Like many, I tend to listen to music everyday, via television, radio, pc or mp3, I consider it important. However when times get tough at school, college, work, whenever, you're average mp3 player dies and you need to replace it. The Shuffle is one to consider for a specific type of person - someone who's far less bothered about having all the music they love, but for a sturdy selection of new songs. This tiny little player is best left to those who couldn't ever be considered music enthusiasts but instead fitness freaks who need a pumping bass line while they cycle up a hill or leg it on the treadmill.
As usual, Apple deliver with supreme sound clarity and a decent volume. Thanks to the ever brilliant Apple earphones (often faulty, but I find them more comfortable then earbuds) your music is delivered with great efficiency. For me, this is the main attraction (along with size) of the Shuffle, because its an Apple product thats a cheap music player, incredibly portable with a fair amount of space. You're paying for music quality, shame there's not much else..
One of the first things you notice when shopping for a Shuffle is the range of colours they are available in. Look about and you can find chalky pastel turquoise to a lightning bubblegum pink, all with white elements in the buttons. Of course you can always get the default silver which looks clean and slick, suitable for showcasing the brand. It features an on/off switch which doesn't move when in your pocket so thats handy. Other than that you get the bare basics, rewind & forward, play & pause, volume up & down.. But that's about it, so you're missing out on what even cheaper models offer - there is no repeat function, which isn't a big miss, but when you name a product 'Shuffle' without the option to 'Shuffle' the tracks within it... kinda takes away the point. On the bright-side, the clip on the back is strong enough to clasp clothing while you exorcise or just be on the move, even under super sweaty conditions. The lack of a screen isn't necessarily a problem, but it causes them for apple, possibly the reason why the features are so limited. I find the lack of order in tracks a bit frustrating, but then again, you hardly have many tracks to scroll through in the first place. It's charger is a tad clunky too as its not your standard cable, but a specific plastic hunk of weirdness. The battery life is another one of its positives, easily lasting a day or two and charging with fantastic speed.
2GB isn't bad if you're only a casual listener, but when you use the device everyday, it quickly becomes an annoying burden of a tool that you have to keep updating with fresh tracks. Considering its physical size, 2GB seems rather unimpressive, as Philips have a similar sized mp3 for around the same price when released (£25-£40) which had an 8GB memory, along with a screen and more features. All mp3 manufacturers claim their products hold hundreds of songs and tend to exaggerate their true space - they usually base their claim on songs no longer than 3 minutes - in other words - short songs.
I really can't recommend this mp3, mainly because there are so many better alternatives for competitive prices. Its rather pointless to buy the 'best' brand 'small' mp3 player when you can get more for your money elsewhere. It seems you really are paying for the brand alone with the Shuffle.. if you're going to drop some serious coin on a music player, why not do it properly and get a different name, like a Nano or Classic.. or just stroll in any electronics shop and pick up a bargain.