. If you have a device with 6 sides, you may as well use the other sides for some other buttons to reduce crowding. I know, I know, this would make it less "slick" but probably will improve usability.
Also if you're listening to a track and you then try to clip the device to your clothes, you invariably hit the Back button because you have to squeeze the clip - again because of the crowding.
This is a very picky and specific complaint that I normally wouldn't even complain about (and I would probably mock someone who complained about it, saying they probably have fat fingers), but for a no-frills device that is supposedly designed for no-look control, this is not ideal. Trust me, I don't have fat fingers.
2. Price - $50 for 2 GB is a stretch, even for people who blindly buy whatever Apple tells them to buy.
3. All the trappings that go along with the Apple ecosystem - needed to update iTunes in order to sync, and I don't even use iTunes anymore.
4. Malfunction - don't know how common this is - maybe I just got the one device out of 10000 that malfunctioned.

In sum, I think this is a poorly designed device for something that should be so simple. That's why I docked it 2 stars. It's essentially a jump drive with an earbud jack. It doesn't need to be complicated or crowded. What's more is that mine couldn't be recognized after only a couple uses. I docked another 2 stars because of this malfunction and the inherent problems of Apple devices. The hardware/software interface generally makes it VERY user friendly, unless of course it malfunctions - then you can't troubleshoot it - just replace it. I love buying gadgets, but I do think this is the worst gadget I've bought in the last 15-20 years. It should be SO SIMPLE, but somehow they made it too complicated to the point where it's difficult to use for its one purpose. (It would be like designing a beautiful toaster that worked great for everything except making toast - and you really wanted toast, just simple toast).

Of note, the 4GB Sandisk Clip Zip is about $10 cheaper, has a tiny screen with a clock and stopwatch, radio, and an integrated clip. The volume buttons are on the side. It accepts mini-USB for syncing and charging. The construction is plastic and definitely feels cheaper, but hey, I'm just running with it anyway. I'm happy with mine so far after a few uses.

Do not buy the shuffle. Now that I think about it though, it's probably a good gift - the recipient will be touched that you got them a pretty Apple product. And if you hardly ever see them or if they don't use it for working out, you may never even hear the complaints I listed above. It's not even a good paperweight - It's too light.

Personally, the next Apple product I buy will be stock, not electronics.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 26, 2012 7:14:25 AM PST
Woody says:
Excuse me? I happen to have one of these and am getting another because I want one for each of my specialties..I had a Sansa sun Fuze well over $100.00 for the 8GB back when I got it. That was a waste of money..... and it was awful, never buy another. I just checked out your suggested sansa and the ratings are very low, 5* 354 and 1* 200
that is not a good endorsement for something a that you say is amazing....Most of the 5* reviews had a few things wrong that I did not like...I am sorry you don't like this but I tell everyone about it an suggest it for gifts because i KNOW it will be a great gift. You can buy a few of them and use them for different things, songs, books or what ever you can thing of.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 7:37:51 AM PST
Mike H says:
Try running with the shuffle, then try changing songs or volume mid-stride - then you'll see how imprecise it is. Not a "con" you can overlook when you buy something specifically for running. But hey, everyone has different purposes for buying a small mp3 player.

Also, why would you buy multiple of these Shuffles for yourself? Wouldn't you rather just have a single player with multiple playlists and higher capacity?

I did not say the Clip Zip is amazing, and I'll leave that discussion for its own page.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 8:06:57 AM PST
Reed Moore says:
How dare you give a negative review to an Apple product!?

Seriously though, thanks for such a thorough review. It helps to hear about the other side, and I agree that the price is kind of silly for 2gb.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2012 11:50:12 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 7, 2012 11:53:41 PM PST
Aaron says:
I have to agree with Rosemarie. I love my shuffle used it for running and never had trouble with any of the ones I've owned. The buttons aren't designed to work with gloved hands, that's probably the only complaint. I think $50 is not too bad considering that they are built to last (in contrast to the cheapo mp3 players). Shuffles aren't for everyone. If you want a screen, don't get a shuffle!

Posted on Dec 16, 2012 11:34:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 16, 2012 11:35:20 PM PST
lolo says:
Mike,

Would you care to elaborate on your "changing songs or volume" idea? Perhaps there is something I am missing here? You insinuate this is an obvious con? I don't see it.
I have been using shuffles (different generations with the exception of the 3rd/ this one) to run about 4 or 5 days a week for years now. I never had this problem. Even with the original shuffle (stick looking one), I never had this problem.

Perhaps it's the way you run or location of where you carry your shuffle rather than the ergonomics?

This is one of the most, if not the most popular mp3 players used for exercise. Again, I believe the problem lies in the location of the shuffle when you exercise.

It obviously works well for running. I can personally vouch for this along with other happy customers. While it might be slightly (I repeat, slightly) overpriced, the quality of the device and customer service easily compensate for it.

While I do agree many people blindly buy Apple products, I don't believe it is the reason for its popularity. This device easily pays its dues.

To say it is "the worst gadget of the past 15 years" is absolutely absurd.

Posted on Apr 7, 2013 10:19:03 PM PDT
Read. The. Instructions. "Also if you're listening to a track and you then try to clip the device to your clothes, you invariably hit the Back button because you have to squeeze the clip..." No, because what you do is hold the central button down for three seconds. This disables all the buttons! Now you can clip on, and if you hit a button as you do so, it doesn't matter. A review from someone who doesn't understand how to work the product is not useful to readers.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2013 1:37:53 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 10, 2013 2:25:16 AM PDT
At least the Sansa has a MicroSD slot so you can take the $10.00 cheaper device and with 4G internal memory make it 40G (it will accept up to a 32G MicroSD card). For $40.00 - $50.00, depending on the day, to buy multiple devices to "use them for different things, songs, books or what ever you can thing of" is an absurd waste of money.

An even better suggestion than the Clip Zip is the Clip Plus, which has a higher average rating (and at least neither the Sansa Clip Zip nor the Clip Plus have inflated ratings by "Sansa sycophants" like Apple has. You cannot possibly say you are unaware of that - that the ratings for anything Apple are artificially high by people who love anything simply because it's Apple and are apologists even when Apple produces something of inferior quality. (Oh and lest you think I am just an Apple basher, I have an iTouch 4th Gen and I love it) but clearly you are one of the sycophant apologists if you are willing to buy many of these 2G devices to perform different functions rather than buy one which can perform them all in one device with an inexpensive MicroSD card AND is known to have a FM radio tuner with *gasp* good reception AND voice recording AND excellent sound quality for the price point.). Here's an article backing up the original poster's and my claim http://www.consumersearch.com/mp3-players. And in case you don't bother to go there, here's a quote, "Even though it's been around for a while, reviewers continue to recommend the SanDisk Sansa Clip+ as the best budget MP3 player available. Experts say it is a better value than the iPod shuffle, its main competitor. ". And yet another article, just so you don't think I searched around for the one outlier, http://reviews.cnet.com/best-mp3-players/ "The Sansa Clip Zip further solidifies SanDisk's reputation for delivering low-cost, feature-packed MP3 players. The addition of AAC music support now means that even fans of Apple's iTunes store can plug the Clip Zip into a Mac or PC and transfer over their DRM-free tunes. So if you're looking for a way to enjoy your music without risking your precious smartphone, the Sansa Clip Zip is one of the best values around.".
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