Amidst the kerfluffle surrounding the new headphones-take-up-more-space-than-the-player iPod Shuffle, I thought it apposite to cast a glance back at the original Shuffle. Ridiculed by the press at launch ('an MP3 player without a display, are they mad?!') the shuffle was in fact a great success - and having owned one for about a year (which is still my main MP3 player), I know full-well why. Admittedly, the lack of a display is a total bummer if you want to listen to a specific track, but if you're prepared to treat your player as a sort of radio station that only plays songs you like, together with the ability to fast-forward, pause and rewind, you'll love it. Here's my list of reasons why - including the one reason I probably won't
upgrade to the new shuffle, wonderfully elegant though it is:
1. The shuffle is cheap. Having bought it to replace a very expensive hard drive player that broke, I appreciate this.
2. It's tough - the lack of a display helps here.
3. It's very small and light - you just don't notice carrying it around with you.
4. This player has simply wonderful ergonomics - you can operate the controls by feel alone, you don't even need to glance at them.
5. It looks cool. Face it, if we weren't so overloaded with white plastic right now, we'd still be saying 'ooh'.
6. It has a decent battery life.
7. The sound quality is remarkably good - noticably better than some other players.
8. The iTunes auto-fill feature makes composing that personal radio stations playlist a one-click affair.
9. Though it is cheap, it doesn't feel it - this is a quality item.
10. The shuffle can be used as a USB drive without the need for any extras or cables - pop the cover off the USB connector and away you go... and yes, that is the reason why I probably won't be upgrading. ;)