Sunday, June 10, 2007

New blue shuffle

My iPod nano has already crossed its one-year mark, and contrary to popular complains that iPods fail on you after a year, my nano is still in a rather pristine condition, and it is working as well as it was when I first purchased it.

The only thing that irritates me is that the one gig storage is less than enough for my 2.62 GB iTunes library size comprising of 503 songs.

So, I decided to get an iPod shuffle, 2nd generation. Well some may know of the Creative Zen Stone, an uncannily and suspiciously similar player to the shuffle, selling for under half the price with the same 1 GB flash drive.

Clearly, by blatantly copying the design, features and even controls of the shuffle, Creative is trying to make a statement by showing that the iPod is not worth the 138 bucks you paid for, but it should be sold for much cheaper. (I don’t know about the Stone’s reliability or durability, but I know the given earphones are low-quality.) I’m not sure if the Stone would outdo the shuffle, but the iPod is nevertheless a strong brand to beat.

After a moment of contemplation, with a black Stone on one hand and a blue shuffle enclosed in a neat transparent plastic casing on the other, I still decided to go with the shuffle and abandoned the Stone.

First obvious reason is that the Stone doesn’t support the great iTunes or the Mac, so I can only manage it on Windows, which I don’t really like because my music is stored on the Mac. Secondly, the free optional Creative Media Lite programme for use with the Stone is definitely not comparable to iTunes, and hence is not as efficient as the shuffle with its Autofill function. Thirdly, battery life at 10 hours is shorter than the stated 12 on the shuffle. Of course, the Stone can’t support podcasts too. And the design, no matter how distinctively identical, still can’t beat the shuffle’s. I find the shuffle’s design a lot cleaner and slick.

So I ended paying for the blue shuffle.

Upon arriving home, I unwrapped it, and finally for the first time got to experience the diminutive dimensions of the world’s smallest music player. It took a while for me to figure out how to devour the unique packaging, for beneath the player lay the instruction manual, warranty, a few Apple stickers, the quirky dock, a quick reference card, and the redesigned earphones, which were noticeably longer than the original ones. (As expected, the earphones didn’t fit my odd-shaped left ear, so I chucked it aside.)

This time round Apple didn’t provide the iTunes installation CD, but just casually referred me to their site. Registration for the shuffle was done via iTunes Store and not through your web browser as with my first generation nano. (You’ll need to have an Apple ID to register your product.)

Now for the overall verdict:

-Very small and extremely light (can be a con if you lose things easily)
-Good sound quality
-Works with iTunes & iTunes Music Store
-Good design and battery life
-Reliable and durable
-It’s way cool man

-Must use dock for PC transfer
-Small storage size (2 GB would be lovely)

So that’s it! The third iPod in my house is the latest shuffle! Apple has done well once again!

To end off, here’s what someone said about the Stone vs shuffle debate on some website I read:

“People keep yapping about how if so-and-so company did this to their hardware, it'd beat the iPod, or if they added this feature, Apple wouldn't stand a chance - no-one seems to get that iTunes and iPod are like different sides of the same coin, and both work flawlessly alone and seamlessly together. Often, people who don't even own iPods use iTunes because it's just plain good (for most). Then, a couple years down the line, they pick up an iPod because it all fits together. Until a company - or, better yet, a conglomeration of companies - realises that, the iPod will continue to dominate. And hey, there are worse things that could happen - the thing just does what it's supposed to and looks/works cool to boot.”

So you wanna shuffle or Stone?

No comments: