iPod shuffle, third generation (late 2009) 2GB
At a Glance
The latest iPod shuffle has its strengths and weaknesses. Its strengths are greater capacity and a means for navigating the device. Weaknesses include a navigation system that--thanks to the lack of controls on the iPod--is more difficult to use than it needs to be and a requirement that those who want to take advantage of this shuffle's controls must accept the included headphones, spend extra money for compatible headphones, or hope that compatible adapters appear soon.
If you're happy with Apple's headphones and don't care a lot about navigating your iPod, this could be the iPod for you. I, however, cherish my third-party headphones, find a controller that requires memorizing a series of button sequences an unwelcome burden, and don't need an even smaller iPod shuffle. Like the MacBook Air and Mac mini, the 3G iPod shuffle is a product designed for a particular kind of user.--Christopher Breen