At a Glance
AC/car/USB charging package for iPod shuffle and USB-chargeable iPod models
Belkin’s Power Pack for iPod shuffle is a handy set of accessories that gives you three ways to charge your iPod shuffle: an AC adapter with a USB port, a car accessory (“cigarette lighter”) adapter with a USB port, and a 3-foot USB extension cable that connects to your computer. (You can also use the extension cable with either of the adapters to place the shuffle in a more accessible location when being charged.)
In our testing, all three worked as expected. But more significantly, if you’re considering Apple’s $29 AC adapter for the iPod shuffle, the $30 Belkin package is a no-brainer for the additional functionality it provides. What’s more, Belkin’s AC adapter is significantly smaller than Apple’s, at approximately 1.5″ x 1.25″ x 2.25″.
Finally, although Belkin advertises the Power Pack as an iPod shuffle accessory, it can also be used with any iPod that can be charged via USB — such as the iPod mini, color/photo iPods, and the iPod nano — via those models’ USB dock connector cable.
UPDATE 8/19/2005: When using the current version of Belkin’s Power Pack with an iPod shuffle, the iPod shuffle’s power switch must in the “on” (play or shuffle) position in order to charge the battery. (The shuffle can be in sleep mode; the rear switch simply can’t be in the “off” position.) Although this caveat is clearly noted on currently shipping models, early versions did not include it, leading some users of early units to think that the Power Pack did not work. In our initial review of the Power Pack, we did not include this information because we categorized it as part of the operating instructions. We’ve since received feedback from readers that they find this behavior confusing (and some feel that it’s a flaw in the product). After further consideration, we agree and have lowered our rating from 4 (Very Good) to 3 (Good). Belkin has told Playlist that the company is working on an updated version of the Power Pack for iPod shuffle that doesn’t have this limitation; we’ll update this review after we’ve tested the new version.–Dan Frakes