The world's opinion on the new buttonless iPod shuffle is divided. For some, it's the epitome of portable hotness. For others, its suppositorial appearance neatly matches its usefulness. So here are four alternatives to consider, all of which let you use your own headphones.
Creative Zen Stone Plus
It sounds better than the iPod, it's got a cute little screen and an FM radio -- features many people find useful, and the reason we gave it a significantly higher score than the shuffle in our review. There's a version that includes a speaker as well, and an even cheaper version that does away with the screen entirely.
SanDisk Sansa Clip
Another affordable and dinky competitor to the shuffle is SanDisk's Sansa Clip. Like the Zen Stone Plus, it's got a small LCD screen and uses the conventional Album > Artist > Song structure for organising your music. Add to that an FM radio, decent sound quality and support for a range of audio formats.
With a 25mm OLED display and an FM radio, decent sound quality and solid battery life, this budget MP3 player covers all the bases you need at this price.
iPod shuffle second-gen
It was by no means the perfect MP3 player, but for active users and commuters, it hit a number of nails on the head. It's still widely available online for around £30 in a 1GB capacity. For this reason we have to continue recommending it, and for numerous other reasons, it's arguably still the better iPod shuffle.