In the box we find the iPod Shuffle itself with a capacity of 1 GB (967 MB useful), the headphones, the manual and a small base with a USB cable and a four-contact jack connector, since this model does not have Integrated USB connector as the first Shuffle had, but the headphone connector multiplies its functions as a battery charger and interface with the computer. This change has made it possible to reduce the size and adopt the new iPod format, but in return it forces us to carry this base on top when we want to perform one of these functions or use the iPod as a hard disk, which represents a certain transport inconvenience.
At the top is the headphone jack and at the bottom two small switches, one toggles between sequential playback mode – all songs are heard in the sequence in which they are saved or the one we have decided on – and random.
On the front there is a circular control that incorporates the buttons to skip the song, go back to the previous one, raise and lower the volume and stop and continue playback of the song, all with conventional buttons, since despite its similarity to the wheel circular of the other iPod, it cannot be used as in those.
In addition to these controls, two LEDs, one on the top and one on the bottom, light up green and orange, responding to the pressing of these buttons and showing the battery charge.
Management from iTunes is limited. When selecting it, the entire list of songs that we have loaded into it is shown, but it is not possible to display the viewer that shows the music organized by theme, authors and discs and if we load podcast in it, they become songs that are grouped together with all the others.
It is also not possible to create playlists on this device, but the single list of songs behaves like a playlist, as songs can be dragged up and down to alter the order in which they will be played sequentially.
Apart from being able to copy songs manually, an autofill button appears at the bottom of iTunes, which allows a list of songs to be automatically loaded onto the device, which can be a playlist or randomly.
Also in iTunes, when the iPod is plugged in, a settings tab appears that allows you to select that the songs that are dragged to the iPod Shuffle are automatically converted to the 128 Kbps AAC format, which according to Apple provides the same quality as the traditional 192 Kbps MP3 format Kbps, a conversion that will allow to reach the 240 songs that according to the manufacturer the device can contain, since in our tests and without using this setting, a maximum of 155 pieces was achieved using a mixture of compression modes and speeds.
Also in this settings menu there is a command to distribute the iPod’s capacity between songs and the hard disk mode, but this limit only applies when we are copying songs from iTunes, since from the Finder you can copy files to fill the entire free space. To use the space dynamically, the simplest thing is to activate the use as a hard disk and leave the selector to the left completely, in “More songs”.
The last option available in iTunes is new in this version of Shuffle and allows to limit with password the maximum volume of reproduction, so that some parents try to avoid the early deafness of their children.
Its size is so small that it can be carried anywhere: on the belt, attached to the shirt, in the pocket of the shirt or pants, etc. The volume it provides is more than enough and the headphones it incorporates are the new ones that are included in the other iPods and have significantly improved the sound quality.
The handling possibilities are limited to being able to switch between the sequential mode that plays the songs as ordered in iTunes and the random mode, in addition to the buttons to jump to the next and previous songs.
The lack of a screen may seem a priori inconvenient because it does not allow selecting the songs, but most iPod users end up using the random mode and the options of the device, including the possibility of randomly loading songs into iTunes, fulfill those needs splendidly.
The battery takes four hours to charge, and the continued runtime exceeded eleven hours at medium volume, very close to the twelve announced by the manufacturer.
All in all, the product splendidly fulfills the requirements as a music player that most users normally use.