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Apple iPod Shuffle 4GB review

Is the new shuffle the greatest screen-less MP3 player yet?

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Our Verdict

Superb design, packed with new features. Great value for money, too.

For

  • VoiceOver feature
  • Introduction of playlists
  • Beautiful design

Against

  • Can't use standard earbuds

Apple's third-generation shuffle is a radical revision of the entry-level iPod. The controls have moved to the cable under the right-hand earbud, with only a Shuffle/Continuous Play/Off switch on the device itself.

This has allowed for the smallest, neatest-looking shuffle yet. It also boasts a beautiful metallic finish in black or grey and a sturdy metal clip.

Using the handy, easy-to-reach controller, you can adjust the volume, pause and unpause your sounds and skip or restart the current track. Press and hold the function button and a synthesised voice reads the song name and artist.

VoiceOver

If you skip over tracks, each will be announced, making it much easier to find a song. This feature, known as VoiceOver, also lets you select playlists – a first for the shuffle.

However, the controls mean you can't use standard earphones on a third-gen shuffle (you won't even be able to operate the volume). But, luckily the earbuds supplied are pretty decent, and there are third-party replacements on offer.

So, the iPod shuffle has finally come of age. The new control system is instinctive, the on-cable controller lets you clip your shuffle to your coat and the introduction of playlists adds loads of versatility.

At last you can match your music to your mood. But best of all, VoiceOver means you always know what you're listening to.

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