shuffling around
January 31, 2007 1:28 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about getting an Ipod shuffle for working out. It seems to be the best choice, but am I missing any other great candidates?

Over the past couple of months I've started running with great success. However, I recently started running inside due to the cold weather and find myself increasingly bored during the running sessions. So, I've made the decision to get an Mp3 player. I don't have much to spend (probably in the range of 100 dollars or so - less is best, of course)

So my thoughts on the shuffle
1 - 1 gig is plenty for working out
2 - it's really, really tiny
3 - it's 79 bucks
4 - it's got a clip

My concerns are
1 - the lack of replaceable battery
2 - the lack of screen
3 - small storage size when I use it while not working out (i.e. in the car or something)

So my question to the mefolk(s) is should I get the shuffle? Is there some cheaper alternative that's just as reliable and is just as light?

Bonus for any anecdotes about personal use. Did you kick yourself after for not buying a different mp3 player? Or are you happy with your purchase?
posted by jourman2 to Technology (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I use a creative zen for my bike riding and running. it's about the size of a cigarette lighter. it plays mp3's and windows media format, which i don't use. it also has a radio, and takes a standard aaa battery.

the only problem with ipods is that you need itunes to make them work. that and you have to plug your unit into a computer to charge the battery.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 1:32 PM on January 31, 2007

Best answer: I own the Creative Zen Nano Plus for just this purpose.

1) Runs on AAA batteries with a long battery life
2) It's pretty small, not as small as the new shuffle, but still small
3) I bought it from Circuit City for like, 70 bucks.
4) It comes with a clip and an armband, as well as earbuds
5) It comes in a bunch of colors.
6) It has a radio tuner
7) You don't have to use iTunes - you can just plug it into your USB port and treat it like a hard drive. You can put all your music on the top level and shuffle through, or you can separate it into folders.
posted by muddgirl at 1:36 PM on January 31, 2007

I'll second the Zen Nano Plus. I've had mine for almost a year, and it's fantastic. Throw on 5 or 6 DJ mixes, and I'm covered to and from work and (when I get off my ass) at the gym.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:38 PM on January 31, 2007

If a screen means a lot to you, a refurbished iPod nano (1st generation) can be had for under $100 at the online Apple Store outlet. 2gb for $99, 1gb for $89.
posted by roomwithaview at 1:43 PM on January 31, 2007

Best answer: I've got the iPod Shuffle and am a big fan of it. It has replaced my nano entirely. The clip is great - you can attach it to clothing, books and lots of other stuff. I can't speak to the battery issue (I haven't had it for that long) but the lack of screen is worth the trade off in size and battery life before recharge IMO. I put whole albums on the shuffle and then play in alphabetical order (not random) so it's just like queing up CDs on the CD player. It's so quaint.

Small storage size as a concern? Are you afraid you'll lose it? That hasn't been a problem for me and I am prone to losing things. I can't speak to the Zen Nano.
posted by taliaferro at 1:45 PM on January 31, 2007

testimonial for the shuffle.....i bought one to help with my marathon training schedule and i cannot fathom how i ran before. it is light and little and since i really don't need to see what is playing as i run, it is perfect. as long as you remember to turn it off when not in use, the charge lasts a long ding dang time (which means i cannot remember actual hours). when not in use, i store it in an old band aid tin.

i luv it!
posted by ms.jones at 1:46 PM on January 31, 2007

Depending on how you work out the Nano is great as well, small and holds tons of music so you never really need to worry about changing the songs on it. The only downside I see to the Shuffle is that it is limited to shuffle play, not such a big deal.
posted by caddis at 1:48 PM on January 31, 2007

You can get a quality non-Apple mp3 player so for much cheaper. I love Apple but this is the decision I came to when I was having ipod lust.

I have an extensible 1GB Sandisk Sansa, which I also put a 2GB SD card into. I paid $69 CAD for the player and $50 for the SD card. And it has served me really, really well. I don't have ipod lust anymore. Paying more unnecessarily is for the birds.
posted by loiseau at 1:52 PM on January 31, 2007

Oh, the shuffle can't be used in a car, can it?
posted by FlamingBore at 1:52 PM on January 31, 2007

Best answer: I'd get a refurbished Nano; they're great, just get a case so it doesn't get scratched while you're carrying it around. They make some nice Lucite snap-on 'cases' that would probably work well, they're more like armor than a "case."

My girlfriend went and got a Creative (at least I think it's a Creative) a while back, and now she's saving up for an iPod. Not being able to use iTunes as a music manager sucks. Having to load stuff on manually (using it as USB Mass Storage) is a major drag, particularly when you're using a small player and you're going to want to reload different playlists onto it fairly often.

There are some very legitimate criticisms of the iPod, but overall I think it's definitely worth the price, and viewed as part of a "music workflow" stretching from CDs to the library of stuff on your computer, to the player itself, I don't think any other products come close.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:52 PM on January 31, 2007

I have a Shuffle (2nd Gen) and I'm pretty happy with it. I mean it's absolutely tiny, the price is good, and now they come in a bunch of silly colors.

My only qualm is that while the clip is pretty secure, it has fallen off the bottom of my t-shirt while I've been running a couple of times, though the headphones kept it from falling (so light weight!). Now I just clip it more sideways, or to my running shorts, and it's fine.
posted by zazerr at 1:54 PM on January 31, 2007

@caddis: The Shuffle, if I remember correctly, has a switch on it to go from shuffle playback to straight in-order playback. They didn't do a very good advertising it, but when shuffle is turned off, it acts like a regular MP3 player, and just goes through whatever's on it, in order.

@FlamingBore: Not sure what you mean by "can't be used in a car." It has a 1/8" headphone jack just like everything else in the world, so you'd just want to use (your choice of) an FM transmitter or a cassette adapter, to get the sound into your car stereo. What the Shuffle doesn't have is a Dock Connector, but this just means you need to use a solution that's generic, instead of one intended for iPods.

That said, I think the Nano (particularly the new ones) is a much better product than the Shuffle. I have a Nano and love it, while the Shuffle concept never intrigued me much.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:56 PM on January 31, 2007

Not being able to use iTunes as a music manager sucks.

Don't want to turn this into the inevitable Mac vs Non-Mac war, but I dont get this statement. There are dozens if not hundreds of other music "jukebox" programs out there that work with portable players- Winamp is probably the most famous.
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:04 PM on January 31, 2007

Not being able to use iTunes as a music manager sucks.

Seconding drjimmy11 here. In fact, I find iTunes incredibly annoying and obnoxious. MediaMonkey and several other programs out there are much more flexible and non-intrusive.
posted by twiggy at 2:06 PM on January 31, 2007

I love my little second-generation Shuffle. Battery life is tremendous; I have had it since early December and have had to charge it once since its initial charge. I only use it for an hour or two on any given day, but still its battery life is measured in weeks.

I have language lessons on mine, so I have it set to play in order. It's simple to go to the next lesson when I'm ready. For music I would put it on shuffle.

Great little player, light as air and cheap as dirt. Get one.
posted by bink at 2:07 PM on January 31, 2007

Chiming in to add to the "buy a refurbished Nano" line - because then you can get this. It only works with the Nano. Which is annoying.
posted by pazazygeek at 2:16 PM on January 31, 2007

Followon question from me:

muddgirl, or others: Can you comment on the radio capabilities of the Zen Nano Plus? Whats the reception like? Can you tune in any FM station? Does it have presets?

posted by vacapinta at 2:57 PM on January 31, 2007

I got my Shuffle for Xmas and I love it. I make different playlists and change them up every few days.

I use it for running too, and as a previous poster said, while running you really don't need to see a screen. I can go forward or backward or repeat a song easily with the little round button thingy. You get good at not having to see it to know which function you're pressing.

I like how basic it is. It serves its purpose and that's exactly what I want.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 2:58 PM on January 31, 2007

I've got a Sandisk Sansa (can't remember which model at the moment), and I love it because (a) it uses a normal battery, so I never have to wait for it to charge or worry about poor battery life, (b) it's got an FM tuner built in, (c) it's got an armband and is small, but mostly (d) it works with subscriptions services - Rhapsody, in my case. Being able to make fun mixes of music that I would never ever pay money for (80s mixes, embarassing teeny-bopper music, etc.) keeps me motivated to go work out. I just have to sync up with the subscription service once a week or so to keep the music playing. Subscription music compatibility is the single criteria that kept me from buying an iPod, as none of them can handle it.
posted by vytae at 3:02 PM on January 31, 2007

I was stuck on choosing either a shuffle or nano for running and it was the Nike thing that pushed me toward nano. I was running the same route every day and getting a bit bored but with the Nike/Nano combo, I'm constantly trying to better my time or run a bit further. For 30 bucks, it's completely worth it. And as mentioned, it only works with the nano.

At the same time, the nano is really small, fits easily in my pocket and has a screen. I'm glad I chose it over the shuffle.
posted by gfrobe at 3:07 PM on January 31, 2007

I got the shuffle. I adore it.

I'm known for losing anything, kicking the crap out of anything, and besmirching anything I own with paint.

The shuffle is still in my possession, still working perfectly, and only has a little paint on it -- or, for your purposes: you won't have to stop running to fiddle with it!

I run, it stays clipped on. If it should fall, it dangles safely from the headphone cord. It has enough room for podcasts and all the music I truly love. It's great!
posted by flibbertigibbet at 6:28 PM on January 31, 2007

I upgraded from the original Shuffle to the new smaller Shuffle, and am absolutely delighted with it. Clip it to my waistband when working out, and I'm off and running. Way plenty storage, lighter than a feather, push-button simple to use, and battery life hasn't been an issue. Plug it in about every fourth or fifth workout for about an hour, and I've never run out of juice. Price - awesome.

And I'm a Mac hater, BTW -- but the Shuffle + iTunes is just perfect - simplicity. Go for it.
posted by davidmsc at 7:06 PM on January 31, 2007

iRiver u10?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:28 PM on January 31, 2007

My boyfriend lost his after literally a week. He clipped it to his pocket and surmises that it fell off when he was digging for change in a crowded place, so he didn't hear it drop.
posted by crinklebat at 11:36 PM on January 31, 2007

Can you comment on the radio capabilities of the Zen Nano Plus? Whats the reception like? Can you tune in any FM station? Does it have presets?

I don't use it that often, so I just checked it out. There are definitely presets - a lot of them, actually, and there's a cool feature that will scan through your presets, sort of like a radio scan. The reception is pretty spotty, since there's no antenna; I can get a lot of stations, but sometimes they'll drop out into static for a second.

posted by muddgirl at 5:09 AM on February 1, 2007

vytae: "I've got a Sandisk Sansa (can't remember which model at the moment), and I love it because (a) it uses a normal battery, so I never have to wait for it to charge or worry about poor battery life, (b) it's got an FM tuner built in"

Yeah, I forgot to mention that above. I have two rechargeable AAA batteries and I'm set.

And I use iTunes with mine. You don't have to use an iPod to use iTunes.
posted by loiseau at 2:38 PM on February 1, 2007

Definitely get the Nano so you can get the Nike gadget. We even have a Metafilter challenge group going! (I'm probably losing, sigh.)
posted by pyjammy at 9:07 AM on February 2, 2007

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