4th Generation iPod Shuffle Review: Looking at Apple's Latest Version of the iPod Shuffle

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Under Review

The iPod Shuffle was released as the most bare bones and cheapest incarnation of the popular iPod, and it then made the concept of an MP3 player realistic to those who did not have the money to shell out on expensive iPods and are not obsessed with their musical preferences. The iPod Shuffle has made a few evolutions, mainly around its small size and toward its use as a more passive music player. As was announced along with the information about the upcoming iOS 4.2 update and the new iPod Nano with the multitouch screen was the newest version of the iPod Shuffle. What we find now is that the purpose of the iPod Shuffle, which is music playing without much device interaction, has been maximized with the new design and the $49 price tag marks it as one of the best devices for the money.

Physical Design of the iPod Shuffle (5 out of 5)

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The physical design itself is really what is defining the new iPod Shuffle, and one of the reasons that it wins under

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review. Its size minuscule at less than an inch and a half across on from left to right or top to bottom, and it clocks in at only 0.34 inches wide. This makes the new iPod Shuffle one of the smallest portable electronic devices you can buy, and definitely the smallest iPod. The center controls mock up the classic iPod circle setting, and since there is no display on the iPod Shuffle this really takes up the entire front of the panel. Some users may be worried that the iPod Shuffle will be easy to damage because of its size, but since it weighs less than half an ounce you will not have to be concerned about trauma from regular dropping.

New iPod Shuffle Features (3 out of 5)

The iPod Shuffle has been known for the, well, shuffle action. Now you actually have the ability to set it to either play with shuffle or play in

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order, all from an outside control on the top of the iPod Shuffle. The most notable new “feature” that the latest iPod Shuffle includes is the Voice Over function. What the iPod Shuffle Voice Over feature allows for is for you to hear the name and song title of what you are listening to by pressing an external button that is right near those for the play order. Voice Over is a fine feature that there would be no reason to do without, but it does not bring that much to the table. The iPod Shuffle Voice Over will also tell you information from playlists and how much battery life you have, but all of this is just making up for the basic information you miss by giving up the display or touch screen. You are also going to find that new iPod Shuffle allows for multiple playlists and the Genius Mixes, which is something that Apple is really trying to push on its latest releases.

iPod Shuffle Battery Life (4 out of 5)

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The iPod Shuffle’s battery life has seen an improvement as well. With the new iPod Shuffle battery life you will get as much as fifteen hours of music playback with its lithium-ion battery. You can also charge up the iPod Shuffle’s battery almost to full in about two hours, but a full three is needed to maintain the complete battery life.

Check It Out (3 out of 5)

The iPod Shuffle does not include much, but that is not why you would purchase it in the first place. Instead you get the iPod Shuffle because you desire simplicity and a low price. All of this is in stellar order with the new iPod Shuffle and you will likely find that it is going to meet all basic music needs, and the rest of your needs may be met by the iPhone 4.