When Apple first released its current generation iPod shuffle, I complained about the impact of its design on the ability to use third-party earbuds. Sure, the shuffle has a sleek design and the voiceover feature is really neat, but the fact that it lacks physical controls ties the user to the stock earbuds. After using high quality buds such as those from Etymotic it was a bitter pill… too bitter in fact and I initially returned my shuffle to Apple.
Well it’s a few months later and Belkin has released an adapter that lets you use any headphones with the new iPod shuffle. The company was kind enough to send me one for a firsthand look. How is it? Boy do I love when something actually exceeds expectations!
As you can see, the adapter is small and places the controls close to the iPod shuffle itself rather than a short distance down from one of the earbuds. The short cord on either side of the controller is a nice, heavy duty wire that looks as if it will take a good deal of abuse. I wasn’t sure if I liked the location of the controller at first but after using it for a short time I already find it to be a far more convenient location than the placement of the controller on the Apple earbuds.
As promised, the adapter allows use any earbuds you want. I tried it with three different sets of earbuds. All sounded better than the ones that came with the shuffle initially and isn’t that the point of this adapter?
There’s one last feature of the adapter that I love — it feels sturdier than a controller on the Apple earbuds. It’s a little larger, feels more substantial and, overall, is much easier to use. That’s not something I expected.
What I like — allows you to use any earbuds you want, moves the controller down close to the iPod itself, feels more substantial than what ships with the iPod
What I don’t — it has significantly to the cost of owning an iPod shuffle
Available from Belkin for an MSRP of $19.99.