Apple iPod Shuffle (4G) review

Apple's Shuffle is back in a user-friendly format that marks a return to form from the unsuccessful third generation player Tested at £39

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The iPod Shuffle is back to its best, sounding and looking as good as ever


  • +

    Great looks

  • +

    easier to use than the last version

  • +

    improved sound quality


  • -

    Only 2GB of memory means you’ll have to really compress your tunes

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

Many thought that Apple scored an own goal with the third-generation iPod Shuffle.

Stripping it of controls made for a dinkier device, but forced owners to either stick with the supplied headphones (with an in-line remote) or pay extra for an remote adaptor.

Not that Apple would admit getting it wrong, but the fact that the Shuffle bears a striking resemblance to the 2nd generation model, complete with built-in controls, is as close to an admission as we're likely to get.

But, there's no doubt that the Shuffle is all the better for this new (old) look.

Ease of use is increased, yet you still get to access features such as Voice Over (where a voice describes the content you're listening to) and the ability to navigate playlists.

And, although it's subtle, there's also an improvement in sound quality over the previous generation.

Music sounds slightly clearer, more dynamic and punchier, even if the 2GB capacity means that most of your tracks stored on it are likely to be heavily compressed.

Tested December 2010

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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