The guys who literally transformed the term “mp3 player” to “iPod” have evolved their byte-sized sound device, the Shuffle. Is it only good for shuffling your feet or can it give you a drift? Check it out.

Design and Features
The Shuffle is not a new product, it’s been around for quite some time and though the last Shuffle was quite small, it did not really make a big impact. In simple words, size does not matter. Apple is back to their old design with a rectangle shape, with sides that are an inch long, and yes, is feather light! It has a dial on the front, which has a four-way keypad with a start/pause button in the middle. The left and right sides are for browsing through the songs while the top and bottom keys are for increasing/reducing the volume.

There is a slot for the audio jack as well as the USB song transfer. The button in the middle is for a new feature called the VoiceOver, and while it’s supposed to function as an audio guide for your list of songs [by giving you details of the track you list] all it did was guide us through a sequence of different playlists. The last button is a switch for power/play-in-order/play-random sequence from the left to right. The USB wire is quite interesting, a small thing which when plugged in, makes your comp look like it’s growing an iPod!

Apple products have quite a reputation on the performance front, but, on the whole you could argue that while they deliver good performance, they don't deliver the best. Similarly, with the Shuffle, you won’t really frown while listening to the music but at the same time it won’t get you to the musical high you'd expect. Songs from different genres have given different responses. The bass sounds pretty okay but not really that heart-thumping stuff! The treble can drill through your ears at times, but at low volumes is very manageable. Overall, it delivers a pretty average performance!

With claims of 15 hours of audio playback, it ensures that you can carry yourself through long day journeys, which is not really bad. A size of 2 GB means an average of about 500 songs. The biggest issue has to be their earphones, which they really should work on sooner than later. On the performance basis, it’s not great and not bad, just plain Jane.

It averaged in at just about 12.5 hours of non-stop playback which is not too bad but nothing to write home about. Once again the new shuffle proves to be just as good as any of the older models.

So, what should you make of this product? Is it good enough to revive their Shuffle sales? Not really, because you can usually expect a lot more from Apple and this time they have not been up to the mark. This time, Apple seems to have priced it aggressively at Rs. 3,200 but for people who are strictly performance oriented, and not tremendously wallet-conscious, give this one a miss.

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