29 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Worst gadget of the last 15 years
, November 19, 2012
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.
Small, clippable, light
Simple, Nice looking - clean lines
Nice sound from earbuds, and nice sound when shuffle is hooked to external speakers.
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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