At a Glance
Docking cable and AC-to-USB power adapter for second-generation iPod shuffle.
DLO’s PowerBug for iPod shuffle, marketed mainly for the second-generation (2G) shuffle, is actually two products sold together: a compact AC adapter with a USB port, and a 4-foot, 10-inch USB docking cable for the 2G shuffle.
The AC adapter, which plugs into any U.S.-style wall outlet and provides a standard USB port for charging devices, isn’t the smallest we’ve seen but it’s still fairly compact: with the plug folded away, just 2.1 by 1.6 by 1.25 inches at its widest points. The adapter will actually charge any iPod that can be charged via USB: the first-generation shuffle directly; the second-generation shuffle using the included cable; and third-generation and later full-size iPods, iPod nanos, and iPod minis using Apple’s USB dock-connector cable.
The docking cable, which features a USB plug at one end and a special miniplug at the other, is similar to products we’ve reviewed from RadTech (the $9 ProCable) and Fruitshop (the $13 Bone iLink Shuffle), although much longer. The miniplug works much like the one in Apple’s dock for the 2G shuffle; it passes both power to your shuffle and data between your shuffle and your computer. This means you can use the PowerBug’s cable to sync and charge your shuffle via your computer, instead of using the bulkier dock that comes with the shuffle, making the cable handy for travel. In addition, unlike the shorter RadTech and Fruitshop cables, you can also use the PowerBug’s cable if your computer is under your desk.
In my testing, both the cable and the AC adapter worked as expected. A light on the adapter indicates that it’s receiving power (even if no iPod is connected); you watch your iPod itself to monitor charging.
If you’re looking for a compact alternative to Apple’s dock for the 2G shuffle, I recommend one of the cables mentioned above or Incipio’s $6 IncipioBud adapter (also reviewed here on Playlist). However, if you’d also like to be able to charge your shuffle away from your computer, the $22 PowerBug is a relatively good deal, considering that it also gives you an alternate docking solution for your shuffle — and that Apple charges $29 for its own compact AC adapter by itself.–Dan Frakes