The world’s favourite flash MP3 player, iPod shuffle, has enjoyed amazing success since its launch – so it isn’t surprising that it’s spawned an accessories industry that includes sleeves, lanyards, and even jewellery. The latest addition is its own speaker system.
The ShuffleStation is a mini speaker system that doubles as a charger. This sounds like a great idea, but sadly fails to live up to expectations. First, it isn’t obvious how to plug the shuffle into the ShuffleStation, until you realise an adaptor is required. This begs the question why, if this gizmo is designed for the shuffle, it requires the use of an adaptor to make it fit the shuffle? As far as I can figure, it’s because ShuffleStation is an iPod rebadge designed to cash in on the shuffle’s success. Nothing wrong with cashing in, but it should not be at the expense of user-friendliness.
At least ShuffleStation fulfils the promise of being a speaker system and shuffle charger, although it’s unable to perform these functions simultaneously without the use of a mini USB cable – an inelegant solution.
The device holds the shuffle upright between the speakers, but does so flimsily. Adding the USB cable for charging purposes exacerbates this, putting one in mind of some Heath Robinson-style contraption. The ShuffleStation certainly won’t be winning any design awards.
Frankly, the ShuffleStation is a disappointment. It sounds good, but its design is flawed on many levels. Its adaptor and mini USB cable are unneccessary, and the whole device appears frail. If you want to play a shuffle through speakers, almost any powered speakers on the market would be more convenient. I suspect that adding shuffle to the name will not be enough to endear it to the iPod generation.