"Does what it is supposed to do very well"3.0 starson by forkboy
Pros: Tiny (portable) form factor and clip-action for attachment to clothing. Reasonably sized (i.e. comfortable) control pad. Reasonable battery life (at least when new). Simple to operate.
Cons: Useless headphones, especially for physical activity (they fall out of one's ears too easily).
Summary: Picked one up recently from the Apple web site's Refurbished section. Had a bad experience with my first ever MP3 player; a first-gen Apple Shuffle, but felt compelled to give this one a try when the price dropped after the announcement of the third-gen version.
It's really quite simple: this device is great for being small, unobtrusive and good with battery life. I use it for working out, mowing the lawn, vacuuming the house, etc. I don't need gigs of room for song; it holds about 250 songs encoded in AAC VBR at the highest bit rate setting. That's more then enough music to get me through a week and not hear the same song twice.
It comes with no screen and doesn't need one. First, a screen would only suck the battery dry more quickly. Second, with so few songs on it, what do I need a screen for? If I don't know the name of the artist or song then that is my problem. It's my music after all.
The headphones are typical fare from Apple: useless. Sound quality is okay, but nothing to rave about. And forget about doing anything physical with these things precariously placed in your ear as they fall out too easily. Instead, I borrow the exceptional buds that came with my Sony NWZ-A818 MP3 player.
Sound quality for the Shuffle is fine for what it is designed to be: a small, highly portable and very unobtrusive device. If you're expecting or looking for great sonic quality then look to something more serious. If you just want some tunes while you're jogging or doing house work then you can't go wrong with this device.
I'll reserve judgment on the battery because it was the battery that died a premature death on both mine and my daughters first-gen Shuffle back in 2005/2006. Just after the warranty expired at that. Very aggravating. But I've had other sorts of issues with every other brand of MP3 player I've purchased except for the above-referenced Sony (a really fantastic player, especially in regards to sound quality).