A few months ago or so, Arriva created a new listening device for Apple’s second and third generation iPod shuffle – the “clip”
model. Rather than dealing with a cord that can get tangled up while you’re working out or cleaning house, Arriva’s given us a
pair of wraparound-style headphones that attach directly to the shuffle.
Arriva sent me two pairs of the “regular” style, in both iPod white and basic black.
The idea behind this is that you just clip your shuffle on, wrap the earphones around your ears, and go. If only it were that easy…
Perhaps it’s just the model I received from Arriva, but my shuffle does not attach very well to either pair of earphones. The clip
is stuck in a partially open position, which I highly doubt is very good for the kind of spring clip that the shuffle has.
I’m pretty small, so the circumference of my head isn’t overly large, but I’m not exactly a pinhead, either. Either way, Arriva’s
white earphones are noticeably uncomfortable. You can bend the wires a bit to conform to the shape of your head, but this has thus
far been unsuccessful for me. The black pair is much more comfortable for me.
A friend of mine was nice enough to model both pairs for me. The white pair seemed to fit him much better, so it could just be a
personal preference sort of thing.
These earphones actually don’t look to silly when you’re wearing them, either. They’re almost invisible from the front, and the shuffle
hides behind my ponytail nicely. For the women in the audience here, don’t bother trying to put these on before putting your hair up –
it’s nearly impossible to get the earphones situated with your hair in the way. If you’re a guy, others might notice them a little more,
but it’s nothing completely weird-looking or anything.
I think the real problem with the white pair is that they try to emulate the original iPod earphones…that shape, however. is not
meant to be worn upside-down, so they don’t fit quite right.
The black pair is a standard in-ear style with soft rubber ear cups. This was much more comfortable for me.
Of course, the other important part about choosing your earphones is the audio quality. The Arrivas are nothing special, to be sure.
I’m definitely not an audio snob – these sounded about the same as the stock earbuds that came with my Zune. The black pair with its
rubber ear cups has a more muffled sound, because of how the phones fit in your ear canals. The white pair don’t sit as snugly in my
ears, and the sound is a little different as a result.
I’ve used the black pair to listen to music while cleaning my apartment. They’re comfortable, lightweight, and don’t move around
at all. It’s definitely a better alternative to getting my headphones cord caught on stuff while I’m doing the dishes or
vacuuming. The white pair doesn’t fit as well, and I wouldn’t want to wear them while working out or doing anything that involved a
lot of jostling about – they’re just too loose.
At just under $40 MSRP, I wouldn’t recommend these if you just want a new toy for your shuffle. They’re good if you run, bike,
or otherwise engage in some sort of physical activity where you’d want some tunes to keep you company. The quality doesn’t really seem
to fit the price, though. The white pair was too uncomfortable, and the fact that the shuffle’s clip wasn’t fully closed on either
pair bothered me. Once my shuffle’s clip gets worn out, that’s really going to impact the usability of it, so I’m hesitant to use
these earphones too much. There’s nothing else like this on the market, so if you’re active and want something for your shuffle other
than a standard pair of earphones, this is more or less your only choice. I can’t say I’d really recommend these, but it just
depends on your listening needs.