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Doin’ the iPod Shuffle February 14, 2005

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Technology.
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For Valentine’s Day, I got a 1GB iPod Shuffle. I already owned a 4th Gen 20GB model, but daily trips to the gym made it a bit of a hassle coming in and out of the car.

I tried it out for the first time today at the gym. Very interesting. I don’t have an armband yet, so I just stuck the thing in my pocket before heading into the gym. Last night, I built a playlist of similar BPM songs for running, and designated that playlist for “Autofill.”

The most immediate reaction I had is that this thing is very light, enough so to forget that it’s there. While running, I was able to feel the buttons through my pocket, so I was able to change volume and tracks without pulling it out of my pocket. Since my gym routine has me stopping on the treadmill periodically to do sets of crunches (and I try to turn the music off before walking around where people are swinging large heavy things like dumbbells), I was also able to start/stop the music without removing it from my pocket.

Sound quality is as good as the regular iPod (as far as I can tell while running in a noisy gym), but the simplified controls actually work to an advantage. While running, the thumb wheel on regular iPods works OK, but can sometimes be a problem with accidentally clicking when you’re trying to raise or lower volume. The Shuffle is easier to use in that regard.

Relating to the lack of display, this appears to be a non-issue for me. For some time, I’ve noticed that when I’m running or working out, I would simply skip songs I didn’t want to listen to that day.

With regard to capacity, I’ve only got 52 songs in this playlist, but it’s 3.7 hours, which means I can go to the gym 4 days without hearing a repeat.

In summary, this looks like the perfect gym companion for me, and may be my “trip accessory of choice” the next time I head out of town. I won’t need to mess with an external charging device; it’ll stash conveniently with the lanyard; in the current config it’ll hold roughly 120 songs as an iPod and 512MB of data as a thumb drive; under my shirt, it’s much harder for someone to steal in the middle of a crowded airport or subway.

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